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McGregor & Partners Newsletter – November 2015

In focus in Bulgarian legislation

Bill of the Law for tax on public health

The bill introduces a tax on public health, by taxing four groups of foods, as follows: (1) foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil; (2) certain foods with high salt content; (3) certain foods and drinks containing caffeine or taurine; (4) certain foods and drinks high in sugars and sweeteners.

The tax shall be payable in proportion to the amount of product (in liters or kilograms), placed on the market. This approach achieves a permanent tax based on the quantity of products.

The tax is imposed once at launching on the market of objects of taxation, independently whether the sale is carried out on the end-user or distributor.

The individuals required to declare and pay the tax are the producers, the importers from third countries and the individuals, introducing foods in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria from other Member States of the EU. The tax on public health has the character of an indirect tax, i.e. the taxpayers pay the tax, but the financial burden of the tax is borne by the end user.

In order to avoid double taxation, the bill provides certain cases of exemption from payment of tax and reimbursement of paid tax.

It is envisaged the control on the application of the law to be implemented by the National Revenue Agency and the regional health inspections at the Ministry of Health.

On 21 October 2015 the bill was published for public consultation on the website of the Ministry of Health and the interested parties could submit their proposals within 14 days. The next step is the submission of the bill in the Bulgarian government.

News on European Union Law

On October 6, 2015 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) published its judgment in the case of Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner (C-362/14) ruling that the Safe Harbor data-transfer agreement which lets American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both the US and Europe is invalid.

The Safe Harbor decision allowed companies to self certify to provide “adequate protection” for the data of European users to comply with the European data protection directive, and with fundamental European rights such as the right to privacy (under Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights).

Currently, the main impact of the ECJ’s ruling is: (i) Individual European countries can now set their own regulation for US companies’ handling of citizens’ data, vastly complicating the regulatory environment in Europe. (ii) Countries can choose to suspend the transfer of data to the US — forcing companies to host user data exclusively within the country. (iii) The Irish data regulator will examine whether Facebook offered European users adequate data protections and as a result it could suspend the transfer of personal data of Facebook users to the USA.

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2015/1842 of 9 October 2015 on the technical specifications for the layout, design and shape of the combined health warnings for tobacco products for smoking is published in the EU Official Journal – L267 14.10.2015, which establishes rules on the layout, design and shape of combined health warnings for tobacco products for smoking

COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2015/1848 of 5 October 2015 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States for 2015 is published in the EU Official Journal – L268 15.10.2015. The guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, as set out in the Annex, are hereby adopted. These guidelines shall form part of the Europe 2020 integrated guidelines. The guidelines set out in the Annex shall be taken into account by the Member States in their employment policies and reform programmes, which shall be reported in line with Article 148(3) TFEU.

A request for a preliminary ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court (Bulgaria) lodged on 24 July 2015 is published in the EU Official Journal – C337 12.10.2015. With the questions referred to, the Bulgarian court requests an interpretation by the European Court of Justice whether or not international and EU community provisions contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Directive 2000/78/EC permit legally established in a Member State specific prior protection from dismissal only to persons with disabilities who are employees, to be applied also to civil servants with the same disabilities.