A New Day for the Minimum Corporate Tax (Part 1): An Introduction to the EU Framework on Corporate Tax

On 22 December 2021, the European Commission proposed a Directive ensuring a minimum effective tax rate (“ETR”) for the global activities of large multinational groups. The proposal delivers on the EU’s pledge to move swiftly and be among the first to implement the recent historic global tax reform agreement.

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Transition from LIBOR: A transfer pricing perspective

The Interbank Offered Rates (“IBORs”), including the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (“EURIBOR”) and the Euro Overnight Index Average (“EONIA”) are well known and used to be widely accepted by tax professionals around the world. However, the chapter of IBORs will soon be closed.

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CJEU rules on the VAT treatment of Bulgarian National Television's services

On 16 September 2021, the Fourth Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) rendered its judgment on the value added tax (“VAT”) treatment of the services provided by the Bulgarian National Television (“BNT”).

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Not sure if funny or copyright infringement: A legal take on memes

Everything which is not forbidden is allowed, right? However, to what extent are we sure that when using a meme in a playful commercial campaign, we aren’t doing something prohibited? To answer this, we must first analyse the legal nature of the "meme".

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

The European Commission recently approved the renewed guarantee programme of the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) in support of micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The guarantee instruments are already being implemented by several commercial banks in Bulgaria.

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Rundown: The new global minimum tax deal and its meaning for developing countries

On 8 October 2021, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) announced that world leaders of 136 countries had formally agreed to an overhaul of international tax rules, intended to reflect the realities of the digital economy.

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Income from dividends and financial instruments – recent CJEU practice and current tax treatment

A recent judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union on preferential tax treatment of dividends listed on the national stock market, sparked the conversation about taxation of dividends and financial instruments within the EU.

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Concentration procedures in Bulgaria: New rules for preserving competition

In contrast to the established European norms, the national regulation in force prior to the latest changes, stipulated that the Commission on Protection of Competition has the power to impose remedies for preserving competition in concentrations between undertakings.

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Can employers in Bulgaria require employees to get vaccinated?

Employers in Bulgaria cannot require employees to get vaccinated, in so far as the state itself does not oblige individuals to get vaccinated. At present, vaccination against COVID-19 in Bulgaria is a voluntary act that everyone can take or not take in accordance with their general health status, beliefs, etc.

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Selling real estate in Bulgaria: The right of first offer of the state and of the municipality

Before selling their real estate to another natural or legal person, it is important that each owner checks whether the state or municipality has the right of first offer. The legal basis for this stems from Article 199, paragraph 1 of the Bulgarian Territory Development Act.

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The Future of Unmanned Flight (Part 3): Data Protection & Privacy - Introduction & Legal Framework

As the industry of commercial drone operation develops, there are two questions that loom larger than all others: Will my privacy be respected? How is my personal data going to be processed? The European Data Protection Supervisor has published a number of opinions on the privacy issues that commercial civilian unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) raise.

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EU Green Deal: The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

As a result of the accelerated climate ambitions at EU level, there is a high risk of carbon leakage in non-EU states where less stringent environmental and climate policies prevail. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) foresees for EU importers to buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price, which would have been paid, had the goods been produced under the EU carbon pricing rules.

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Healthcare system affiliation: CJEU rules on the status of economically inactive EU citizens residing in a host Member State

On 15 July 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a Judgment in Case C-535/19, stating that citizens of the European Union should be included in the public health insurance system of the Member State in which they are residing legally, but the host State has the right to set certain conditions for the inclusion of economically inactive citizens in the same system.

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CJEU judgment on the right to deduct VAT in insolvency proceedings

On 03.06.2021, in its preliminary ruling’s judgment in case C-442/2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on the right to deduct VAT due in insolvency proceedings in certain cases.

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New Double Tax Treaty between Bulgaria and the Netherlands

The Republic of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have concluded a new Double Tax Treaty for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and the prevention of tax evasion and circumvention. The Treaty reflects the innovations in the Bulgarian tax legislation and the modern principles of international taxation, reflected in the OECD Model and will enter into force on 31 July 2021.

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Constraints on the acquisition of agricultural land in Bulgaria

Agricultural land in Bulgaria is constitutionally defined as a chief national asset. As such, it benefits from the special protection of the State and the society. However, it can be argued that the existing legislative safeguards go beyond their purpose and end up creating undue constraints on the acquisition of agricultural land in Bulgaria. Such undue constraints are contained in the provision of Article 3v of the Agricultural Land Ownership and Use Act.

