Bulgaria’s finance minister, Kalin Hristov, has announced that the amount of outstanding VAT due to be refunded to companies is at the lowest level since 2008, and he confirmed that there was no policy to delay refunds.
Hsristov’s comments, made during a radio interview, echo an assurance given in January by his predecessor, Simeon Djankov, that businesses can expect refunds within 30 days, and that delays are permissible only when tax inspections discover violations.
Further, since the beginning of March 2013, companies that operate “gold standard” tax payment procedures have been eligible for refunds within 10 days, as well as for preferential customer service and to have audits and checks take place on its premises.
In order to qualify, a business must achieve a range of criteria: it must be solvent, have no history of penalties or risky behaviour, and it must have submitted four or more requests for VAT refunds amounting to at least BGN1.2m for each year in the last three years.
It must also communicate with the National Revenue Agency (NRA) primarily electronically.
Djankov described prompt VAT refunds as “one of the NRA’s successes in the past two years.” This is in sharp contrast to the situation in 2009, when the Government delayed payment in order to prop up the budget. The action contributed to a sharp fall in GDP.