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McGregor & Partners Newsletter – January 2016

In focus in Bulgarian legislation

Law on supplement of the Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria (SG 100 as of 16.12.2015)

The adopted constitutional amendments are characterized by a division of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) into two panels – judges’ and prosecutors’ panel. The Judges’ panel of the SJC consists of 14 members and includes the chairmen of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court, six members directly elected by the judges and six members elected by the National Assembly. The Prosecutors’ panel of the SJC consists of 11 members and includes the Attorney General, four members directly elected by the prosecutors, one member directly elected by the investigators, and five members elected by the National Assembly.

The adopted changes affect also the powers of the Inspectorate to the SJC, which is authorized to carry out examinations on the integrity and conflict of interest for judges, prosecutors and investigators, their financial statements and to establish actions that prejudice the prestige of the judiciary, and such, related to violation of the independence of the judges, prosecutors and investigators.

Last but not least, it should be noted that under the constitutional amendments, the Constitutional Court can now be referred by the Supreme Bar Council, in cases where a law infringes human rights and freedoms of the citizens.

Law on supplement of the Tax-Insurance Procedure Code (SG 94 as of 4.12.2015)

The changes provide in addition to the managers and the members of the managing bodies, liable as third parties for uncollected debts for taxes and obligatory insurance contributions, to be also procurators, sales representatives and commercial agents under certain conditions.

There is entered a deadline for conducting a tax audit, which will be no longer than six months from the date of the first procedural step. If the six-month period proves insufficient, it can be extended by another six months. For the results of the inspection a protocol will be drawn, which will be provided to the person within 7 days of its completion.

The handling of the invitation for voluntary execution of public duties drops. The public bailiff will start execution when the obligation is not paid on time – till now he/she used to take action after the expiry of the 7-day deadline for voluntary execution.

An opportunity for the public bailiffs to impose electronic distraint over debtor’s claims in a bank account is created. The changes concern also the imposition of distraint over a share of a commercial company as a garnishment notice will now be sent to the Registry Agency, which will notify the company – before the message is sent to the company.

These changes are effective as of 01.01.2016.

Law on supplement of the Law on Corporate Income Tax (SG 95 as of 8.12.2015)

News on European Union Law

Decision of the Court (Second Chamber) of 22 October 2015 at request for a preliminary ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court — Bulgaria has been published in the EU Official Journal С 414, 14.12.2015.

According to the operative part of the decision: Directive 97/67/EC, as amended by Directive 2008/6/EC, must be interpreted as meaning that a money order service by which the sender, in this case the State, transfers sums of money to a beneficiary through the postal operator entrusted with providing the universal postal service does not fall within the scope of that directive. Article 107(1) TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that, if the activity of money order operations enabling the payment of retirement pensions constitutes an economic activity, the grant by a Member State of an exclusive right to pay retirement pensions by money order to an undertaking, in so far as that service constitutes a service of general economic interest, the remuneration for which represents compensation for the services carried out by that undertaking to discharge its public service obligation.

A Notification of the Republic of Bulgaria pursuant to Article 10(2) of the Electricity Directive and a Notification pursuant to Article 10(2) of the Gas Directive have been published in the EU Official Journal – С 428, 19.12.2015, according to which Bulgaria has notified to the Commission the official approval and designation of Electricity System Operator EAD as a Transmission System Operator operating in the Republic of Bulgaria and Bulgartransgaz EAD as a Transmission System Operator operating in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Notification for preparation of new renewable energy directive (REDII) for the period 2020 – 2030 was published on the page of the European Commission (EC), in relation to which the EC invite the stakeholders and citizens to participate in a survey and to submit their contributions by 10 February 2016. The objective of the survey is to consult the stakeholders and the citizens on the new directive. In separate public consultations will be covered and elaborated documents related to the bioenergy sustainability policy, and energy efficiency.