Bulgarian tax residency for EU, non-EU and British citizens

Tax residency in Bulgaria, where both personal and corporate income tax rates are 10 %, is a popular option for quite some time for many EU and non-EU citizens. Recently British citizens doing business and travelling in EU countries are anxious about their rights after Brexit. Over one million Brits are now already living outside the Island all over Europe.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement between the UK government and the EU envisages that British citizens will keep the right to live and work in the country where they reside at the time of the withdrawal. Both parties confirm that this has been surely agreed and further amendments in this section of the Withdrawal Agreement are not expected. Moreover, the negotiators agreed that there shall be a transitional period of 21 months (from 29 March 2019 until the end of 2020) before UK leaves the EU completely. So, according to the last draft of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK citizens residing on the basis of EU law before the end of the transitional period will maintain the residence rights they currently enjoy, under the currently applicable conditions and limitations. This protection includes also rights which are in the process of being obtained: citizens will be able to acquire the right to permanent residence after five years of lawful residence, even if the five-year period is completed after the end of the transition period. So, if you are a British citizen trading with EU partners, travelling around Europe or you are self -employed, providing services to EU clients, or you simply need to lower your taxes, and you wish to become a Bulgarian (tax) resident benefiting from current EU laws and the rights they give, you have a little time to do it. read more

Distribution of votes, profits and dividend in Bulgarian LLC and JSC

Participation is a commercial company implies various rights to the shareholders, the main being the right to dividend. According to Bulgarian Commercial Act shareholders in a Limited Liability Company are entitled to receive part of the profits in the form of dividends. Distribution of interim dividends (based on current year profits) is prohibited. Companies are allowed to distribute only accumulated profits from past fiscal years.

In the common practice the balance profit is distributed among the shareholders in proportion to their shares. In other words, if in a limited liability partnership there are two partners each holding 50 %, that means that they will receive equal share from the profit, unless otherwise agreed. “Unless otherwise agreed” is a key phrase here, as it gives opportunity to shareholders to stipulate different shares of profit. These stipulations shall be made in writing on the company’s Articles or Operating Agreement. So, practically there are no legal limitations to disproportional distribution of profits in a Limited Liability Company, in case all shareholders agree on that. In all cases, in order to be effective and legally binding, the decision for distribution of profits in the form of dividends should be taken by the General Meeting of Shareholders and duly recorded in writing in the company’s documentation. read more

Open bank account in Bulgaria for offshore company

Opening a bank account in Bulgaria for an offshore company? This is not a problem since Bulgarian offshore company formation followed by opening a bank account is a straightforward process which takes only a week time. The costs are minimal too.

But first one should know that Bulgaria is not a typical offshore zone. It is more of a tax haven. In simple words – you get the best from an offshore and a ‘normal’ company registered in EU. From legal point of view Bulgarian offshore companies are ‘normal’ companies, publicly registered and legally operating all across Europe and the world. They are registered under EU jurisdiction which means that they benefit from all EU financial and tax regimes. And from purely psychological point of view they are much more prestigious – because everyone would prefer to deal with an EU based company, which is publicly registered and strictly regulated under EU legal framework – rather than deal with a typical offshore company, which by default hides many details about its business activities, real owners, etc. read more

Bulgarian property laws in the business environment in Bulgaria

Bulgarian property lawyers and real estate solicitors legally advise and act on behalf of foreign investors who might have any needs or legal issues regarding property law in Bulgaria – construction of production units, purchase or lease of office premises, etc. Bulgarian property law consists of many different acts and regulations, some of which unfortunately not fully synchronized with European legislation or even one with each other. This brings the necessity of very careful examination of all relevant laws. read more

Publication of annual financial statements in Bulgaria

Although the obligation for publication of annual financial reports of companies is a common rule in almost all European countries, there are numerous differences among the legislation of the member states. In most countries this obligation is only for companies that match certain criteria – certain activity throughout the fiscal year, annual turnover, type of company, etc.

