Legal bulletin

LEGAL BULLETIN

I. Acts and regulations on their application

Bill for amending and supplementing the Foodstuffs Act

A new Food Act, in force since 09.06.2020, was published in the State Gazette No. 52 of 09.06.2020.

The new law introduces new requirements for business operators operating on the Bulgarian food market. Registrations of producers and distributors of food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as their sites and vehicles, are introduced in special registers kept by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency.

There is also a ban on online trade in baby food and food for special medical purposes.

The law introduces a grace period in which business operators must enter their business in accordance with the law. A set of sanctions is also envisaged in the section of the law concerning administrative penal provisions.

Link to the act:
https://dv.parliament.bg/DVWeb/showMaterialDV.jsp?idMat=148698

Bill for amending and supplementing the Value Added Tax Act

In the State Gazette issue 55 from 19.06. In 2020, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Value Added Tax was promulgated.

The amendment introduced a reduced tax rate of 9% for:
• accommodation provided in hotels and similar establishments, including the provision of holiday accommodation and rental of camping sites or caravans;
• delivery of books on physical media or by electronic means, or both (including textbooks, reference books and study sets, children’s illustrated books for drawing or coloring, printed or handwritten music editions), other than publications which are entirely or principally intended for advertising, and other than publications which are wholly or mainly composed of video or audio-music content;
• restaurant and catering services, which consist of delivery of prepared or unprepared food; this does not apply to restaurant and catering services, which consist in the supply of beer, wine and spirits, including in the cases under Art. 128 of the VAT Act;
• foods suitable for babies or young children under Annex № 4 of the law;
• baby diapers and similar baby hygiene items under Annex № 4 of the law.
The reduced tax rate is expected to apply from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021.

Link to the act:
https://dv.parliament.bg/DVWeb/showMaterialDV.jsp?idMat=149040

II. Draft bills and discussions

Draft bill for amending and supplementing the Health Act

A Bill amending the Health Act has been published on the website of the National Assembly.

The petitioners propose a ban on the sale of energy drinks to persons under 18 years of age. A restriction is also introduced not to sell energy drinks on the premises of or within 50 meters from the entrance points of educational institutions with the exception of higher education institutions.

Link to the bill:
https://www.parliament.bg/bg/bills/ID/157488/

III. Bulgarian court decisions

In SG No. 57 of 26.06.2020, Decision № 10037 of 1 July 2019 on administrative case № 10108 of 2017 of the Supreme Administrative Court was published.

The case was initiated on a complaint of the Bulgarian Association of Travel Agencies (BATA) against Art. 87a of the Regulations for application of the VAT Act (amended, SG No. 24/2017, effective 21.03.2017). Arguments are made for nullity, and in the alternative – for illegality, due to contradiction with the substantive provisions and the purpose of the law. According to the applicant, the form was not observed when it was issued and the administrative procedural rules were substantially infringed.

With its decision the Fourth Department of the SAC repeals the provision of Art. 87a (New, SG No. 15/2012, effective 21.02.2012; amended, SG No. 24/2017, effective 21.03.2017) of the Regulations for implementation of the Law on value added tax as illegal. It is motivated by the fact that the interested parties did not have any opportunity to take a stand on the new wording of the text, which limited their right to participate in the proceedings and the possibility to protect to the highest degree their rights and legitimate interests. related to the determination by the eligible state bodies of the manner, volume and amount of taxation of the services offered by them. The administrative body was obliged to accept the draft as it was published on 29.12.2016, or if necessary, to change the wording of the texts to postpone its decision until the implementation of the procedure under Art. 26, para. 3 of the LNA for each proposal for amendment in the text of the disputed provision.

The decision may be appealed within 14 days of its notification to the parties before a five-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court.

Link to the decision of the SAC:
https://dv.parliament.bg/DVWeb/showMaterialDV.jsp?%20IdMat%20=%20149344

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