COVID-19: State of emergency in Bulgaria - updates and advice

In light of the global situation related to the spread of COVID-19, Kambourov & Partners is taking the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of its team, clients and partners, including by encouraging remote work.

While closely monitoring the constantly developing situation, we remain fully available and will be sharing the latest updates, as well as useful advice to help you navigate the various emerging challenges. Follow our  LinkedIn page so you never miss any of our publications and expert analyses. You can also subscribe to our newsletter


The latest on financial support for Bulgarian companies affected by the pandemic  

The renewed guarantee programme of the Bulgarian Development Bank in support of Bulgarian companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is officially up and running with several commercial banks in Bulgaria already implementing its guarantee instruments.

Meanwhile, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which Bulgaria recently submitted to the European Commission, envisages an active role for Bulgarian banks in the years to follow with expectations for increasing demand when it comes to new investment, transformation, “green” and digital transition, and business growth. Click here to read the details.


Can employers in Bulgaria require employees to get vaccinated?

In view of the latest anti-epidemic measures adopted in Bulgaria, Andrey Alexandrov responds to a recurring question with respect to employment relationships and vaccinations, and outlines some legal uncertainties. Click here to read the details.


Global Guide 2021: Measures adopted to support distressed businesses through the COVID-19 crisis  

Last year, INSOL International together with the World Bank Group published the Global Guide: Measures adopted to support distressed businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. In the ongoing pandemic crisis situation, governments have focused on introducing more permanent legal and financial reforms and in particular - new insolvency reforms. To reflect these new developments, the Global Guide was updated and now covers 80 countries of which 26 are new additions. Click here to read the details.


Tax exemption for COVID-19 in-vitro diagnostic medical devices and COVID-19 vaccines 

The European Commission has introduced measures that enable Member States to relieve of or reduce VAT for EU hospitals, medical practitioners and individuals when purchasing COVID-19 vaccines and testing kits. Council Directive (EU) 2020/2020 of 7 December 2020 amending Directive 2006/112/EC (the Directive) allows Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate to the supply of COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic medical devices and services.  Click here to read the details.


The EU €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility is now approved by the European Parliament

On 10 February 2021, the European Commission issued a statement embracing the European Parliament’s confirmation of the political agreement reached on the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation. This announcement comes to demonstrate the outcome of the EU’s efforts to support reforms and investments amid the COVID-19 pandemic making €672.5 billion available for loans and grants to EU Member States.  Click here to read the details.


OECD update on tax treaties in times of COVID-19  

On January 21, 2021, the OECD released a revisited version of its Guidance published in April 2020 to provide more certainty to taxpayers. The updated Guidance applies to situations arising during the COVID-19 pandemic and is meant to be only temporary. It covers the following issues: (1) the creation of permanent establishments (PE), (2) construction site PEs, (3) concerns related to change of residence, (4) concerns related to income from employment.  Click here to read the details.


Digitalising the Bulgarian public sector during a pandemic  

In Bulgaria, COVID-19 acted as a natural catalyst for the digitalisation of the public sector. Plenty of Bulgarian laws and regulations have been adopted or amended to allow the remote use of public sector services. We have outlined some of the important practical implications of this latest push towards e-government and e-justice.  Click here to read the details.


OECD releases guidance on transfer pricing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic  

The Guidance represents the consensus view of the 137 members of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS regarding the application of the arm’s length principle and the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work carried out by the Inclusive Framework in the form of the said guidance supports both taxpayers who have reporting obligations for periods affected by the pandemic, and tax administrations when assessing taxpayer’s implementations of TP policies.  Click here to read the details.


Reforming the Bulgarian healthcare system amidst a pandemic - the adoption of electronic medical referrals   

The Bulgarian public healthcare system makes no exception and has found itself in need of urgent adjustments in order to respond to the immediate demands and needs caused by the pandemic. Bringing public healthcare services to the online space has been a long-awaited process, but this month marked a positive step in the right direction thanks to the adoption of electronic medical referrals. In this way, doctors will be able to remotely issue medical referrals for PCR tests in the presence of 2 out of 11 COVID-19 symptoms.  Click here to read the details.  


