Investment incentives in Bulgaria

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1 Investment incentives in Bulgaria

2 Types of incentives under the current Bulgarian legislation Tax incentives Incentives under the Investment Promotion Act (IPA) Employment incentives (training and job creation) under the Employment Encouragement Act EU Funds in Bulgaria

3 Tax incentives Main acts: Law on corporate income tax levying Law on value added tax (VAT) Law on income tax of physical persons

4 Law on corporate income tax levying Bulgaria applies the lowest corporate income tax rate in EU 10% (along with Cyprus). 0% in areas with high unemployment 35% higher than the country average, when the following conditions are fulfilled: the assets are located entirely within the administrative boundaries of the municipality with high unemployment taxable entity has no liquid tax liabilities and liabilities for obligatory insurance payments tax has been invested in acquiring long-term tangible and intangible assets necessary for the production activity for a period of up to three years after the year for which the cession is used the value of the intangible assets from the initial investment is no more than 25 percent of the value of the longterm material assets from the initial investment

5 Law on Value Added Tax VAT exempt for import of equipment for investment projects implemented within a period of two years: amount of the investment - over 10 million BGN for a period not longer than two years 50 new jobs created ability of the entity to finance the project The approval of those projects is issued by the Ministry of Finance Investment incentives in Bulgaria 10% personal income tax rate (flat rate) as of

6 Other tax incentives Possibility for R&D expenditure write-off Accelerated depreciation of 2 years for computers and new manufacturing equipment 5% withholding tax on dividends and liquidation quotas(0% for EU tax residents) No restrictions concerning capital repatriation

7 Investment Promotion Act (IPA) Equal treatment of Bulgarian and foreign investors The Investment has to be related to the setting up of a new establishment, expansion, output diversification into new additional products or a fundamental change in the overall production process of existing establishments. The investment to be made in the following economic activities: From the industrial sector: manufacturing industry; From the services sector: high-tech activities in the field of ICT, R&D, activities of head offices, education, human health care, warehousing and support activities for transportation Investment Classes Investment classes A and B and Priority investment projects depending on the value, region and sector allocation of the investment

8 IPA Investment value thresholds, Euro m Region or Sector Class B Class A General 5-10 >10 In municipalities with unemployment rate equal or more than the country average >3.5 In high-tech activities in the manufacturing industry for the whole country >3.5 In high-tech activities in the services, computer technologies and R&D sectors for the whole country 1 2 >2

9 Class A and B investment incentives Information services Shortened administrative procedures - The central and local government authorities will provide administrative services shortened with one-third of the time period established by the law Financial support for vocational training of persons for obtaining professional qualifications On the request of certified investor the corresponding authorities may transfer ownership rights or establish a limited ownership right over real estate (private state or private municipal property) without a tender

10 Class A investment incentives Consulting and individual administrative services. Investors will be able to authorize Agency officials to obtain from the corresponding competent bodies on investors behalf and for investors account any documents for implementation of the corresponding investment project as may be required under the existing legislation Financial support for construction of technical infrastructure elements to the borders of the project site, needed for implementation of one or more investment projects.

11 Priority investment projects All sectors of the economy, with the exception of the restrictions imposed by EU Regulation 800/2008 Council of Ministers approval Conditions priority status depending on the value, jobs created and region allocation of the investment

12 Criteria for priority investment project s classification Region or Sector General case (the entire country, all sectors) In industrial zone construction and its development into industrial park Investment Value (Euro m) Jobs In municipalities with unemployment rate equal or more than the country average In high-tech activities in the manufacturing industry for the entire country In construction of a technological park In education, human healthcare, IT and R&D activities, activities of head offices 10 50

13 Incentives for priority investment projects All the incentives for Class A and B Special incentives for priority investment projects: Institutional support; Financial grants of up to 50% for education and R&D projects and up to 10% for manufacturing projects; State tax exemption for changing the land zoning; Acquisition of real estate private state or private municipal property without a tender and at a price lower than the market, but not lower than the tax assessment of the property; Establishment of public-private partnerships with municipalities, universities, other organizations from the academic society and etc.