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ECB: New loan-level data requirements

In March 2019, with a view to encouraging efficiency in the securitisation market the European Central Bank decided that the loan-level data reporting requirements of the Eurosystem collateral framework and the disclosure requirements and registration process for securitisation repositories under Regulation (EU) No 2017/2402 must achieve greater proximity.

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Stepping forward: The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive

The Directive aims to encourage employees to step forward and report breaches in EU legislation within their organisations. It is primarily focused on the protection of whistleblowers but it also contains provisions aiming to prevent individuals from disrupting businesses by constantly submitting ungrounded signals.

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The CJEU determines when the letting of property is considered a fixed establishment

Is the concept of “fixed establishment” to be interpreted as meaning that the existence of human and technical resources is always necessary and therefore that the service provider’s own staff must be present at the establishment, or can that property, even without human resources, be regarded as a “fixed establishment”?

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Latest amendments to the Concessions Act: A tour d'horizon

The Amending and Supplementing Act of the Bulgarian Concessions Act promulgated on 26 February 2021 introduced a number of legislative amendments, related to Bulgaria’s obligation to transpose Directive 2014/23/EU into its national law. The amendments follow a letter of formal notice sent to Bulgaria by the European Commission, implying that the Bulgarian transposition of the Directive is not in full compliance with its text.

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New rules for investment advisers and brokers of financial instruments

Ordinance No 7, adopted on 27 May 2021 of the Financial Supervision Commission regulates the procedure for acquisition, recognition and revocation of the legal capacity of brokers of financial instruments and investment advisers, as well as the additional requirements to the activity they carry out.

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The extension of MOSS registration and information updates

From 1 July 2021, the MOSS scheme will cover all services provided by taxable persons from third countries in the territory of the EU to non-taxable persons (Non-Union scheme). A new scheme for the distance sale of goods imported from third countries or territories is introduced in the form of shipments with an own value not exceeding the BGN equivalent of 150 euro.

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The Future of Unmanned Flight (Part 2): Liability and Insurance for Drones

As drones become more and more common in the European and Bulgarian skies, incidents are bound to occur and it is crucial for every business utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (‘UAS’) to be well aware and prepared for the settling of insurance and liability claims arising from such circumstances.

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European Commission adopts new sets of Standard Contractual Clauses

On 04 June 2021, the European Commission adopted two long-awaited new sets of SCCs that controllers and processors may use in their data-related business operations.

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Bulgaria & the DSM Copyright Directive: Does transposition delay equal opportunity?

EU Member States were supposed to transpose Directive (EU) 2019/790 into their respective national legislations by 7 June 2021. However, to date, only 4 Member States have complied with this obligation. What is the reason behind this and should we in this case, contrary to the saying, blame the game and not the players?

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CJEU rules on the joint and several liability and default interests for VAT delays

On 20 May 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published its preliminary ruling upon a reference made by the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Bulgaria (“SAC”) regarding the joint and several liability and the default interests for VAT payment delays.

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Recent amendments to the Bulgarian banking law

On 14.05.2021, the Bulgarian National Bank introduced a few important amendments to the Bulgarian banking legislation.

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Accessible environment in urbanized territories, buildings, and facilities

A new Ordinance for determining the requirements for accessibility and universal design of the elements of accessible environment in urbanized territories, buildings and facilities entered into force on 13 March 2021.

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Certain bank insolvency provisions declared unconstitutional

On 27.05.2021 the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted Decision No 8 on Interpretative case No 9/2020. The case was admitted for consideration with an Admissibility Order of 20.10.2020.

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The European Banking Authority issued new legal instruments to tackle de-risking practices

Recently, foreign citizens looking to open an account with a Bulgarian bank have been facing various challenges related to KYC procedures. This is because financial institutions must follow strict rules for verifying their customers, which often lead to termination of business relationships and unwillingness to invest in Bulgaria. In this regard, in March 2021 the European Banking Authority ('EBA') announced three regulatory instruments to address de-risking practices.

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(Update) The Future of Unmanned Flight: U-space Implementing Regulation adopted by the Commission

U-space is no longer just a far-off plan as on the 13th of May 2021 the new Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) on a regulatory framework for the U-space would enter into force (‘U-space Regulation’).

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The Future of Unmanned Flight (Part 1): An Introduction to Drone Regulations in the EU and Bulgaria

Drones have been regulated practically since their inception yet their increasing popularity, as well as posed dangers, have significantly sped up the process of lawmaking. In 2018, a new Basic European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Regulation entered into force moving all regulatory power regarding UAS, regardless of size and type, to the hands of the EU.

