Buying materials and furniture in Bulgaria

Building Materials and Electrical Appliances

Bulgaria is now well served by shops selling building materials and electrical appliances. A number of foreign hardware superstores such as Mr Bricolage (French-owned) and Praktiker (German-owned) have appeared on the fringes of the larger cities in competition with smaller pre-existing shops and yards (many of which remain hidden to foreigners). These carry a comprehensive selection of DIY tools, tiles, light fittings, garden equipment and so on. Technopolis and Technomarket provide a full range of electrical appliances.

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Shopping in Bulgaria

Shopping in Bulgaria, while not as developed as in other areas of Europe, is improving rapidly. During the Communist era, long queues were common and the selection of products limited. People used to carry plastic bags, not necessarily with the intention of buying anything, but so that they would not be caught short if a mushroom delivery was made unexpectedly. After the collapse of Communism, the situation gradually improved, but it is only in the few years that shopping has really begun to resemble that of western Europe, with people having a wider choice, including international brands, and increased disposable income. These changes are confined to the larger urban areas, however, with the villages still operating very much out of the local store and/or using their own produce.

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The Bulgarian Language

Bulgarian may appear a difficult language at first – particularly because of the Cyrillic alphabet – but once you manage the basics it is really quite straightforward. It follows strict rules of grammar and the vocabulary is much smaller than in English. Consider at least learning a handful of phrases and the alphabet before you arrive in Bulgaria, as this will help with simple questions, reading and pronouncing the words on signs. For example, the letter ‘B’ translates to the Latin letter ‘V’, ‘P’ to ‘R’, and ‘H’ to ‘N’, so Варна = Varna.

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Taking Your Pet to Bulgaria

Pets may only be brought into Bulgaria if you adhere to strict regulations. Each animal will need a Pet Passport and all the compulsory vaccinations. Check the exact details; importing common pets such as cats and dogs is fairly straightforward; importing more exotic pets such as parrots requires a more rigorous application procedure. Consider whether the animal is sufficiently robust to survive the journey, and ensure that all vaccinations are administered in time to ensure effectiveness before travel. Your best source of information is the DEFRA website , or contact your local vet.

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Before You Go to Bulgaria

Removal Companies

The logistics of relocating are often secondary in the minds of people who have found their dream home in Bulgaria and are eager to embark on their new life abroad. Careful planning, well in advance, will help to avoid setbacks.

The removal of anything more than a carload of personal effects is best left to professionals. Finding removal companies should be easy enough, but selecting one that will provide a satisfactory international service needs a little more research. In this instance a recommendation from a reliable source is valuable. If you don’t have one, there are a few useful guidelines to consider. Using small local operators who quote lower prices than the more established larger operators might prove a false economy. It is essential that the removals company you use has experience of delivering to Bulgaria specifically, since each country has its own procedural peculiarities at border crossings. Larger companies are more likely to have experience in dealing with these issues. Preferably choose a company that has offices both in Bulgaria and the UK so you have a contact at hand wherever you are. Ideally they should provide door-to-door delivery.

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Keeping Track of Your Bulgarian Property Investments

Whatever you decide to do about investments – put them in a trust, appoint investment managers to manage them in your own name or manage them yourself-you should always keep an up-to-date list of your investments and assets and tell your family where to find it. Make a file. By all means have a computer […]

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Investments in Bulgaria

The Need to do Something

Most of us don’t like making investment decisions.They make our heads hurt. They make us face up to unpleasant things – like taxes and death. We don’t really understand what we are doing, what the options are and what is best. We don’t know who we should trust to give us advice. We know we ought to do something, but it will wait until next week-or maybe the week after. Until then our present arrangements will have to do. If you are moving to live overseas you must review your investments. Your current arrangements are likely to be financially disastrous – and may even be illegal.

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The Double Taxation Treaty between Bulgaria and the UK

Just to reiterate: it is possible to be tax resident in more than one country at the same time. In this case you could end up liable to pay the same tax in both countries. Also, a particular item of income could, under each country’s different rules, be taxable in both the country in which it is sourced and also in the country in which the recipient of that income is resident.

For these reasons, many countries have concluded agreements called double taxation agreements with other countries to protect individuals from being required to pay tax twice. Bulgaria and the UK have such an agreement.

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Employment Income in Bulgaria

For an employee it is your employer’s responsibility to deduct and pay your income tax to the government each month (similar to the PAYE scheme in the UK).They are also responsible for paying the Bulgarian equivalent of your social security and National Insurance contributions.

Income tax is calculated according to what rate-band your income falls into, and then is subject to a percentage tax plus a fixed figure tax. Examples of the tax rates and fixed rate taxes for income tax payable on employment income in 2007 are shown in the tables below:

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Other Taxes in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria the issue of taxation is made more complicated by the fact that many foreign owners of property can own it either as individuals or through a company. This means that it is necessary to examine the tax implications for both cases. The matter is further complicated if buying as an individual, because your tax base will be dependent on your tax residence. Therefore below we have divided the discussion concerning tax into three sections:

• Other taxes payable in Bulgaria by non-resident individuals.
• Other taxes payable in Bulgaria by resident individuals.
• Other taxes payable by companies.

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