That is probably the reason why many entrepreneurs that have set up companies in Bulgaria make the mistake not to publish their annual financial statements wrongly assuming that they do not fall among the entities that have this obligation. According to Art. 40 of Bulgarian Accounting Act enterprises are obliged to publish their annual financial statements and their annual management reports as adopted by the General Meeting of partners / shareholders. read more

Corporate income tax in Bulgaria – advance installments

There are new rules for making advance installments as per amendments of Corporate Income Tax Act as of 2013. According to Corporate Income Tax Act some legal entities are obliged to make advance installments of corporate tax. Whether an entity falls within this obligation depends on the net revenues of the previous year. In case the net revenues for 2012 are below BGN 300 000, advance installments are not due, for net revenues between BGN 300 000 and BGN 3 000 000 advance payments are due on quarterly basis and in case the revenues go above BGN 3 000 000, the advance installments must be on monthly basis. read more

Dormant companies registration in Bulgaria

A dormant Bulgarian company is an inactive company that does not trade and hence does not have any accounting transactions recorded at all. Then why should anyone need such a company?

Well, the reasons for keeping such a company registered in Bulgaria may be different. A good reason to use a dormant Bulgarian company is if you have a trademark or a brand name that you wish to protect. In other cases, if you have an active Bulgarian company, but business is not doing well and you need a break, you can make your company dormant so as to reduce expenses to minimum and until waiting for a suitable moment to start trading again. read more

Companies subject to annual financial audit by registered auditors in Bulgaria

Although EU countries have made large steps in unifying their legislation, there are still major differences especially in the field of business and accounting regulations. One of the most frequent questions asked by foreign investors who step onto Bulgarian market is whether all companies registered in Bulgaria are subject to annual financial audit.

According to Bulgarian Accounting Act enterprises which over the current or the previous year do not exceed the indicators under two of the following criteria:
1. Balance sheet assets as of 31 December: BGN 1.5 million
2. Net income from sales for the year: BGN 2.5 million
3. Average number of personnel for the year: 50
are referred to as Enterprises applying a simplified form of financial reporting. Such companies are not subject to independent financial audit by registered auditors unless these companies are:
1. Joint stock companies and partnerships limited by shares
2. Enterprises which are issuers in the meaning of the Public Offering of Securities Act
3. Credit institutions, insurance and investment undertakings, companies for additional
social security and the funds managed by them read more

0 % Corporate Income Tax in Bulgaria?

Yes, the zero corporate tax is a fact in areas with high unemployment in Bulgaria. As per Bulgarian Corporate Income Tax Law companies that carry out manufacturing activities in municipalities where the rate of unemployment for the year preceding the current year is by 35 % or more higher than the national average for the same period can benefit from the so called ‘tax retention’ of up to 100 %.

‘Corporate tax retention’ means that the company is entitled not to remit the amounts of corporate tax due to Bulgarian state budget and has the right to keep the amounts in its company capital and to use them for purposes prescribed by law. Broadly speaking, the retained tax must be invested in fixed assets within four years from the beginning of the year for which the tax is retained.This tax relief can be granted for companies that have made their initial investment after 2006 but not later than 2014. read more

Greek and Romanian companies move business to Bulgaria

Bulgarian National Revenue Agency announced that the number of fully Greek-owned companies registered in Bulgaria increased significantly in 2011. 3781 companies with 100 % Greek capital paid taxes in Bulgaria last year compared with 2199 in 2010. This is an increase by more than 70 %. At first glimpse, the movement of capital to Bulgaria can be put down to the crisis that Greece has been ridden by for the last couple of years. Indeed, some small Greek entrepreneurs moved their investments to Bulgaria because it is safer but crisis is not the only reason for choosing Bulgaria for their investments. This is proved by the fact that the number of Romanian companies also increased by more than 50 % during last year. read more