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SELF EMPLOYMENT AND TAXATION OF PERSONAL INCOME IN BULGARIA

Self employment

 Stefanova law offices can advice you about the possibilities of self-employment and perform the registration procedure.

In order to register in Bulgaria as self-employed you are required to comply with the requirements laid down in the Commercial Act or BULSTAT register Act. Registrations are currently handled by the Registration Agency.

Who can register as self-employed?

Craftsmen. Practicing a craft is the manufacturing of items or the provision of services by a natural person entered into the Register of Craftsmen where the respective person is not registered as a sole trader. The register is kept by 25 regional craft chambers.

Freelance professionals – accountants; consultants; auditors; lawyers/advocates/; notaries; private enforcement agents; jurors; experts court witnesses registered with the courts and the prosecution service; licensed valuators; industrial property representatives; medical practitioners; translators; architects; engineers; technical supervisors; professionals in the field of culture, education, science and the arts; insurance agents and other natural persons

As self-employed can register natural persons who simultaneously meet the following requirements:

  1.  carry out professional work at their own account;
  2. are not registered as sole traders;
  3. are covered by the definition of self-employed professionals laid down in the Social Insurance Code.

Self-employed professionals must register with the National Revenue Agency (NRA)

Some freelance professionals (inter alia, architects, engineers carrying out investment design work and lawyers) are also required to register with the respective chamber/bar association in order to obtain a full license to practice their profession.

Farmers and tobacco growers are a particular category. They must register with the corresponding Municipal Agricultural and Forestry Service (within the Provincial Agricultural Directorate) responsible for the area.

Taxation of personal income

 The requirements for the payment of income tax in Bulgaria by natural persons are stipulated in the Act on the Income Taxation of Natural Persons. The rules apply to all local natural persons, persons who reside permanently in Bulgaria or reside in the territory of the country for more than 183 days within any 12 month period and whose center of life interest is in Bulgaria, and foreign nationals.

Local natural persons are liable for the payment of tax on income received from sources within Bulgaria and in other countries whereby foreign nationals are liable for the payment of tax on income received from sources in the Republic of Bulgaria. Any income received for work carried out in the territory of Bulgaria or for services provided in this country are subject to taxation as income received from a source in Bulgaria.

The tax rate of 10 percent was levied on the income of natural persons since 2008. There is a  possibility for tax benefits for example, the income of persons whose capacity for work is reduced by more than 50 percent, donations to healthcare organisations, as the Bulgarian Red Cross, childcare facilities, cultural institutions, young families, etc. The entitlement to a tax benefit arises at the time of filing an annual tax return.

The general income tax rate in Bulgaria, tax on the income received from employment, is deductible from the monthly remuneration and paid by the employer, workers are not required to file any documents with the National Revenue Agency. Where they have received income from other sources, they must file an annual tax return with the Agency. There is no non-taxable subsistence minimum but a statutory threshold of recognized expenses applies which is 25% of the income, which is deducted for the purposes of calculating the annual taxable base.

An annual corporate tax rate of 15 percent is levied on the income of sole traders and the taxable base is calculated by taking into account any tax deducted or paid during the tax year under the applicable tax headings.

In accordance with the Bulgaria Corporate Income Tax Act, tax is levied on the income of local legal persons, local legal persons who are not registered as traders, including the organizations of religious denominations, income from the rental of real and movable property, and the income of legal persons registered outside the territory of Bulgaria which has been generated in Bulgaria. Persons who conduct business as traders within the meaning of the definition laid down in the Company Act, including sole traders, declare any tax due or paid on expenditure pursuant to the Corporate Income Tax Act in the annual tax return. The tax return is accompanied by a financial report certified by an auditor.
The rate of corporate tax shall be 10 per cent.

The standard value-added tax rate in Bulgaria is 20 percent. A reduced tax rate of 9 percent is levied on hotel accommodation when it is part of organised travel and a zero tax rate is levied only on deliveries expressly stipulated by law.

Tax return deadlines in Bulgaria

  • The deadline for submitting the annual tax return as per Art. 50 of the PITA is April 30th of the following year.
  • the deadline for paying the tax for additional payment, which is declared in the annual tax return, is also April 30th of the following year.

