Business registers in Member States - Bulgaria
This section provides an overview of Bulgaria's business registers and the Bulstat register. Bulgaria guarantees that these registers comply with the principles of publicity, transparency and security of information.
What does the Bulgarian business register provide?
The Bulgarian business register is administered by the Registry Agency attached to the Ministry of Justice. Traders and branches of foreign traders are entered in the register, along with the particulars on them that are required by law to be entered. The business register makes public the decisions and documents relating to traders and foreign traders' branches that are required by law to be kept available for public inspection.
The business register is an electronic database containing the particulars that are required by law to be registered and the documents that are required by law to be kept available for public inspection relating to traders and foreign traders' branches. Files on traders and foreign traders' branches are kept in electronic form. The files contain applications, documents substantiating the particulars registered, statements and other documents, which may also contain personal data identifying individuals representing or managing the entity concerned.
Is access to the Bulgarian business register free of charge?
The business register is in the public domain. Access to the business register database is open to everyone free of charge. In accordance with an amendment to the Business Register Act (ZTR) dated 1 January 2013, access to the files on traders entered in the business register must be recorded. This means that the scanned documents stored in the 'file' on a particular trader are accessed on the basis of either an electronic signature or a certificate issued by the Agency. The certificate is issued by the Agency free of charge.
How to search the Bulgarian business register.
The business register is accessible 24 hours a day at http://www.brra.bg/Default.ra.
Anyone may search the business register for a given particular or declaration.
On the business register portal, searches can be conducted using the following criteria:
- name or Unique Identification Code (UIC) of trader or foreign trader's branch;
- names or ID number, or business name or UIC of partner or sole owner of capital;
- names or ID number, or business name or UIC of member of bodies of legal entity – trader;
- the file of a trader, branch of a foreign trader and its officers and legal successors may be searched by any registered particular or declaration.
A pay service is also available enabling users to search the entire database according to their own specific criteria. The subscription for this service is BGN 30 000 per year (as per schedule of State fees collected by the Registration Agency); for public authorities full database access is free of charge.
Certificates can be issued both over the counter at the Registration Agency and electronically (fees are collected in accordance with the above schedule).
Copies of documents kept in the register may be issued, either over the counter or electronically (fees are collected in accordance with the above schedule).
To what extent can the documents in the register be relied upon?
Bulgaria has adopted the principles set out in relevant EU legislation governing the validity of entry or deletion of particulars and publication of documents relating to traders. The specific arrangements at national level are laid down in the Business Register Act.
Under that Act, a particular entered in the register is deemed, as from time of entry, to have become known to third parties acting in good faith. Until 15 days have expired after an entry has been made, it may not be relied on against third parties who prove that it was impossible for them to have been aware of it. Third parties may cite a particular that is to be registered even though the entry has not yet been made, unless the law specifically provides that it becomes effective only after entry. Once deleted, an entry is ineffective. Documents in the register are deemed to have become known to third parties from the date they are posted.
Third parties acting in good faith may cite an entry or posting, even if the particular entered or the act or document posted does not exist. In relation to third parties acting in good faith, particulars not entered in the register are deemed to be non-existent.
History of the Bulgarian business register
A reform of the register began on 1 January 2008 when the Business Register Act entered into force. As a result:
- Responsibility for keeping the business records concerned passed from the courts to a central government administrative body: the Registry Agency.
- All provincial court registers were consolidated in a single, centralised electronic database containing the particulars required to be registered and documents required to be kept available for public inspection, as well as all documents submitted, decisions not to register, and company files. As a result, all traders had to re-register by 31 December 2011.
- The principle of publicity of information is of fundamental importance in the registration procedure. The Registry Agency is required by law to ensure open access free of charge to the applications and attached documents contained in the business register's computer system.
- The registration procedure is carried out using various kinds of application forms. The type of application depends on the type of trader or particulars at the time of registration.
How to submit applications to the business register
Applications may be submitted either over the counter at any Registry Agency office or electronically via the Agency's portal http://www.brra.bg/Default.ra.
Hard-copy applications may be lodged at any local office of the Registry Agency, irrespective of where the trader is based. Once accepted by the Agency's offices, hard-copy applications are scanned and stored as attachments in the business register's computer system. Documents attached as annexes to applications must be originals or copies certified by the applicant or by a notary public.
Electronic applications may be submitted at any time via the business register portal.
How are submitted applications reviewed?
Each item received for entry in the business register computer system (application, court decision, request for correction of an error, request for appointment of experts, verifiers, controllers, etc.) is given a unique reference number in the format 'yyyymmddhhmmss” (year, month, day, hour, minute, second). Once an application, court decision or request has received its unique reference number, it is then randomly allocated by the computer system to a registration official for examination. Applications for entry or deletion or for the posting of documents under Article 14 are automatically allocated, in order of receipt, as soon as a registration official has electronically signed off the previously allocated application and is accordingly recognised by the computer system as being available.