14 Employment and training incentives Grants by employment agency Up to 1 year minimum salary and reimbursement of social/health care security for employing people through Employment Agency in eligible categories: Unemployed up to 29 years of age without time of service Unemployed up to 29 years with reduced working capacity Young people from social institutions who have completed their education Unemployed with permanently reduced working capacity Unemployed single parents (adoptive parents) or mothers (adoptive mothers) with children up to 3 years of age Unemployed women over 50 years of age and men over 55 years of age

15 Programs and measures for training(1) An employer who provides maintaining and improvement of the qualification of the hired workers and employees can apply for granting of half of the maximum determined size of the sums for training of one person (the maximum sum is defined by the National Operative Employment Plan). Steps of the procedure: 1) The local division of the Employment Agency - Employment bureau announces every month on the information board and in at least two local or regional mass media the encouragement measures, for which contracts can be concluded with employers during the following month 2) The employer submits an application at the local Employment bureau and files a declaration to preserve the employment of the employees for at least 6 months after the successful end of the training

16 Programs and measures for training(2) Steps of the procedure: 3) In 3 days term after the expiry of the term for application the Council for co-operation discuss the submitted applications and propose to the director of Employment bureau list of the employers, with whom contract could be concluded during the respective month 4) List of the approved employers is put on the information board of the Employment bureau 5) The employer has the right to carry out training for acquiring professional qualification appointing a training organization, within the frames of the maximal size of resources for training of one person (defined by the National Operative Employment Plan)

17 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme Competitiveness (1) Operational Program "Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy" Managing Authority - Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism - Competitiveness Directorate Intermediate Body - Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Promotion Agency Eligible applicants for projects under the OP Competitiveness: Legal entities or sole traders registered under the Commercial Law Headquartered in Bulgaria and directly responsible for implementation of project activities

18 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme Competitiveness (2) "Energy efficiency and green economy" For micro, small and medium enterprises Maximum size of grant: mln Eligible activities: Expenses / Activities purchase and putting into operation (delivery, installation and initial testing) of new equipment to reduce energy consumption in the enterprise Expenditure on purchasing and installing systems for heating and ventilation of renewable energy sources (solar systems for hot water heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, boilers, pellets, chips, etc..) Expenses for acquisition and implementation of software systems for energy management, etc. "Development of innovative start by supporting the introduction of innovative products, processes and services For micro, small and medium enterprises Maximum size of grant: Companies have or are in the process of acquiring intellectual property rights on innovative product, process, service Eligible activities: Purchase of new machinery and equipment (incl. computers) related to commercialization of innovative products, processes or services; Acquisition of specialized software; Improving of existing buildings and / or industrial premises by performing construction works.

19 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Human Resources Development (1) Operational Program - Human Resources Development Central Coordination Unit - Ministry of finance Certifying authority - Ministry of finance Audit authority - Ministry of finance (IA Audit of EU funds) Managing authority - Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (International Programmes and Projects General Directorate) Intermediate Bodies National employment agency for priority axis 1 and 2 Ministry of Education, Youth and Science for priority axis 3 and 4 Social assistance agency for priority axis 5 Employers could apply for financing in two ways: - Direct application to the regional Bureau of Labor costs are reimbursed after they are paid by the employer - Project 20-% advanced financing

20 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Human Resources Development (2) Scheme "Qualification and training for employees Way of application: Project Purpose: To provide training services and training for employees in micro, small, medium and large enterprises to increase productivity and create conditions for sustainable employment. Major activities: Providing general or specific training courses or further professional training of employees, including communication in foreign languages, math and IT skills, entrepreneurship. Budget: 17mln. Scheme First job Way of application: Direct application to the Bureau of Labor Purpose: Providing incentives for employers to hire and train up to 29-year-old unemployed people Major activities: Reimbursement of salaries according to the minimum thresholds for the relevant job, insurance and transportation costs of the employee, if he/she has a different residence Maximum financing: Budget: 10mln. Note: Similar scheme is available for hiring socially disadvantaged people, and it also includes reimbursement of training costs and of the trainers remuneration in the amount of ½ of the minimum wage

