Inheritance tax in Bulgaria is levied on the estate of any decedent Bulgarian citizen located within Bulgaria or abroad when devolved by legal or testamentary succession, as well as on the estate located within Bulgaria where so devolved by any decedent foreign citizen.
The surviving spouse and the lineal heirs without restraint (parents, children, grandchildren) do not pay an Inheritance tax in Bulgaria.
Any other legal or testamentary heir pays an Inheritance tax.
A decedent’s estate incorporates:
- movable property;
- real estates;
- the rights to movable and immovable property;
- other property rights, receivables, bank deposits, company shares and liabilities.
The decedent’s estate is identified and valued in BGN lev terms at the date of the opening of the succession (the date of decedent’s death), as follows:
- real estates – at the assessed value;
- foreign currency and precious metals – at the central exchange rate of the Bulgarian National Bank;
- securities – at fair market value or, where the fair market value cannot be established without considerable cost or difficulty, at face value;
- transport vehicles – at the insured value;
- any other movable property and rights – at fair market value;
- enterprises or company shares – at fair market value or, where determination of the said value requires considerable expense or causes difficulties, according to accounting data;
- real estates located abroad – at a tax value stated in a document issued for taxation purposes by a competent authority of the respective State. The document shall be translated into Bulgarian language by a sworn translator.
The liabilities of the ancestor shall likewise be valued according to the abovementioned rules.
The assets of the taxable estate as determined according to the procedure above shall be debited with the following items:
- liabilities of the ancestor at the time of opening of the succession, established in terms of legal grounds and amount, unless property exempt from inheritance tax is acquired against such liabilities. Any payables to creditors, whereof the claims to the ancestors are extinguished by prescription and are unrealized within the six-month time limit after the opening of a succession shall not be set off;
- the rights and receivables transferred by the heirs in favour of the State or the municipalities within the six month time limit after the opening of a succession;
- funeral expenses up to the amount of BGN 1,000;
- any reliefs provided for by the law.
The taxable estate is dividing into portions for each heir individually.
The following decedent’s estates are exempt from Inheritance tax in Bulgaria:
- the estate of those who died in industrial accidents or natural disasters;
- estate settled on the State and the municipalities;
- estate settled on the Bulgarian Red Cross and other non-profit organizations, with the exception of the non-profit organizations designated for pursuit of private-benefit activities;
- any ordinary household furnishings;
- any small farm implements;
- libraries and musical instruments;
- any works of art whereof the author is the ancestor, any of the heirs or a lineal relative thereof up to any degree of consanguinity, or a collateral relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity;
- the ancestor’s pensions payable;
- the estates of Bulgarian citizens located abroad, in respect of which inheritance tax has been paid in the respective State.
The exemptions apply only to lineal heirs, spouses and siblings.
Each Municipal Council determines the amount of the Inheritance tax in Bulgaria.
The tax rates are, as follows:
- siblings and the children of siblings – from 0.4 to 0.8 % per portion in excess of BGN 250,000;
- any other heirs – from 3.3 to 6.6 % per portion in excess of BGN 250,000.
Inheritance tax return
Within six months after the date of death of the deceased, any taxable person have to submit a declaration to the municipality exercising competence over the last residence of the ancestor. Any inheritance tax return submitted in due course by one heir benefits the other heirs as well. In the declaration, the heirs state the decedent’s estate as inherited by type, location and value.
The surviving spouse and the lineal heirs without restraint (parents, children, grandchildren) do not submit an inheritance tax return.
Any heir, who fails to submit an inheritance tax return in due time, or who fails to declare or misdeclares any property acquired by succession, pays fine from BGN 10 to BGN 500.
Terms of tax payment
Inheritance tax in Bulgaria is payable within two months after receiving a notice from the municipality.
In case where the decedent’s estate includes the enterprise of a sole trader and company shares, representing more than 50 % of the capital of the company, the tax is payable within one year after the opening of the succession together with the legal interest.
Bank deposits shall be paid to the heirs upon presentation of a certificate issued by the municipality, certifying that the said sums have been declared in the inheritance tax return and the tax has been paid. If the tax is not paid, the said tax shall be withheld and credited to the account of the competent municipality within one month after presentation of a document on the amount of the tax due, and the heirs shall be paid sums up to the amount of the balance on the account of ancestor. The same rules apply to payment of indemnities on a contract for life insurance, concluded by the ancestor in favour of third-party beneficiaries.
The transfer of any registered shares and other securities owned by the decedent shall be executed proceeding from a certificate issued by the municipality, certifying that the said securities have been declared in the inheritance tax return and the inheritance tax due has been paid.