Following amendments to the Business Register Act providing for a ruling to be issued within the deadline laid down in Article 19(2), the computer system has a function enabling applications to be examined in the order referred to above by the end of the three-day time limit. The various outcomes may be as follows:
- instructions electronically signed by the registration official on completion of examination and posted immediately in the trader's account - to be implemented within the time limit provided for in Article 19(2) ZTR;
- a refusal, electronically signed by the registration official on completion of examination and posted immediately in the trader's account;
- a registration order, electronically signed by the registration official upon completion of examination, which up to expiry of the time limit provided for in Article 19(2) ZTR is displayed in the trader's account as having the status ‘awaiting three-day time limit'. After expiry of the statutory period, the computer system automatically makes the entry and generates the entry number in the format specified above. The year, month and day are those of automatic publication by the computer system, while the hour, minute and second record the time at which registration was ordered by the registration official the previous day.
What does the BULSTAT register provide?
The BULSTAT register contains information on:
- legal persons who are not traders;
- branches of foreign entities which are not traders;
- agencies of foreign entities under Article 24 of the Investment Promotion Act;
- foreign legal persons engaged in business activity in Bulgaria and having a permanent establishment there;
- foreign legal persons whose effective place of management is in Bulgaria;
- foreign legal persons owning real estate in Bulgaria;
- organisational units under the Obligations and Contracts Act, including craft undertakings and insurance associations under Article 8 of the Social Security Code;
- entities which are social insurance contributors and are not natural persons;
- branches and divisions of entities under points 1 and 8 and divisions of traders entered in the business register;
- natural persons exercising a liberal profession or working as tradespersons;
- foreign citizens who do not have a Bulgarian personal identity number or a foreign resident identity number and who:
- provide independent personal services in Bulgaria, including through a permanent establishment, base or facility;
- acquire real estate;
- are social insurance contributors;
- other natural persons — social insurance contributors;
- foreign persons/entities subject to special registration under tax law, including where exempt from tax under an international agreement which has entered into force and to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party;
Is access to the BULSTAT register free of charge?
The BULSTAT register is not free of charge. To access the data, you must be registered and pay a fee. The minimum fee is BGN 10.
History of the BULSTAT register
In accordance with a decision of the National Assembly of 8 June 1995, the task of setting up, maintaining and developing the BULSTAT register was assigned to the National Statistical Institute (NSI). The unified State register of business entities, 'BULSTAT', became operational in the Republic of Bulgaria on 1 January 1996. On 17 June that year, the National Assembly adopted the Statistics Act. This Act stipulated the method for the setting-up, functioning and use of the BULSTAT unified register for the identification of operators engaged in business activities on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. The BULSTAT register developed into one of the country's main administrative registers, and in 2000 its data were made available via the register's website:.
On 11 August 2005, management of the BULSTAT register was transferred to the Registration Agency. As from 1 August 2008, under the Business Register Act then in force, traders and branches of foreign traders entered in the business and cooperatives registers at the provincial courts were obliged to re-register at the Registry Agency by 31 December 2011.
How to submit applications to the BULSTAT register
Depending on their status, entities wishing to register with BULSTAT must provide:
1. a copy of a decision or other document as follows:
(a) legal persons: founding document and document specifying the natural person(s) managing and/or representing the entity;
(b) agencies of foreign entities under Article 24 of the Investment Promotion Act: document certifying registration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI);
(c) foreign legal persons: a document attesting to the conduct of business activities in Bulgaria; a legalised document attesting to the origin of foreign legal persons in the country concerned;
(d) organisational units without legal personality under the Obligations and Contracts Act and insurance funds under Article 8 of the Social Security Code: company contract and certificate of registration with the National Revenue Agency;
(e) branches and divisions: document certifying their establishment and specifying the person(s) managing and/or representing them;
(f) entities other than those referred to under (a) to (e) that are social insurance contributors: documents proving identity and/or that a specific activity is being carried out, where required by law.
2. application on standard form approved by the Executive Director of the Registry Agency;
3. identification cards, when registering closure/deletion or a change of circumstances;
4. a document proving payment of a State fee under the schedule approved by the Council of Ministers;
5. a registration questionnaire and/or registration check regarding entities entered in the special register.
Once the documents have been submitted, the entry is made without delay.
The online check comprises the following information:
- Unique identification number
- Entity name
- Document on establishment/change/winding-up
- Registered office/administrative address
- Telecommunications details
- Managerial/representative staff
- Collective management body
- Composition of collective management body: representing/represented by
- Object of business activity
- Ownership breakdown
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Last update: 30/08/2016