Avoidance of international double taxation
Each country can, by virtue of its sovereignty, determine the spatial effect of its tax laws, so as not to limit them solely within the territory of the country that adopts these laws. On the one hand, the principle of taxing worldwide income applies (i.e. the universal principle), covering all income taxation for persons who are local, regardless of where it is received. On the other hand - the territorial principle, taxed is only the income from a source in the respective state or property situated therein. For this reason, often for a natural person or legal entity similar tax liability arises in connection with the same object of taxation for the same period but in different countries. This is the so-called double taxation which can be overcome in two ways:
- provisions of national law or international agreements (i.e. agreements for the avoidance of double taxation - AADT);
- ITNPA and CITA contain provisions for the avoidance of double taxation in the absence of AADT with the respective state. These include Art. 13 and Art. 14 CITA and Art. 76 and Art. 6 ITNPA.
Method of tax credit under CITA
When the provisions of the international agreement do not apply, taxable persons are entitled to a tax credit under CITA for each tax such as the corporate or the tax levied in lieu of the same, paid abroad, as well as the tax levied abroad on the gross income from dividends, interest, royalties, fees for technical services and rentals, originating from foreign sources. Sources of income entitled to a tax credit are: all taxes on dividends, interest, royalties, fees for technical services and rent paid from sources abroad.
The amount of tax credit is determined separately for each country and is limited to the Bulgarian tax on those profits and incomes. Using the method of tax credit, the income from abroad is collected with the income from Bulgaria. The sum, which forms the basis of taxation, is used to calculate the amount of tax under Bulgarian legislation and then it is deducted by the tax paid abroad. The state, where a local entity is subject to taxation, deducts the taxes paid abroad, but the tax deduction cannot be larger than the amount of the Bulgarian tax which would be chargeable on such income if such income was taxed as a source within the country.
Taxable persons, enjoying tax credit under CITA or AADT, need to provide a certificate of the tax which they deposited abroad, issued by the competent authorities of the country concerned.
When AADT or any other international agreement that has entered into force, ratified by Bulgaria, published in the "State Gazette", contains provisions different from the provisions of CITA, the provisions of relevant international agreement take precedence.
Method of tax credit under ITNPA
In terms of natural persons under ITNPA, it is possible to avoid double taxation of savings income paid to a local person by a person carrying out business activity within the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Austria and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. According to § 1, item 49 "savings income" denotes the following:
- income originating from any type of receivables for a debt, regardless of whether the debt is secured by way of a mortgage or by way of a clause providing for participation in the debtor's profit, including the interest on bank deposits, the interest on and the discount from bonds and debentures, etc.;
- income originating from sale, reimbursement or reverse buyout of stocks and shares in the entities referred to in item 49 under the conditions provided by law.
According to Art. 78 ITNPA, tax withheld in the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Austria and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on savings income is deducted from the tax payable on the total annual basis of taxation of the person determined in the annual tax return.
Methods for avoidance of double taxation provided for in AADT
The second method of avoiding double taxation is the conclusion of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation - AADTs. These are international agreements within the meaning of Art. 5 (4) of the CRB, whereby the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties also apply. In terms of content, these agreements follow two models - Model Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Model United Nations. The difference between the two models is mainly in the content of the so-called distributive provisions, such that the UN model often provides the right of taxation in the source State.
In general, taxation powers are conferred on the country where the recipient of the income is resident. For the State source of income remain several options: to also tax this income, to provide for a reduced tax rate compared with that under domestic law. The last hypothesis is to exempt or exclude the income from taxation.
The first two scenarios lead to double taxation, and the state, where the recipient is resident, will apply the appropriate method of avoidance in their national legislation. In view of the foregoing, whether the income will be taxed in both or only one of the countries, different means of expression are used. When said that the income may be taxed in one of the countries, it does not preclude taxation in other countries. When taxation is granted to one country only, it shall be expressly stated.
Verification of grounds for application of the AADT
After incurring a liability on income from a source within the country, if the person wants to implement the AADT, they must submit a request in a standard form. Written evidence also needs to be enclosed, concerning the nature, grounds for realization and amount of income concerned. The request and the documents attached thereto shall be submitted at the territorial directorate where the payer of the income is registered or the directorate where he must have been registered, and where the payer is not subject to registration - Territorial Directorate - Sofia.