COVID-19 and employment relations in Bulgaria  

Testing, data privacy and quarantine

Employment relations have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic and continue to be an omnipresent topic of discussion and legislative amendments in countries all over the world.  Andrey Alexandrov addressed some pending questions related to the rights and obligations of employers and employees in the context of the pandemic. Click here to read the details.


COVID-19 testing in the context of employment relations

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted employment relations around the globe, posing a number of doubts, challenges and issues to both employers and employees. We analysed the legal implications of COVID-19 testing in the workplace and addressed some pending questions. Click here to read the details.


AGMs during the pandemic

What is the legal status of the general meetings of shareholders and stakeholders in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic legal status of the general meetings of shareholders in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on movement, which continue to this day. Attention is drawn to limited liability companies and joint-stock companies as the most common commercial form of partnership.  Click here to read the details.


What happens when a coronavirus case is confirmed in the workplace?

What are the steps and procedures to be undertaken? Can the company/organisation continue its activity? Is it mandatory to test all employees of the company and to quarantine the contact people?  Click here to read the details.


Recovery Plan for Europe: Next Generation EU

On 27 May 2020, the European Commission (the “ Commission”) proposed an extensive recovery plan, which aims to reactivate the EU economy and remedy economic and social damage, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the details.


COVID-19 and measures for distressed businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious difficulties for a huge number of businesses. To address this extraordinary challenge, countries around the world have introduced various stabilisation and economic support measures.  Click to read an overview of the leading continental legal systems. 


Video conferencing - risks & recommendations  

Remote work has been one of the most discussed topics in the past months. Many businesses found themselves challenged to continue operations in a new, almost entirely virtual reality. Video conferencing has been an integral part of this process, with the respective apps and platforms being on the rise. They offer an easy way of organising online events, video and audio conferencing, distance education and others, in this way sparing physical contact and respectively – the spread of COVID-19. However, along with the perks, video conferencing platforms raise potential  confidentiality, security and other legal and regulatory issues.


Deadlines for 2020 annual financial statements

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected numerous sectors and posed a number of unprecedented challenges to businesses, both from a practical and from a legal standpoint. This entailed the introduction of various measures in order to limit the negative impact on the economy and to protect the trade turnover. Among these measures is the extension of the deadlines for filing annual financial statements of companies, non-profit legal entities and other enterprises, as well as the deadlines for reporting the absence of operations.  Click to read the details.


Can any word be my domain name? How about “COVID-19”?

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly disturbed economic processes around the world, many businesses had to accelerate the digitalisation process and focus on the remote provision of their services. This trend affected the private sector, but also public institutions, which have been holding off on online services for years. In this context, we have summarised the main legal aspects of domain names, their scope, possible violations and other key points to consider when building an online business.  Click to read more.


Back to work - how to create a safe environment for employees?

With so many different aspects and risk factors to consider, going back to work can be a tough task for both employers and employees. We have put together a  back-to-work checklist with some of the main points to keep in mind when adapting workplaces to the current situation and the respective health and safety requirements.


How to maintain the arm’s length during a pandemic?

How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact transfer pricing (TP) and what can be done to manage the risks of transfer pricing policies? Read  Nikol Nikolova's recommendations here.


Data traffic, surveillance and monitoring in the fight against COVID-19

Ivo Alexandrov and Mario Arabistanov summarised some of the population monitoring actions, undertaken around the world and addressed key questions related to certain provisions of the Bulgarian Electronic Communications Act. Find out more about what data traffic is, who might be able to access it and what are the current conditions for obtaining such data in Ivo and Mario’s  article. 


