The State of Emergency Act in Bulgaria
A State of Emergency in Bulgaria due to cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria was declared by a decision of the Parliament on 13 March 2020.
The Bulgarian Parliament adopted the Measures and Actions during a State of Emergency Act (the “Act”).
The Act will be in force retroactively with effect as of 13 March 2020 except for certain provisions which will be in force as of the date of its promulgation in State Gazette.
The measures and actions provided in the Bill concern different areas during the time of the state of emergency. This alert aims to inform you on some of the most important measures and actions which may directly concern your business.
- Performance of obligations
The following deadlines are extended:
- filing of annual tax returns under the Corporate Income Tax Act and the Personal Income Tax Act for 2019 and payment of taxes, including tax on expenses – until 30 June 2020
- 5% discount in case of pre-payment of the tax on real estate and/or vehicle for the whole year – until 30 June 2020.
- use of 5% discount in case of filing of the annual tax return under Personal Income Tax Act – until 31 May 2020.
- In case the annual tax return for 2019 is filed by 15 April 2020, the advance payments shall be made in the amount declared;
- In case the annual tax return for 2019 has not been filed by 15 April 2020, the advance payments shall be declared in accordance with the annual tax return form by 15 April 2020, filling in only the part which is related to declaration of advance payments for the current year.
- filing annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and annual reports of the enterprises – until 30 September 2020.
- filing a declaration that an enterprise has not operated during the reporting period – until 30 June 2020.
In addition, annual financial statements for 2019 may be signed by a qualified electronic signature.
- Telework. Employers may assign work from home or telework to their employees without employee’s consent. This shall be done by an order of the employer. In this case only the place of work is changed, without changing the other conditions of the employment contract.
- Suspension of work by the employer or state authority. The employer may suspend the work of the whole or part of the enterprise or some employees by an order for the entire or part of the period until the state of emergency is waived. In case the whole or part of the enterprise is suspended by an order of a state authority due to state of emergency, the employer shall not admit the employees to their workplaces for the entire period of state emergency. In such case the employee is entitled to receive their gross remuneration.
- Part-time work. The employer may establish in the enterprise or its unit a part-time work for the full-time employees for the whole or part of the period declared as state of emergency.
- Annual leave. Employers may grant the paid annual leave without the consent of their employees or workers. In case the employer or a state authority has suspended the work of the whole or part of the enterprise or of some employees due to state of emergency, the employer has the right to grant the paid annual leave to the employee or worker without its consent, including to an employee who has not yet acquired 8 months of employment service.
- Annual leave of certain categories of employees. In case of state of emergency, the employer shall allow paid or unpaid annual leave at the request of certain categories of employees (for example, a pregnant employee, employee in advanced stages of in vitro treatment; a mother or adoptive parent of a child up to 12 years of age or a disabled child regardless of their age; employee with permanently damaged working capacity 50 and over 50%, etc.).
The following terms shall not run as of 13.04.2020 until waiving the state of emergency:
- procedural terms for judicial, arbitral, administrative and enforcement proceedings, except terms for criminal proceedings; (ii) under the Extradition Act; (iii) under the European Arrest Warrant; and (iv) for proceedings related to duress measures;
- limitation periods and other terms provided for in the legal acts, whereas on expiry of which rights are terminated or extinguished or obligations arise for individuals, except for the terms under the Criminal Code and the Administrative Violations and Sanctions Act;
- the terms for execution of instructions issued by an administrative authority to parties or interested persons in proceedings, except for proceedings under the Management of Resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds Act.
The following terms shall be extended by 1 month after waiving the state of emergency:
- the terms (not specified above), set out in a legal act, which expire during the state of emergency and are related to the exercise of rights or the fulfillment of obligations of individuals or entities;
- the effect of administrative acts which is limited by term and expires during the period of the state of emergency.
Until the state of emergency is waived, the limitation period under the Tax and Social Security Procedure Code (the “TSSPC”) shall not run, and the absolute limitation period for repayment of public receivables under TSSPC shall not apply.
The payment deadline for electricity supply of household customers is extended from 10 days to 20 days.
Performance of obligations
- Late performance. Until the state of emergency is waived, the effects of late performance of obligations of individuals (including interest and penalties for late payment, as well as non-monetary consequences such as early repayment, contract termination and seizure of property), shall not apply.
- Public sales and entry into possession. All announced public sales and entries into possession shall be suspended. After the state of emergency is waived, they shall be re-scheduled and no new fees and expenses shall be due.
- Injunction over bank accounts and assets. No injunctions over bank accounts of individuals and medical centers, salaries and pensions shall be imposed; no security measures shall be imposed over medical facilities and equipment, over inventory of movable property and real estate owned by individuals, except for liabilities for maintenance, damages caused by delict/tort and claims for remuneration arising from employment relations.
- Enforcement under TSSPC. No enforcement proceedings shall be initiated under the TSSPC unless such initiation is necessary for the protection of important state or public interests or in case the execution of the act may be seriously impeded, or significant damage may result from such delay. After the suspension of such enforcement proceedings, the public bailiff shall not perform any new enforcement actions, however he/she may perform actions to secure the claim, as well as distribution of amounts received under the enforcement case. Until the state emergency is waived, the enforcement may be resumed by an order issued by the public bailiff at the equest of the debtor for the enforcement over: (i) receivables and funds from banks; (ii) receivables of third parties; (iii) treasury values, including the content of safe deposits, whereas after such actions are completed, the enforcement proceedings shall be suspended.