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flag Bulgaria Bulgaria: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The fiscal year begins on January 1st and ends on December 31st of the same year.
Accounting Standards
International accounting standards were established  in Bulgaria at the beginning of 2003.  The standards apply to banks, insurance, social well-being and investment companies as well as unidentified companies.  Bulgarian accounting standards are now in agreement with the standards of the International Accounting Standards Board.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
BULNAO
National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria
Ministry of Finance
Accounting Reports
The balance sheet is presented into accounts with liabilities composed of constant capital and debts, because there is a distinction between long and short-term debts.
The profit and loss account gives priority to the repository of the global production and leaves the choice of the costs classification either by nature or by function.
Publication Requirements
Companies have to publish annually a balance sheet, a profit and loss account and an appendix.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Bulgaria , in Bulgarian
Certification and Auditing
The external control of accounts must be confided to a body of certified experts (auditors) chosen by the company. Wolftheiss, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kambourov & Partners, KPMG, Ernst & Young.
Accounting News
IAS Plus
Ministry of Finance

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT (value added tax)
Tax Rate
20%
Reduced Tax Rate
A 9% rate applies to the service of accommodation provided by a hotel-owner. A zero tax rate applies to exports and to transactions exempted from VAT under international agreements.
Other Consumption Taxes
Bulgaria applies excise duty to alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes, money games, leather; tea and coffee, petroleum, gasoline, second-hand vehicles, and electricity.
For further information on excise duty consult the EU comparison table.

Learn more about Service Providers in Bulgaria on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
The standard rate applied is 10%.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are included in the taxable income of a company and taxed at the normal corporate income tax rate. Quoted shares sold on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange are exempt. Unrealised capital gains or financial assets are taxable only in the case of financial institutions.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Expenses are deductible for depreciation, net operation losses, payment to foreign affiliates, interest that follow the thin capitalization rules. A tax credit or exemption may apply under a tax treaty, and if no treaty relief is available, Bulgaria grants a unilateral domestic tax credit.
Other Corporate Taxes
Fringe benefits tax; social and health security contributions; property tax; transfer tax; tax on expenses for entertaining (ceremonial expenses) and on expenses related to operation of means of transport; withholding tax on dividends, interest, royalties, capital gains and technical services fees payable to foreign residents.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Bulgaria Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 15.0 28.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 454.0 260.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 28.7 40.5 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individual income tax 10%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Donations are deductable up to 5%, freelancers, civil contractors, notary officers, physicians, dentists or other private practitioners may deduct 25% from their gross income; royalties are subject to 40% statutory deductions; rental income is subject to 10% statutory deductions; mandatory social security contributions borne by individuals are tax deductible in full; voluntary pension and unemployment contributions, as well as health insurance and life insurance contributions are also deductible up to certain limits; donations to certain organisations are also deductible up to defined limits; young married couples may deduct interest on mortgage loans for the first BGN 100,000 of the loan under certain conditions.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Expatriates have no special tax regime.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of the double Taxation Agreements signed by Bulgaria.
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 5%, Interest: 10%, Royalties: 10%

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
National Revenue Agency
Other Domestic Resources
Database on taxes in the European Union
Consult Taxation trends in the European Union.

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in Bulgaria on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organizations
The organization for the protection of trademarks and patents is the Bulgarian Patent Office.
Since 1993, there is a law on copyrights and intellectual property. There is also a law on patents but it is not very reliable.
Bulgaria signed the Paris Convention concerning the protection of industrial property and the agreement which establishes the World Organization of Intellectual property (WIPO). Concerning patents, Bulgaria ratified the treaty of co-operation on patents.
Regional Organizations
The European Patent Office
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
 

National Regulation and International Agreements

 
Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent
 
Patents Act 1991
maximum 16 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trademark
 
Trademark Law 1999
10 years. If the trademark has not been used within 5 years of the deposition then it reverts to the public domain. Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Design
 
 Industrial Design Law 1999
10 years renewable 3 times every 5 years.  
Copyright
 
Copyright Law and supporting rights
For the author's lifetime and for 70 years after his death Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
 
Industrial Design Law
10 years and may be renewed 3 times in 5 years.  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Broadly speaking, Judiciary is independent in Bulgaria; though the human rights groups claim that the judicial system suffers from problems like perceived unwillingness to prosecute crimes against ethnic minorities; charges that the government denies.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The judicial system in the country broadly guarantees a fair trial to a foreign national.
The Language of Justice
The judicial language in the country is Bulgarian.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Having an interpreter is always possible.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution adopted in July 1991; having civil and the criminal laws based on Roman law. Bulgaria accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Checking National Laws Online
Lex: database on Bulgarian law (in Bulgarian only)

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in Bulgaria on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Standards

National Standards Organizations
Bulgarian Standards Institute
Integration in the International Standards Network
The State Agency for Standardization and Metrology (BDS) is the organization in charge of the standardisation and ratification of laws in Bulgaria. Its purpose is to harmonize these standards with the European ones.
The standard ISO 9000, though optional is a factor of competitiveness. The BDS is a full member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), The European Committee for Standardization (CEN), and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC).
Classification of Standards
Bulgaria upholds international standards and European Union Standards.
Online Consultation of Standards
Visit the Bulgarian Standards Institute online.
Certification Organizations
Bulgarian Standards Institute

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Business Practices

General Information
Kwintessential, Advice on business etiquette in Bulgaria
Opening Hours and Days
Banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00.
Public services are open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00 with a one hour break from midday to 13:00.
The working week is 5 days Monday to Friday from 8/9 a.m. to 17:30 with a break from 12:00 to 13:00.
Shops are open every day including public holidays from 9:30 to 19:00.
 

Public Holidays

New Years Day January 1
National Holiday March 3
Easter April
Labor day May 1
St George's Day and Bulgarian Army Day May 6
Bulgarian Education and Literature Day May
Unification Day September 6
Independence Day September 22
National Revival Day Bulgaria November 1
Christmas December 25
St Etienne December 26
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Summer vacation June and July
Christmas vacation December
 

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Last Updates: December 2014