The persons, who submit their annual tax return electronically by April 30th, are entitled to a 5% discount on the paid within the same deadline portion of the tax for additional payment under the annual tax return, provided that they don’t use the 5% discount stipulated for the February 10th deadline. The discounts can be used if the individuals, who must pay tax in advance, did pay the full amount of the tax due within the statutory deadlines.

The annual tax return must submitted by resident and non-resident persons who have received income during the fiscal year which is:

  • subject to taxation on the common annual tax base including income from employment contract;
  • subject to taxation with tax on the annual tax base for the income from economic activity as sole proprietor and from other economic activity as per Art. 29a of the PITA;
  • subject to taxation with patent tax under the Local Taxes and Fees Act.

 The resident individuals are obliged to declare:

The foreign types of income received during the year and having a foreign source:

  • income from dividends, liquidation quotas and interest from deposits in commercial banks;
  • taxable income from supplementary voluntary social security, voluntary health insurance, and life insurance;
  • taxable income received from exchange of shares and equity with regard to the conversion of commercial companies abroad.

Shares owned and shareholdings in companies, place of business and real estate properties located abroad.

Loans/borrowings provided, as follows:

– the outstanding balance of the loans provided during the year, if their total amount exceeds 10 000 leva;

– the outstanding balances  of loans provided during the same year as well as within the previous 5 fiscal years, if the total amount of these balances exceeds 40 000 leva;

-the outstanding balance of loans received if their total amount exceeds 10 000 leva, excluding bank loans received from credit institutions;

-the outstanding balances of loans received during the same year as well as within the previous 5 fiscal years, excluding bank loans received from credit institutions as per the Credit Institutions Act, if the total amount of these balances exceeds 40 000 leva.

Non-resident individuals, who for taxation purposes are considered residents of EU member-states or a country, which is a to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, are entitled to choose to recalculate the final income tax pursuant to Art. 37 of the PITA. The choice can be exercised by submitting an annual tax return pursuant to Art. 50 of the PITA, whereas the tax return includes all other income that are subject to declaring by a non-resident person.

Don’t hesitate to contacts us for detailed information or personalized advice using the contact form below.

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CHANGES IN THE CONDOMINIUM MANAGEMENT ACT

For the successful management of condominiums in Bulgaria, it is undoubtedly necessary to know and apply the established rules, and in the event of problems to know who to turn to for assistance and successful resolution of disputes between owners.
Changes have been announced in April 1, 2016, new texts and new deadlines have been added to the ZUES/CMMA/. They are published in the State Gazette and with this article we will briefly introduce them to you.

The Government passed a Law on Amendment to the Bulgarian Condominium Management Act. Changes were proposed for the owners’ obligations regarding the maintenance of the building and it’s technical condition, meeting the basic requirements under Art. 169, paragraph 1 of the Spatial Planning Act (SPA), as well as a prohibition not to carry out construction activities, which will worsen the condition of the building or damage it.

One of the major changes concerning the condominium rules is the recruitment of a manager of the condominium. This may be a legal entity that is not the owner of an object in the building and is hired to carry out the maintenance work and management of the building. The approval of a person to carry out the activity of a manager must take place during a General Meeting attended by representatives of objects/flats which represent not less than 67% of the common parts of the building. If this percentage is not gathered, the meeting is postponed for 1 hour and then it is necessary to be attended by representatives of 33% of the common parts of the building.
Once appointed as manager or chairman of the board of directors at General Assembly of owners, the manager is entrusted with responsibilities related to the maintenance of the building, the payment of the bills and the collection of the fees. If he fails to perform his duties as such, the manager is liable to a fine of 500 to 1000 levs.
One of the most difficult tasks for a house manager is to collect monthly fees in time.
Under the Condominium Act, all residents are required to pay the costs of repairs, renovation of the condominium building, replacement of common installations, equipment, and to collect funds to the “Repair and Renovation” Fund in accordance with the shares they own.
In addition to the changes, new subparagraphs have been added to the CMMA. For example, in Art. 21 of the Condominium Act creates para. 4, which reads: “In the case of newly-built condominiums, the election of a board of directors / manager / shall take place within 6 months of the building being put into operation.”
To control the work of the Management Board and in case of abuses or violations, the manager of the condominium shall be punished with fines of BGN 800 to 1,500 or a property sanction from 1000 to 2000 levs for established offences and violations of the law if a question about a legal entity.

