Albena, Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a politically stable country, and the introduction of a currency board in 1997 stabilised the country's economy. However, as is the case elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, legislation, including that governing real estate, is volatile and subject to frequent change.

A foreign investor can invest in properties in Bulgaria either directly or through a local entity. Only Bulgarian-resident individuals and entities can acquire title to land, while non-residents may acquire only buildings and limited rights (e.g., leasehold and construction rights) to land. In some limited cases, acquisition of immovable property by non-residents requires prior permission of the Ministry of Finance.
Foreign investors are guaranteed full repatriation of profits resulting from an investment in Bulgaria. The transfer abroad can be made only after the bank effecting the transfer is presented a certificate proving payment of all Bulgarian taxes due.

Bulgaria has one of the most liberal foreign investment laws in the region. Foreign investment typically assumes one of the following forms: establishing a joint venture with existing companies, state-owned or private; acquiring a company through privatization; setting up a new (green field) venture; or making a portfolio investment. Portfolio investment has been minimal given the relative lack of development and inefficiencies of the capital markets.

The most common type of organization for foreign investors is a limited liability company. Other forms are companies limited by shares (joint stock companies), joint enterprises, business associations, general partnerships, limited partnerships, and sole proprietorships.

The law does not limit the extent or amount of foreign participation in companies. Foreign companies have the right to open deposit accounts in hard currency and Bulgarian leva.

Property Taxes:
Transfer taxes
The transfer is subject to notary and municipal fees. The notary fees are paid on the higher of the market price or the book value of the property at varying rates, specified in a special chart. In addition, 2% of the market value of the property is paid to the municipality where the real property is located.
Value Added Tax
Transactions with land and lease of property for residential purposes are exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT). All other real estate transactions are subject to VAT at the uniform rate of 20%. The buyer/lessee is entitled to a VAT refund, provided that it is registered for VAT purposes.