In order to invoke the procedure, the person should:
- be a local entity of the other State within the meaning of the AADT;
- be the owner of the income from a source within the Republic of Bulgaria;
- not have a permanent business establishment or a permanent base in the Republic of Bulgaria with which the income in question is actually related;
- the special provisions for the implementation of the AADT need to apply.
If changes occur in these circumstances, the foreign person shall notify the territorial directorate of any change of circumstances within 30 days of its occurrence.
Actions of revenue authorities
Revenue authorities exercise control over the implementation of AADT by carrying out an inspection or audit. The deadline for delivering an opinion by the revenue authorities of the presence or lack of grounds for AADT application is 60 days from the submission of the request. Failing to do so within 60 days is considered an opinion for the existence of grounds for AADT application.
Opinion for lack of grounds for AADT application is subject to appeal, together with the audit act or the act of offsetting or return. The latter may be appealed by the recipient of the income or by the payer. The appeal follows the appellate procedure for audit acts, such that the complaint is filed with the territorial directorate where the request has been made.
Special cases which do not seek permission from the NRA
The amount of the accrued income by a foreign entity from a domestic source, for which no authorization needs to be sought, nor a request - submitted, is BGN 500 000 per year. The payer of the income of foreign natural persons or legal entities, who is required to withhold and pay final tax under ITNPA or CITA, needs to declare the amount of income paid and the tax reliefs provided by 31 March of the following year. The declaration is made by filing a tax return in a standard form approved by the Executive Director of the NRA.
Bulgaria has concluded 70 AADT with the following countries:
- Japan - 20.09.2004
- The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -17.12.2005
- The Kingdom of Sweden - 17.12.2005
- Swiss Confederation - 17.12.2005
- Czech Republic - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Croatia - 17.12.2005
- The Netherlands - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of France - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Finland - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Hungary - 17.12.2005
- Ukraine - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Turkey - 17.12.2005
- The Kingdom of Thailand - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Slovakia - 17.12.2005
- The Republic of Slovenia - 17.10.2005
- The Syrian Arab Republic - 17.02.2005
- The Republic of Singapore - 14.02.2005
- Romania - 14.02.2005
- Russian Federation - 14.02.2005
- Portugal - 14.02.2005
- The Republic of Poland - 20.02.2005
- The Kingdom of Norway - 20.02.2005
- Mongolia - 20.02.2005
- The Republic of Moldova - 18.02.2005
- The Kingdom of Morocco - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Malta - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Macedonia - 22.02.2005
- The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Lebanon - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Korea - 22.02.2005
- Kuwait - 22.02.2005
- Democratic People's Republic of Korea - 22.02.2005
- The People's Republic of China - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Cyprus - 22.02.2005
- Canada - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Kazakhstan - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Italy - 22.02.2005
- The Kingdom of Spain - 22.02.2005
- Ireland - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Indonesia - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of India - 22.02.2005
- Israel - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Zimbabwe - 22.02.2005
- The Arab Republic of Egypt - 22.02.2005
- The Kingdom of Denmark - 22.02.2005
- Greece - 22.02.2005
- Georgia - 22.02.2005
- The Federal Republic of Germany - 26.01.2011
- The Socialist Republic of Vietnam - 22.02.2005
- The United Kingdom - 22.02.2005
- The Kingdom of Belgium - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Belarus - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Armenia - 26.01.2011
- The Republic of Albania - 22.02.2005
- The Republic of Austria - 19.01.2012
- The Republic of Uzbekistan - 10.08.2007
- South Africa - 10.08.2007
- The Republic of Lithuania - 10.08.2007
- The Republic of Latvia - 10.08.2007
- The Islamic Republic of Iran - 10.08.2007
- People's Democratic Republic of Algeria - 10.08.2007
- The United Arab Emirates - 31.03.2009
- The United States of America - 31.03.2009
- The Republic of Azerbaydzhan - 31.03.2009
- The Republic of Estonia - 31.03.2009
- Jordan - 31.03.2009
- Qatar - 26.01.2011
- The Kingdom of Bahrain - 26.01.2011