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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-01-12 08:35:06
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Government declares war on fuel smugglers

Bulgaria’s government has declared a war on fuel smuggling rings across the country.  “All gasoline pumps in Bulgaria will be protected by special electronic chips, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said.

In his words, the chips will record the exact amount of fuels sold monthly by each gas station in Bulgaria and help customs officers and tax inspectors track down the fuels’ origin. To be enforced the new measure necessitates amendments to the VAT Act and the Excise Duties Act, which will be passed by the Parliamentary Budget Committee on Thursday.  “After that the gas stations’ owners will be given two or three months to equip their pumps with smart chips,” Minister Djankov said.

Djankov also said that previous Bulgarian governments had been funded with money raised through fuel smuggling, but this would not be possible from now on.  The National Revenue Agency and Customs Agency will team up to track down every litter of fuel imported in Bulgaria from the customs storehouses to the tank of the final consumer.

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Bulgaria not ready yet for Schengen membership: security expert


Bulgaria is still far from fully prepared to join Schengen area due to shortfalls in four major areas, a former senior official said Tuesday. "Bulgaria is not near to stable and normal readiness for all major Schengen criteria," Tsvetko Tsvetkov, a former deputy interior minister and security expert told Xinhua in an interview. The most optimistic outlook is that Bulgaria will become part of the visa-free zone created by the Schengen Agreement at the end of 2011, he said, while adding that his own prediction is no accession before 2012.

Bulgaria, said Tsvetkov, is lagging behind in four key areas, namely understanding of the Schengen policy, security, institution-building and technical readiness. Arguing that the current government has not understood yet what the Schengen policy means, Tsvetkov said that Sofia is not politically ready to rationalize its role and place in the Schengen framework.

Meanwhile, rampant organized crime and smuggling, together with a relatively deficient legal framework, also mean that Bulgaria still falls short of the Schengen requirements on security and institutions, he added. On technical preparedness, he said that Bulgaria still needs to do more to meet the related criteria and expressed the hope that the country’s performance will pass the appraisal by EU experts by March. The Schengen area currently comprises more than two dozen European countries. It has border controls for travellers entering and leaving the zone, but has no such measures within the area.

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Changes in Bulgarian tax laws


The general change in the property tax is that the maximum tax has been increased to 4.5% of the tax evaluation of the property. Even though there is an increase the municipalities will be the ones determining the exact amount of the tax.

There is no change in the property tax for purchasing real estate. It is also determined by each municipality and is in the range 0.1%- 3% from the price of the property.

A new "luxury" tax has been proposed, which means that properties with tax valuation higher than the average for the municipality will be imposed higher taxes. This "luxury" tax will even be applied on expensive cars, too.

Another change is that enterprises will have to pay property tax on an amount greater than their tax valuation.


      
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