In order to facilitate and improve communication in the condominium has been presented the possibility to communicate by e-mail, when available, and to receive messages via an address in the country indicated by the owner or the user.
For the sake of clarity, the powers of the general assembly to assign and prepare a technical passport for the building are specified. The powers or part of them of the management board (manager) of the condominium and of the association of the owners can be assigned to legal entities for a period of 2 years, which will allow the condominium / the owners’ association to give up the management of the common parts at their desire to specialised companies.
An obligation has been made for newly-built condominiums to elect a board of directors (manager) within 6 months after the building’s put into operation. The amendments will allow owners’ associations to be registered for several buildings/blocks/ built as condominiums. The association,which only operates under Art. 25, para 1 or does not carry out any activity shall be exempted from the application of the Law on Statistics.

In case of hanging the ownership of a separate object also transfers the membership in the association to the new owner, as for the obligations to the association that have become due before the change of ownership, the old owner is responsible for them, unless it has been otherwise agreed between the new and the old owner.
The texts concerning the urgent repairs had been amended. A procedure has been introduced for ensuring access by the owners for realisation of activities under Art. 6, para. 1, item 12 of the present CMMA, which are related to the carrying out of the necessary research, design, measurement, construction and assembly works related to maintenance, repair, reconstruction, reconstruction or renovation of common parts or other premises; to check the condition of the installations and elements of the building.

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WORKING IN BULGARIA

Working in Bulgaria

 Work and residence permits

 The citizens of the EU, the citizens of the countries from the European Economic Area agreement and the citizens of the Swiss Confederation as well as the members of their families can enter and leave Bulgaria with their ID cards or passports and can freely stay for a period of 3 months. After this period they have to register, if they to receive a long-term residence permit.

 Finding a job in Bulgaria

 The citizens of the EU, EEA and the Swiss Confederation do not need a work permit in order to work in Bulgaria. Job seekers can check for available job vacancies on the EURES portal, Employment Agency’s web page, or Bulgarian EURES website. In order to register and seek employment through the network of 107 local job centers, you will be required to produce a certificate showing your address in Bulgaria, issued by the Migration Directorate at the local police department.

Registration with the Job Centre requires the following documents:

  • ID card;
  • document attesting to previous work experience;
  •  licence to practise a particular profession if applicable.

Documents certifying the completion the educational level, any qualifications and a license to practice a certain profession you legalize in the country of issuance. Information, consultations, qualification,  soft skills trainings and job mediation services will be provided to all registered job seekers. Information can be obtained at the Employment Agency offices, which will also provide you with information about registered private agencies offering job placement intermediation services and temporary employment agencies for an alternative route to employment. Bulgarian EURES advisers provide job seekers with information in English, German or French. Services provided to job seekers by employment agencies are free of charge. Yet another alternative is applying for job vacancies published in the national and regional media.

 Applying for a job

 Prepare a good CV using European CV format available on the Europass web page – http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu. Employers usually ask for a brief letter of motivation along with the CV, so that applicants can demonstrate their interest in the particular job. Following the approval of the initially submitted documents, employers ask for additional information and documentation, so it will be useful to have translated and authenticated, documents attesting to the level of education completed and qualifications, professional skills experience for the position you are applying, or references from previous employers. If registered with a Job Center, applicants interested in a particular vacancy job published by it will be provided with a reference letter to present to the employer.

 Qualifications and diploma recognition

 Obtaining recognition of qualifications and competences can play a vital role in a person’s decision to take up work in another EU country. Different education and training systems often make it difficult for employers and institutions to assess qualifications. EU citizens should be able to practice their profession in any other Member State, but in reality different national requirements do not allow access to certain professions in the host country. EU regulations have provided a system to recognize professional qualifications, in which a distinction has been made between regulated professions, for which certain qualifications are legally required, and professions not legally regulated in a Member State.

