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April 2009, 17/04/2009

Dear Valued Readers,

The idea for the main article this time came from recent cases of foreign owners of Bulgarian property who experienced problems due to lack of care for their property or company affairs. Although we have discussed some of the topics below in previous newsletters we decided to prepare summary of important issues needing regular attention.

Taking Care of Your Affairs in Bulgaria While Living Abroad

Many foreigners have purchased property in Bulgaria during the last five years and most of them live in their home country and only visit for few weeks every year. Recently we have come to a number of cases when people have not had anyone to look after their affairs locally which resulted in problems for them when it came to selling property, transferring their company or in case of other events.

What are the issues related to your property and Bulgarian company which need attention regularly?

Checking property condition and normal maintenance. If you are not visiting for longer periods you may need someone to check your house or apartment, air it, check for leakages, cut the grass, etc. Properties which have been neglected are more likely to become target for criminals and are loosing some of their value even without incidents. You may engage a neighbour or a specialist company depending on the particular situation. There is always a way to find someone to look after your property and this is important in the long run. Security and alarm system can be one decision but again you have to have a local contact to react to the alarm and to communicate with the police or security company.

Insurance. It is essential to have a property insurance to cover your property for the basic risks. Insuring the property is easy especially if one has the information about the offers of the different companies. Some insurers are less cooperative than others and it is good to have this point in mind when choosing between the offers.

It is important to have someone to check your house regularly as insurance companies may not accept your claim if they are not informed about an insurance event within certain time after its occurrence. Remember that renewing the insurance is not done automatically.

In case of a robbery you have to have a authorised representative to file a complaint in the police and submit your documents to the insurance company. You need a protocol from the police in order to claim money from the insurance company for damages caused by a robbery. Bear in mind that most insurers will cover the risk of burglary if there is an alarm system installed.

Paying utility bills. You may need to pay bills whilst away and this can be done electronically (read more information here) or by a local representative. In any case it is a bad surprise to arrive during the weekend and find the electricity cut off for unpaid bills. Then it will take a few days from your holiday to sort the problem.

Paying annual property taxes. This is simple but takes time and has to be done each year by law. The taxes include annual council tax and garbage collection fee which is also paid to the local municipality. The payment has to be made either with one payment (deadline is 30 April and you will receive a 5% discount) or in four instalments (deadlines are 30 April, 30 June, 30 September and 30 November).

Company accounts. Those who have purchased their properties through a Bulgarian company must remember or have an appointed representative to look after their company affairs. Preparation of annual company accounts and submission of tax declaration, accounting and statistics report are the obligations you have no matter whether your company is trading or not. Some people say that filing a zero declaration is enough but this is not true. A company which has assets has depreciation costs as a minimum and most probably you will have other costs which may be deducted from your profit when selling one day. If the accounts are not prepared, it is likely for you to face problems with the tax authorities when it comes to selling your property or if they decide to check your accounts. The accounts have to be prepared and tax report submitted by 31 March each year for the period from 1 January till 31 December of the previous year.

According to the Bulgarian Accounting Law the annual report must be signed by a qualified accountant who is responsible for its contents together with the company managers.

There are cases when changes of legislation require submission of documents to the tax or municipal authorities within certain period. Having someone to have your company on the list and warn you if you need to complete some procedure (or, indeed, complete it for you) is valuable thing which will save you the worry.

Obligatory re-registration. We have mentioned on few occasions that all Bulgarian companies have to be re-registered in the new Commerce Registry by 31 December 2010. Failure to do so will lead to closure of the company and loss of its assets (including property). Once the company is re-registered there is an obligation for the annual financial report to be submitted to the new Registry. The deadlines depend on the particular date of the re-registration for the first year and for each year after that the deadline is 30 June. Read further details about the reregistration..

We at Stara Planina Properties and our sister company Bulgarian Property Management have the dedication to take away from you the hassle which some of the above issues involve when you try to deal with them from abroad. Let us know if you wish to receive details on any of the above issues.  

EU citizens have to register by 27 April to vote in the elections for Members of European Parliament

Citizens of European Union states who reside long term in Bulgaria have the right to vote in Bulgaria's European Parliament elections on 7 June 2009. The right is granted to those who have lived permanently in Bulgaria for the last three months.

In order to do this one must fill in an application form at the office of the local municipality of his/hers residence. The deadline for submission of the form is April 27 2009. Receiving permit to vote in Bulgaria will mean that one could not vote in any other EU country on the coming elections.

 

Romanian Tourists Prefer Bulgaria for Their Easter Holidays

This year the Orthodox Easter falls on 19 April. The Easter long weekend is time for many people to go away and many of them choose destinations abroad. This year the favourite destinations for the Bulgarians after the most visited tourist destinations in the country, are Greece and Turkey which attract with the low cost of the packages and short travel time.

The Romanians, on the other hand, choose to visit Bulgaria in greater numbers each year. Among the most important factors for their choice are the cheap prices starting from 30 euros per person for a two-night stay and the closeness of Bulgaria's tourist destinations. The Romanian national tourist agency reported that 80,000 Romanians have bought Easter tourist packages, with 30,000 planning to travel abroad. Of them nearly 10 000 will spend their Easter holidays in Bulgaria.

 

Ski & Snowboard Guide to Bulgaria Published by The ExpatInBulgaria.com

A bit late for this ski season and early for the next one but let us suggest to the keen skiers to check the “Ski & Snow Board Guide to Bulgaria” published on the ExpatInBulgaria.com website with the contribution of Sofia Echo publishing team. The guide makes interesting reading about 17 ski destinations in Bulgaria and in particular their ski facilities.

Download your free copy of the Ski & Snowboard Guide to Bulgaria..

 

Monthly travel guide..

Below is a link to the Jamadvice HRG Bulgaria Monthly Travel Guide. It provides useful information as well as some interesting facts from the travel industry.

Monthly Travel Guide..

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