21 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Human Resources Development (3) Scheme New Job Way of application: Project Purpose: Providing incentives for employers to hire and train up to 29-year-old unemployed people Major activities: Reimbursement of salaries and insurance according to the minimum thresholds for the relevant job and of training costs. Purchase of equipment for the newly created jobs is also an eligible activity, but only if it comprises up to 40% of the cost of the entire project. Maximum financing: Budget: 9 mln. Scheme Development Purpose: Training through vouchers in order to acquire or increase qualification Major activities: Payment of subsidies to the employer for a period of 9 to 12 months and in the amount of 190 per person. The employer is obliged to cover the same amount of labor costs. Budget: 90 mln.

22 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Human Resources Development (4) Scheme Social Innovations in Enterprises Way of application: Project Purpose: Providing social benefits for employees and investing in their qualification aiming at their better adaptation to the conditions of the working place Major activities: Development of training plans and conducting of trainings, providing social benefits, introduction of flexible working hours Maximum financing: with up to 40% cross-financing, just for additional activities Budget: 7 mln. Scheme Commuting Way of application: Project Purpose: To facilitate mobility of workers from their residence to their working place Major activities: Reimbursement of commuting costs of employees paid by the employer for the period of 12 months, provided the former reside in less than 100km radius from the working place Maximum financing: Budget: 10 mln.

23 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Human Resources Development (5) Scheme Safe work Way of application: Project (at least 12 months duration) Purpose: Improving working conditions in enterprises Major activities: analysis of the working conditions and design of the work organization, in its entirety of in parts (obligatory) modernization or securing of objects, technological processes, machines and equipment purchase of protective equipment and clothing development and acquisition of safety standards training employees on safe use of work equipment Maximum financing: Budget: 15 mln. Note: Co-financing in the amount of 20% of the project costs is obligatory for large enterprises, while SMEs receive a 100% grant

24 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Development of Rural Areas (1) Eligible applicants: Promotion of SMEs, agricultural producers and municipalities from rural and non-rural areas All payments under the program are made after contracting and after the 3-year period of the project Measure 121: Modernization of Agricultural Holdings Investments, directed at environmental protection are considered priority Eligible beneficiaries: registered agricultural producers from all municipalities, producers of primary agricultural production Eligible activities: purchase of new equipment, irrigation systems, covering of international standards, creation of new orchards, greenhouses, reconstructions, construction of new livestock farms etc. Maximum financing: 1,5mln. grant per candidate for the entire period

25 EU Funds in Bulgaria Operational Programme - Development of Rural Areas (2) Measure 123: Adding value to agriculture/forestry products Eligible beneficiaries: micro, small and medium-sized enterprises from all municipalities, engaged in processing and marketing of forestry products and/or processing of end products Maximum financing: 4 mln. grant per candidate for the entire period Eligible activities: Support for the purchase of buildings, equipment and machinery for the processing of end products, covering international standards Measures 311 and 312: Diversification into non-agricultural activities Eligible beneficiaries: registered agricultural producers (measure 311) or micro-enterprises (312) Maximum financing: up to Eligible activities: production and sale of renewable energy (solar, wind, water, geothermal energy etc) except bio-fuel production; production and sale of bio-energy investments in tourism accommodation and amenities of agricultural producers and micro-enterprises

26 IBA services Macroeconomic data on Bulgaria Comparative macroeconomic information Legal advice Data on operational costs Regional information related to unemployment data, availability of skilled labor force, education level, infrastructure, foreign investors, industrial zones, free premises Identification of potential suppliers, contract manufacturing or joint venture partners Creating linkages with local universities / school communities Creating linkages with central and local governments InvestBulgaria Agency 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria, 31, Aksakov Str. Tel: (+359 2) Fax: (+359 2) Web:

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