There are two types of recognition one for academic purposes and the other  for mutual recognition for professional purposes:

  • The recognition for academic purposes is to provide access to further education and training, as well as to facilitate the access to practicing a certain profession;
  • The recognition for professional purposes is to provide access to practicing a profession, recognition of professional competencies. The legislation specifies the options of the professional qualifications recognition procedure (acquired within the framework of the system of higher education – Directive 89/48 of the EEC and sector Directives for lawyers, architects general practitioners, dentists, veterinarians, nurses and midwives; within the system of vocational training, which is not a part of the system of higher education /vocational schools, professional schools, etc./ – Directive 92/51 of the EEC). Only the regulated professions have to go through a professional recognition procedure. An updated list of regulated professions in Bulgaria was approved by Decision № 619 of the Council of Ministers on 20 July 2009.

The web pages of the National Center for Information and Documentation /NACID/ www.nacid.bg  and http://regprof.nacid.bg/  provide information about the list of regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria, additional information about the academic recognition, the necessary documents and who can submit them.

 Labour contracts and labour law

Signing and terminating a labour contract. The rules for the employment relations between employers and workers in Bulgaria are stipulated in the terms and conditions of employment contracts, which are concluded on a mandatory basis. Employment contracts are concluded in writing to set out the place of employment, the job title, the date of the contract, the duration of employment, the amount of the basic and any additional paid annual leave, the remuneration and duration of the working day or week.

The employer is obligated to notify the regional directorate of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and provide the worker or employee with a copy of the employment contract signed by the two parties and a copy of the notification sent to the regional directorate of the NRA not later than three days upon signing the contract.

Employment contracts may be concluded for an indefinite or definite period of time – fixed-term employment contracts, which become indefinite contracts when the worker continues to work for the employer for five or more days after the expiry of the fixed term and no objection has been received in writing from the employer. Most labour contracts include a trial period of up to six months. The employer is obligated to inform the worker in writing of any changes to the terms of employment contract not later than one month after such changes become effective.

Employment contracts concluded for an indefinite period are terminated by a at least one month notice and those concluded for fixed periods by a no longer then three month notice. The contract may be terminated without prior notice by mutual consent of the parties or upon their expiry; or when a worker or employee has been a replacement for another one, who returns from a temporary leave of absence; when the work for which a person has been hired is completed etc.

Employers may dismiss employees who have qualified for retirement based on age and length of service with a month’s notice. Employees may terminate their employment contract with the employer under the same conditions, but without notice. A new type of employment contract was introduced in 2015, for short term seasonal agricultural work. Such contracts have duration of one day and must be certified by the General Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Code sets out more detailed information about employment relations.

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BUILDING PERMIT AND CONSTRUCTION

The public relations, connected with the structure of the territory, the investment designing and the construction in Bulgaria, as well as the restrictions of ownership for development purposes are regulated by the Spatial Development Act.

Building permit – why do I need it?

Under the law can be built only if you have permission. The building permit issued by the chief architect of the municipality is “basis” for the start of your construction. If you decide to build without being passed through the procedure, the construction site will fall into the category of so-called illegal constructions and you will be forced to remove it at your own expense.

A building permit is not required for:

  • repair of buildings, structures, facilities and installations;
  • the maintenance and repair of the technical infrastructure elements of art. 64 para. 1 of the Spatial Development Act, which do not change the route and technical characteristics;
  • greenhouses with an area up to 200 sq.m.
  •  retaining walls to a height of 1.2 meters above the adjacent ground in their base when they are not part of transport facilities;
  • tranche or embankment with a depth or height up to 1 m and an area of 30 sq.m. ;
  • The glazing of the balconies and loggias;
  • tombstones, tombstones and crosses with a height of 3 m;
  • field conservation of immovable cultural values;
  • conservation and restoration of facades and artistic elements and murals in the interior of architectural construction and artistic cultural values and conservation of archaeological immovable cultural values;
  • installation of building gas installations in residential buildings and villas;
  • the light transparent walls and solid walls with a height of the body part to 0.6 m within the boundaries of the plot;
  • garden and park elements with a height of 2.5 meters above the adjacent terrain.

