Until recently foreign citizens could not own land in Bulgaria. At the beginning of March 2007 Bulgaria’s parliament approved amendments to the land ownership legislation. Currently foreigners and foreign companies are allowed to acquire land in the country, but only under an international contract. Foreigners also have the right to acquire land ownership by inheritance. EU citizens who are not permanent residents in Bulgaria cannot acquire land in the country.
A legal loophole allows foreigners to set up a Bulgarian company which will have the right to buy land the way Bulgarians do. You need to use a local lawyer to set up your company and negotiate the deal for you, and you will have to retain their services on a permanent basis to maintain the company for you. You will also need to use an accountancy firm to submit annual tax returns, since the land is considered an investment. Two years ago the initial capital for setting up a limited liability company was reduced to only two leva. If you are buying an apartment and there is no land included in the deal, then you can buy it outright as an individual.
If you have set up a company in Bulgaria you should know that the country has introduced the International Financial Reporting Standards and all companies registered in the country are required to apply them for their consolidated financial statements. Investors in Bulgaria should also be aware that since 2005, International Accounting Standards must be applied to all the consolidated and individual company financial statements of listed companies, financial institutions and all large limited liability entities. In the rest of the EU, in contrast, only public companies use International Accounting Standards.
Sounds too complicated? Then the wisest thing to do is to engage a Bulgarian accountancy firm which will do all the thinking for you. It will hold your hand while you fight with red tape nightmares and – which is more important – it speaks the language of this same bureaucracy, and I don't mean just the verbal language. Many accountancy companies offer special packages for foreigners, have employees who speak a foreign language and will make you feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.
Brain Consult is a reliable partner whom you can trust with your accounting. It specialises in accountancy, consulting and other services and offers help in tax protection and planning and making representations to the National Revenue Agency, the Registry Agency, the National Social Security Institute, the National Statistics Institute and other institutions where necessary. Its employees speak English, German, Italian, Greek and Russian. They can help you register your own firm and assist you in issues regarding services, commerce and production.
For foreigners who have decided to do business in Bulgaria, Vesta Consult provides the full range of accountancy and legal services. They prefer to start from the very beginning – the registration. They believe that an accountant and a lawyer should watch over the company from its birth and be familiar with its every detail. If you intend to develop your company slowly and gradually they can advise you how "to put it into hibernation" and cut down on expenses such as social security until the real business begins. They will explain any legal anomalies to you in the clearest and most comprehensive way.
Kontimax offers the same range of services and considers that winning the trust of their clients is their utmost priority. This accountancy firm has years of experience with foreign clients and their employees realise that, while foreigners may see Bulgaria as a favourable investment environment, they are not always clear on their tax liabilities and implications. On the other hand, they respect the fact that their clients have a good corporate culture and seek help from economic and legal advisors before starting their business, and also base their decisions on legal and accounting logic.