Free use of patents in the fight against COVID-19

A group of scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and individuals have initiated the creation of a worldwide movement to support the fight against COVID-19 by making intellectual property rights available free of charge. Get to know more about the Open COVID Pledge and how it overcomes constraints related to IP rights in the current global pandemic here


Global Guide: Measures adopted to support distressed businesses through the COVID-19 crisis

Kambourov & Partners partnered with  INSOL International and the World Bank in the preparation of a Global Guide on the Measures adopted to support distressed businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. Check out the Guide's interactive world map and click to see country-specific measures.


Managing your permanent establishment risk and corporate residency during the COVID-19 pandemic

Imagine a business, for instance, a multinational group, having employees from all over the world operating normally prior to the pandemic. However, one day governments adopt emergency measures, leaving some of these employees, for one reason or another, stranded in different locations. What would be the tax consequences for the enterprise? Would the employees become tax residents in a different country? Find the answers  here.


Amending and Supplementing Act of the Bulgarian State of Emergency Measures Act

The Amending and Supplementing Act of the Bulgarian State of Emergency Measures Act, adopted on 06.04.2020, was promulgated in the State Gazette, No. 34, dated 09.04.2020. An overview of the main points is available here.


Rules for deferral and arrangement of liabilities due to banks and their subsidiaries – financial institutions

On 10 April 2020, Bulgarian National Bank (‘BNB’) issued a press release that its Governing Board has affirmed the draft Rules for deferral and arrangement of liabilities due to banks and their subsidiaries – financial institutions, in relation to the state of emergency adopted by the National Assembly on 13 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out an overview of the Rules  here.


Compensation of 60% of insurable earnings during the state of emergency

What are the conditions, which businesses can benefit from, what is the procedure?

See our brief overview  here and do not hesitate to reach out to Dennitsa Dimitrova and Andrey Alexandrov in case you have any additional questions or doubts.   


State of Emergency Measures Act

On 24.03.2020, the State of Emergency Measures Act (SEMA, the Act) was published in the Bulgarian State Gazette. The Act enters into force retroactively as of 13.03.2020, with the exception of certain provisions, which will come into force as of the date of its promulgation. An overview of the main points is available  here.


COVID-19 and IP law

Yana Todorova discusses attempts to register coronavirus as a trademark and the intellectual property law tools to prevent abuse in times of crisis. Check her article here. 


COVID-19 & State Aid

On 19 March 2020, the European Commission adopted a Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak in response to the severe public health emergency for citizens and societies.

Check Plamen Yotov's overview of the framework and of the EC decisions on COVID-19  related State aid here.


State of emergency: Proposed amendments to the Labour Code

On March 18, the National Assembly adopted at first reading the Emergency Measures Draft Law. It reproduces much of the already known anti-epidemic measures from the Minister of Health's Order, which imposed the first restrictions on social life. The draft law provides for some amendments to the Labour Code, in particular to the conditions and procedures for using paid and unpaid leave, in order to overcome problems in the arrangements for home offices and remote work. See an overview of the main points here.


COVID-19 outbreak: Impact on commercial contracts

Does the coronavirus outbreak and the declared “state of emergency” amount to a force majeure event? What are the options for financial support for businesses in response to mitigate the socio-economic impact and force majeure in loan documents? See a brief guide on these topics  here  


Remote use of corporate infrastructure

The state of emergency, declared last week by the Bulgarian Parliament, as part of the global effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, and the subsequent Order by the Bulgarian Minister of Health (Order № РД-01-124), created various consequences for private businesses. Among them is the recommendation to assure home-based work, wherever possible.

To help employers navigate the process, Mitko Karushkov and Mario Arabistanov put together some important aspects in terms of the remote use of corporate IT infrastructure. Check the full article on Капитал newspaper's  website, as well as a brief summary here and don't hesitate to reach out to Mitko and Mario in case you have any questions or doubts.       


Labour, global mobility and tax implications

The state of emergency, declared on Friday, 13 March 2020, as part of the global effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, provides for a list of measures such as enforcement of "home offices" where possible, restrictions on travel, public institutions, shops and restaurants, ban on public events.

The potential implications for businesses are wide-ranging. Check some of the labour, mobility and tax aspects worth considering  here.