To start the actual procedure of issuing a building permit, which includes several stages, is required in advance a proof of ownership (Notarial act) over the property or for the right of construction on a vendors lend;  Sketch of the plot – issued by the Office of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre; Design visa (visa design is a copy (sample) of the detailed development plan with the scope landed property and the neighboring plots, with designated existing buildings and structures in it. Investment project – you must contract with a licensed design firm, or an architect for the preparation of an investment project which includes the following areas – architecture, construction, electrical, plumbing, fire safety plan Safety and Health, geodesy and management plan for construction waste. You have to sign preliminary contracts with the water and electricity companies once the project is ready. Revision of the project from the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water.  An assessment for the conformity of the project can be performed by the person hired by you to carry out construction supervision – consultant assesses compliance of the project with basic works requirements and issue a comprehensive report.  Approval of the investment project – the final step before starting the procedure of issuing a building permit requires approval of the investment by the municipality. The request is made in writing and addressed to the chief architect of the municipality (region).

Approval of investment designs for issuing planning permission for construction is not required for:

  • Economic constructions with agricultural designation and the buildings of complementing construction, dependent on the ruling of the municipal council.  Including secondary buildings of the supplementing building up (summer kitchens and light constructions for heating materials and inventory, wells, fountains, septic pits and temporary toilets) can be constructed in regulated landed properties for low or for villa construction. The secondary constructions of the supplementing building up shall be with height up to 2.5 m over the adjacent terrain, and up to 3 m up to the most high point of the roof. When the buildings are situated on the internal boundary of the regulated landed property the most upper part of the roof at the blind wall side can be with height up to 3.6 m. Summer kitchens shall be disposed freely or connected without observing the requirements for distances to the buildings of the basic construction. Basins, wells, fountains, septic pits and temporary toilets shall be constructed in the regulated landed property according to the technical and the sanitary-hygiene requirements at a distance not less than 3 m from the boundary of the property.
  • mounting of installations, facilities and equipment, except the facilities with increased degree of danger, subject to technical supervision by Chief directorate “Inspectorate for state technical supervision”;
  • greenhouses with area up to 200 sq m;
  • pools with volume up to 100 cubic m in fenced landed properties;
  • support walls with height up to 2 m above the level of the terrain adjacent to their basis when they are not an element of transport sites;
  • fences, garden and park elements with height from 0.60 m. up to 2.20 m above the adjacent terrain;
  • undeveloped landed properties used for temporary open air parking places, markets for stall trading, open air sport facilities and children’s playgrounds and other similar sites on the basis of permission for construction, respectively permission for placing, under conditions and by order, determined with an ordinance of the municipal council.
  • mounting of installations for production of electric power, heat power and/or cooling power from renewable sources of general installed capacity up to 30 kW, including in the cases to the existing buildings in the urbanized territories, including on the roofs and on the facade constructions and in the own land property.

The procedure of issuing a building permit starts by making an application to the chief architect of the municipality (region) where you live. In the 14 – day period you will be notified if the application has been accepted, therefore the project authorized. All interested parties, or neighbors may appeal the decision of the chief architect in the 14 – day period from issuance to the head of the Regional Directorate for National Construction Control (RDNCC), as if challenging in this period is not received, the building permit becomes effective.

Important! The building permit shall lose its effect if, within three years not started construction or for five years from the start did not finish the rough construction of the building (to surrounding walls and roof of the building without or with varying degrees of finishing work). In this case, the construction can make the following certification of authorization.

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EUROPEAN ORDER FOR PAYMENT

If an European order for payment, issued by a Bulgarian court, have been served to you please contact us for information about which are the immediate steps you should take.

 We also provide legal assistance for clients who want to apply for European order for payment or enforce such at competent Bulgarian courts.

The procedure for a European order for payment was introduced by Regulation (EC) № 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council. It should provide individuals and legal entities quickly to claim their uncontested pecuniary claims. European payment order takes effect after the successful conduct of the proceedings. It is recognized and enforced in all Member States except Denmark, without the need for a declaration of enforceability. By thus reducing the costs associated with the traditional procedure of exequatura, and reduces the length of the proceedings.