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Loot boxes: Has pay-to-win become pay-to-gamble?

A legal perspective   

The popularity of loot boxes has led regulators in many countries around the world to pay special attention to them and investigate whether they are a form of gambling that is not only carried out without a license but is also offered to minors. 

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Financial services regulation - what's the latest?

In February 2021, the Bulgarian National Assembly adopted legislative amendments to the Recovery and Resolution of Credit Institutions and Investment Intermediaries Act. Among its key takeaways, is the possibility to make instant payments in Bulgarian leva (BGN).

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Who is liable for the obligations of legal entities - the latest case law

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled in a new Interpretative Decision, concerning the liability of third parties (managers, procurators, members of the management body, commercial representative and commercial agent) for obligations of legal entities under Art. 19, para. 1-2 of the Tax and Social Security Procedure Code.

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What to expect from the proposed major reform in insolvency proceedings?

A Draft Amending and Supplementing Act of the Commerce Act has been launched for public discussion. It is in fulfilment of Bulgaria‘s commitments following its accession to the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) and in view of its aspirations for future euro area membership. The Act reflects on a number of weaknesses in the implementation of legislation related to insolvency proceedings. We we have outlined its key takeaways.

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Green roofs in Bulgaria - current regulation

The numerous advantages of green roofs are considered rather sparingly by the current Bulgarian legislation. Yet, this should in no way stop investors in large Bulgarian cities from envisaging the construction of green roofs for their buildings. This article reviews the existing Bulgarian legislation in this field.

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What are Controlled Foreign Company rules?

Controlled Foreign Company (“CFC’’) rules aim to combat tax evasion situations where a company resident in a high-tax country owns a foreign subsidiary resident in a low-tax country in order to derive tax benefit from the lower corporate tax rate.

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

In order to help victims of the pandemic, the Council Directive (EU) 2020/2020 of 7 December 2020 allows Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate to the supply of COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic medical devices and services. Member States are required to communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by the Directive within two months of their adoption.

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Introduction of the start-up visa in Bulgaria

The latest amendments to the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act introduce the long-awaited “start-up visa”, addressing entrepreneurs and high-risk investors.

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Co-ownership of shares in a joint-stock company - the latest case law

The Supreme Court of Cassation recently ruled on the issue of exercising the right to vote in a Shareholders General Meeting of a joint-stock company in cases of co-ownership of shares.

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The obligation to submit an annual tax return under Art. 50 ITNPA

There are two options for submitting the ATR - on the spot, in the territorial directorate of the National Revenue Agency ("NRA"), or online. The competent territorial directorate of the NRA for the acceptance of the ATR is the one at the permanent address of the resident (Art. 54 PITA).

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Discrimination in the workplace: protection measures

The Protection Against Discrimination Act provides for a set of obligations for employers related to the creation of a non-discriminatory environment for exercising the right to work. It also introduces an obligation for employers to actively intervene if there is discrimination among their staff.

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

The confirmation it received by the European Parliament, makes it possible for the Recovery and Resilience Facility to enter into force in the second half of February. Member States are required to present national recovery and resilience plans that provide for specific reforms and public investment projects by 30 April.

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Europe's Digital Future: Main points of the EU Commission’s proposal for a Digital Services Act

On December 15, 2020, the EU Commission published its Proposal for a Digital Services Act. The Commission has underlined that the proposed new rules are proportionate, foster innovation, growth and competitiveness, and facilitate the scaling up of smaller platforms, SMEs and start-ups.

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Aircraft Financing: Why Should Bulgaria Join the Cape Town Convention?

The fact that Bulgaria is not an individual party to the Convention means that creditors would not be able to take advantage of treaty protections when the debtor is a Bulgarian air operator, complicating the process of developing a financing agreement and increasing costs.

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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.

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Challenge accepted: Digitalising the Bulgarian public sector during a pandemic

After the initial shock of the pandemic and when governments and citizens realised that the virus will be around longer than anticipated, the "new normal" forced public authorities and businesses to digitalise their services and make them easily accessible online. 

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Glencore wins a transfer pricing lawsuit against the tax commissioner

The dispute brought by the Australian tax authority cornered around the conditions of the intra-group arrangements for the sale of copper concentrate in the years 2007-2009.

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

On 18 December 2020, OECD published a guidance on the transfer pricing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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