Taking Care of Your Affairs in Bulgaria While Living Abroad
Many foreigners have purchased property in Bulgaria during the last decade 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.
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.