From 01.01.2012 onward the restriction to acquire land for a secondary residence or for business purposes is annulled for citizens of EU member-states, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein who are not permanent residents in Bulgaria, as well as for legal entities registered under the legislation of these states. The restriction was envisaged with the Transitional Measures in Application No 6, Part 3, p.1 of the Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania 2005 to the EU (Transitional Measures). From this date onward – i.e. 01.01.2012 afore-said physical persons and legal entities will be able to acquire land for living and for business activities on the terms and conditions valid for Bulgarian citizens.
The restrictions on the acquisition of agricultural land and forests by citizens of EU member-states, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein, however, will remain in force till 01.01.2014.
Self-employed farmers who are EU citizens and intend to reside permanently in Bulgaria and are also registered as agricultural producers can acquire land and forests on the terms and conditions valid for Bulgarian citizens. Such citizens are not subject to the restrictions envisaged by the Transition Measures.
Given the above possibilities, a number of peculiarities of the Bulgarian legislation should be noted concerning the payment of the purchase price and the taxes due in real estate deals.
In respect of the measures undertaken by the Bulgarian government against money laundering, a law has been enacted restricting cash payments which exceed BGN 15 000 or its equivalent in another currency. Real estate deals at a price higher than BGN 10,000 or its equivalent in another currency fall within the scope of that law too. Such payments have to be made to a notary’s bank account especially provided for this purpose or to any other bank account agreed between the parties.
On the other hand, a physical person or a legal entity acquiring a real estate through purchase at a price higher than BGN 10 000, is under the obligation to declare the origin of the finances to the notary. In case the money for the purchase is a loan made by a physical person or a legal entity that is not a credit institution or bank, then there is the requirement for the purchaser- a physical person or a legal entity- if taxable under the Bulgarian legislation, to declare to the tax authorities every loan which exceeds BGN 10,000 that they have received. The loan has to be declared by the lender, too. With the signing of the Notary Deed for the purchase before a notary, the parties to the deal declare that the price stated in the Notary Deed is the real price of the deal.
The costs for the purchase of a real estate in Bulgaria in all cases include a notary fee, a local tax in favor of the municipality responsible for the district where the real estate is located, and a registration fee for entering the Notary Deed for the purchase in the Property Register. The fees and local taxes are determined by statutory regulations, and the notary fees are estimated as a ratio, whereas the local tax is determined by each municipality to the amount of 0,1% to 3%; the registration fee is a fixed sum of 0,1%. The fees and the local tax are estimated on the basis of the purchase price of the real estate.
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