 What types of clames are eligible?

The procedure can be applied to claims in civil and commercial matters where at least one of the parties is domiciled or habitually resident in a Member State other than that of the creditor. Outside the scope of the Regulation are matters of revenue, customs or administrative matters or the liability of the State for acts and omissions in the exercise of State authority (acta iure imperii).

How to obtain a European Order for Payment?

The application for a European order for payment shall be made on a standard form, should contain all the data under Article 7 of the Regulation. In the event that the debtor has fallen into arrears, it is possible unless the primary duty be brought and interest, as well as pre-trial costs for legal services. The competent court shall examine whether the application meets the requirement of content and form, and under certain conditions provide the claimant the opportunity to complete the application in the event that it is incomplete or missing mandatory requisites. When all formal requirements and unless the claim is clearly unfounded, the court shall issue a European order for payment normally within 30 days of submission of the application. Otherwise, the application is dismissed and the decision can not be appealed.

What is a European order for payment?

European order for payment may be served on the defendant or his representative with or without a receipt, as well as by mail or electronically. In the European order for payment, the defendant shall be informed of the following options:

– to pay the plaintiff the amount specified in the order,
-to lodge an objection against the European order for payment, which must be lodged within 30 days after service of the order.
If the defendant files an objection, the proceedings shall continue before the competent courts of the Member State of origin in accordance with the rules of ordinary civil procedure. The plaintiff may then explicitly request that the proceedings be terminated. If within the provided deadline is not lodged an objection against the European order for payment using a standard form, the same court will declare it enforceable. The court will sent the applicant the enforceable European order for payment with which it can initiate enforcement in the Member State in which the defendant is resided.

How to enforce the European order for payment in Bulgaria?

In Bulgaria the application for a European order for payment shall be submitted to the competent district court (art. 625 CCP), namely before the court of domicile of the debtor, at its registered address or office. Under the same conditions as an application for issuance of a writen of execution on the basis of a European order for payment.

Statement of opposition

 The default judgment procedure only becomes available as a result of the defendant’s failure to defend or acknowledge the claim in the time required (see above). If the defendant defends the claim then the case proceeds as a normal defended claim. If a defendant wishes to have an order for default judgment canceled or changed after it has been granted he or she must act promptly to apply to the court to have the judgment set aside or varied. The court can vary or cancel the default judgment if it considers that there is good reason for doing so or that the defendant has a real prospect of successfully defending the case.

Effect of statement of opposition

If the defendant lodges a defense to the claim within the required time the case proceeds as a normal contested claim and a trial case will be held before the court.

Stefanova Law offices

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Bulgarian expert attorneys advising and assisting companies and individuals who seek to move or establish new business in Bulgaria or optimize an existing one. The following services can be provided:

Company and Corporate Law  

  • Choosing the most appropriate form of company organization for your business (limited liability company, joint stock company, branch, trade representation office, etc.)
  • Company formation and registration with Bulgarian Trade Register, including all mandatory subsequent registrations by our Bulgarian company lawyers
  • Representation at Shareholders and General Meetings of Owners
  • Mergers and acquisitions of Bulgarian and foreign companies
  • Capitalization and reorganization of companies
  • Company succession in Bulgaria
  • Dissolution and liquidation of Bulgarian corporate entities
  • Legal assistance regarding bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings
  • Legal service retainer

Business and Commercial Law

  • Full support for your business and legal representation by our Bulgarian commercial lawyers
  • Maintain business operation in compliance with all mandatory requirements of Bulgarian legislation and public authorities
  • Registration and licensing regimes legal support (gambling, investment intermediaries, payment institutions, healthcare facilities, tour operators, transportation and logistics, etc.)
  • Taxation planning (corporate income and dividends tax, VAT and other local taxes and fees)
  • Due diligence, valuations, investment projects and business plans in Bulgaria
  • Business for sale in Bulgaria – legal support in buying or selling businesses in Bulgaria (hotels, restaurants, factories etc.), including investigations, negotiations and preparation of documents
  • Specific deals undertaken by our Bulgarian business lawyers (leasing, franchising, etc.)
  • Commercial litigation and summary commercial proceedings in Bulgaria

