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. Most of them will remain effective until June 30, and some until the end of September.

Emergency epidemic situation

  • On 13 May 2020 the Council of Ministers announced emergency epidemic situation until June 14. The regime of anti-epidemic measures remains the same as during the state of emergency, only the formula under which the state of emergency becomes a situation changes. The essential difference is that the first is imposed by the parliament, and the second - by a decision of the Council of Ministers. All previous measures remain in force, such as the obligation to wear masks in closed public places and public transport, as well as to observe the required distance, and restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals into the country. There is also the obligatory quarantine of 14 days when entering the country from abroad, and it will not matter whether it is about Bulgarian citizens or foreigners .

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.

General rules applicable

  • It is expected a new law to be voted replacing the State of Emergency act and introducing the obligatory safety measures in general and in particular for the workplaces.

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

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

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Georgi Koloyanov
Georgi Kaloyanov
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