covid19

COVID-19 Countermeasures in Bulgaria

Summary

Area
Title
Description
Labour law
„60/40 measure“
The state can co-finance 60% of employee's salary in certain cases
 Tax
Extension of tax returns
A number of deadlines for tax returns have been prolonged
Financial support
Preferential loans
Bulgarian Development Bank will finance companies affected by COVID-19 with lending loans

General information

State of emergency

  • The state of emergency led to a number of actions by the national authorities that directly affect businesses and the way companies will continue to operate.
  • On 24 March 2020 the State of Emergency Act was promulgated in the State Gazette. The Act will come into force with retroactive effect as of 13 March 2020 with the exception of some provisions which will come into force on the date of the promulgation. 
  • On 3 April 2020 the Bulgarian Parliament voted to extend the state of emergency in the country to 13 May 2020.
  • On 5 May 2020 the Bulgarian Parliament has decided not to extend the state of emergency after 13 May 2020.  However, the emergency measures remain effective, as well as economic and social programs to support businesses and citizens affected by the restrictions. 
  • The emergency epidemic situation in the country which replaced the state of emergency after 13 May 2020 is extended until 30 November.

Labour market

The „60/40 measure“

On 30 March 2020 the Council of Ministers has published a decree in relation to the retention program (“the 60/40 measure”). By this measure the state aims to support employers from specific sectors (retail trade, hotels, restaurants and bars, cinemas, tourist and tour operator activities, etc.) by covering 60% of the salaries of the employees and part of the employer`s insurance contributions. Some of the conditions for companies to be eligible to apply are:

  • The work process has been suspended (in whole or partially) by an order of the employer or by state authority, or the employer has introduced part-time work;
  • Labor relations with workers must be concluded before the state of emergency is introduced – 13 March 2020;
  • If the employer wants to benefit from the compensation, no employees should be dismissed for the period during which the company receives compensation;
  • If the employer does not pay the remaining 40% of the workers’ compensation, they will also recover 60% of the state aid;
  • The state aid will be provided for no longer than 3 months.

Other companies eligible for government assistance will be able to apply by declaring a 20% drop in sales. March will be used as a reference month.

The term of the measure 60/40, introduced by the State of Emergency Act, is extended to September 2020, and for some sectors – until the year end. For the transport sector, the measure will reach a ratio of 80/20.

General rules applicable

  • All employers and appointing authorities, depending on the specific nature of the work, shall organize, if possible, a distant working regime to their employees - working from home or teleworking. If a distant working regime is not possible, the employers shall implement special mandatory anti-epidemic measures for the purpose of securing the life and health of their employees, e.g. disinfection according to an approved algorithm, non-admission to work spaces of persons with symptoms of respiratory diseases, special instructions, work organisation in such manner that a distance of at least 1.5 m between different persons is ensured, etc. If working with clients, facemasks or safety helmets are obligatory. Working with clients through transparent mechanical safety bulkhead is also permitted.
  • The obligation for all citizens to wear a disposable or reusable protective facemask that covers the nose and mouth while being indoors in public places remains in force until 30 November.

Tax provisions

Extension of tax returns

  • The submission date for the annual tax returns under the Corporate Income Tax Act (CITA) and the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) is extended to 30 June 2020
  • Companies with no activity in 2019, should submit the annual tax return until 30 June 2020
  • Extension of the period for submitting of individual annual and consolidated financial statements by public interest entities and issuers - 31 July 2020
  • Extension of the period for submitting of individual annual and consolidated financial statements – 30 September 2020
  • Extension of the period for submitting of quarterly notification / statement of financial position of the public interest entities / issuers for the first quarter on an individual and consolidated basis, as well as for presentation of a six-month financial statements on an individual and consolidated basis – 30 September 2020
  • The submission deadlines for VAT, advance taxes and withholding tax remain unchanged

Financial statements signature

  • The annual financial statements for 2019 could be signed by means of qualified electronic signatures (where all the signatures on the annual financial statements and the audit report are electronic signatures, the professional seal of the registered auditor is not required)

Transparency report publication

  • The obligation of the registered auditors to publish their transparency reports is extended until 31 July 2020 (previously 30 April 2020)

Financial support

  • The Bulgarian State will allocate 4,5 billion BGN to support the national economy
  • The Bulgarian Development Bank will finance companies affected by COVID-19 with by lending loans up to BGN 48 thousand (approx. EUR 22 thousand)
  • On 3 April 2020 the Governing Council of the Bulgarian National Bank has adopted a decision to comply with the EBA Guidelines on legislative and non-legislative moratoria on loan repayments applied in light of Covid-19 (EBA /GL/2020/02)
  • On 5 April 2020 the Budget Committee has approved at second reading the updated state budget 2020
  • Reduced VAT rate of 9% for restaurant and catering services, certain baby and children`s foods (applies at all stages of the supply chain including import and ICA), books, the use of certain sport facilities, tour operators` services. The changes will apply retrospectively – as of 1 August 2020 for a limited period until 31 December 2021.

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Georgi Koloyanov
Georgi Kaloyanov
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