Contract Law

  • Negotiations conducted by experienced Bulgarian contract lawyers
  • Signing agreements on behalf of clients
  • Contract cancellation and termination
  • Contractual penalties and compensations
  • Null and void contract court claims

Insurance Law

  • Advising on Bulgarian insurance policies
  • Assistance regarding property insurance and third party liability insurance claims under Green Card policies, health insurance, cargo and transport insurance, etc.
  • Negotiating insurance claim settlements and representation in out-of-court disputes
  • Insurance claims and civil court cases in Bulgaria
  • Dealing with claim adjusters

Property Law and Conveyance               

  • Bulgarian property lawyers helping individuals and businesses negotiate fair deals with respect to real estate and other property
  • Drafting, negotiating and signing of contracts, annexes and other documents related to the purchase, sale or letting of property
  • Transfer of title undertaken by our Bulgarian conveyancing solicitors
  • Bulgarian property solicitors advising companies and individuals with regards to tax relief
  • Protection of the right of ownership (property possessed or held without grounds, etc.)
  • Legal assistance and representation with regards to property repossession issues
  • Support and services provided by our Bulgarian lawyers to reputable real estate investors (construction permits, investment papers, contractual documentation, etc.)

Inheritance, Family and Divorce Law

  • Bulgarian marriage agreements
  • Bulgarian divorce lawyer representation
  • Property settlements
  • Drawing up a will
  • Bulgarian will execution
  • Inheritance by law and testamentary succession in Bulgaria – partition of inheritance, disclaimer of an inheritance, succession duties

Investor Immigration Law

  • Bulgarian business immigration – full legal support for investors in Bulgaria
  • Residency permits for foreign shareholders and managers of commercial companies and trade representation offices in Bulgaria
  • Long, prolonged and permanent stay residency permits in Bulgaria on the basis of registered company and other business activities
  • Business visa assistance by our Bulgarian immigration lawyers
  • Bulgarian citizenship by investment

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial and Civil Litigation

  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Civil litigation, monetary damages and compensation claims
  • Claims against contractors, warrantors, developers in Bulgaria
  • Commercial litigation and specialized litigation related to real estate transactions
  • Injunctions by Bulgarian court lawyers and other reliable special remedies
  • Personal injury, auto accidents, medical errors, libel claims etc.
  • Civil lawsuits against offenders or other responsible parties in criminal justice trials

Debt Collection and Debt Recovery

  • Full legal representation of creditors in debt collection situations by our experienced Bulgarian debt recovery lawyers
  • Pursuing debtors assets from a variety of sources by Bulgarian debt collection solicitors
  • Saving and re-organizing businesses, property and other assets
  • Dealing with repossession threats in the territory of Bulgaria
  • Dealing with creditor harassment in Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

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PROPERTIES

How to purchase a property in Bulgaria

Why is legal advice necessary?

Before signing any contract for the purchase of a property, one should carefully check the title deed of the vendor. The inquiry aims to find out whether the seller is the legitimate and sole owner of the property, free of encumbrances or liens, subject to litigation or other court procedures, in possession of a habitation certificate, whether the company/vendor is correctly established, or in liquidation or bankruptcy procedure. If no such inquiry is carried out, the client risks entering into a contract obliging him to pay for a property which is burdened/mortgaged, to pay to a seller who has no right to sell the property, or to be evicted from the property by a third person.

A well drafted contract or deed is also a guarantee for the legality of the purchase/sale, assures the client against risks of breach of contract and is able to save clients money associated with the payment of excessive closing taxes and fees.

We offer representation before the competent notary for the signing of deed/conveyance papers. In most cases, the clients are not able to personally sign the papers for sale/purchase of a property, or any other legal document.

We also offer representation before the competent institutions in order to gather all papers required by law from the vendor of a property.  The sellers of properties are often not able to gather all papers required by law for the sale/conveyance/transfer of the property to the buyer. Most of the time this is due to the fact that they live abroad, or have no time to spare or sometimes just because they are not acquainted with the relevant legal procedures.

Issues regarding the purchase of a property.

Tax registrationEvery owner of property in Bulgaria, regardless of the circumstances under which ownership of the property is acquired, is obliged to apply for tax registration of the property by declaring the acquisition to the local tax office. Examples of the types of circumstance include purchase, donation, inheritance and divorce settlement. If the property is not declared, the owner is in breach of Council Taxes and Fees Act and risks to pay a penalty.

Bulstat registrationThe tax declaration of the acquisition of a property by a non-Bulgarian national is always preceded by a Bulstat registration whereby the owner receives an ID number, also referred to as  Bulstat number for tax purposes. Once the Bulstat registration is done and the Bulstat number issued, the owner may use the Bulstat number to register more than one property.

Tax re-declaration of a propertyNon-Bulgarian nationals purchasing apartments through a company set up in Bulgaria pay several times higher council taxes and garbage collection fees than owners of apartments with the same size and location. If you are in the same situation, it is because in most of the cases, registration of your company property into the tax office has been done under Article 17 of the Council Taxes and Fees Act. In this case we advise our clients to re-declare the apartment under Article 14 of the CTFA. As a result the council taxes and garbage collection fees are several times reduced.

Declaration for waiver of payment of garbage collection feesEach owner of a property in Bulgaria is obliged to pay annual council tax and annual garbage collection fees. If the owner is not using the property, he can apply for waiver of garbage collection fees and as a result he is not obliged to pay for services (garbage collection) they don’t need.

Opening or transfer of water and electric accountsFor every property in Bulgaria the local electricity and water companies open accounts for the supply of electricity and water, so every owner can pay his utilities bills. However, it is common practice after the sale of the property for the new owner not to be informed that he has to transfer or open the water and electric accounts in his name.

Wills and legal advice on inheritance issuesWe highly recommend that our clients sign a will for their property in Bulgaria. This way they can manage the specificities of the Bulgarian inheritance law and decide on the inheritance of their assets. We also offer to help you find out the provisions of the Bulgarian law applicable to your specific inheritance issue and help you resolve it.

Drafting and Legal comments and advice on maintenance, management or rental contracts.  Often the clients are contacted by a different companies offering maintenance, management or rental contracts. We offer to review the legal aspects of the contract  to guarantee your interests are well protected and also explain to you the tax issues involved.

Legal assistance in organizing owners assembly in buildings regulated by the Condominium Act.
We offer legal advice on the requirements of the Condominium Act (CA) We can help you find out what the CA provides in cases where repair works have to be started in the building, where some of the owners refuse to pay their maintenance fees, or where you need to change one maintenance company for another. If provided with a Power of Attorney we can represent you before the Assembly of owners.

 

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COMPANY REGISTRATION

Registration of a Bulgarian company

The following services can be provided:

We will help you to set up a company in Bulgaria in case you want the start a business in Bulgaria or buy a property. We will assist you to choose the most appropriate type of company and management body and put you in touch with a qualified accountant.

Bulgarian expert corporate attorneys can advise and assist companies and individuals who seek to move or establish new business in Bulgaria or optimize an existing one.

We can help you choose the most appropriate form of company organization for your business (limited liability company, joint stock company, branch, trade representation office, etc.)

We can oversee company formation and registration with Bulgarian Trade Register, including all mandatory subsequent registrations by our Bulgarian company lawyers

Representation at Shareholders and General Meetings of Owners

Conduct mergers and acquisitions of Bulgarian and foreign companies

Capitalization and reorganization of companies

Company succession in Bulgaria

Dissolution and liquidation of Bulgarian corporate entities

Legal assistance regarding bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings

Legal service retainer

Full support for your business and legal representation by our Bulgarian commercial lawyers

Maintain business operation in compliance with all mandatory requirements of Bulgarian legislation and public authorities

Registration and licensing regimes, legal support (gambling, investment intermediaries, payment institutions, healthcare facilities, tour operators, transportation and logistics, etc.)

Taxation planning (corporate income and dividends tax, VAT and other local taxes and fees)

Due diligence, valuations, investment projects and business plans in Bulgaria