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Bulgaria – Self-Employment

Bulgaria is an attractive destination for expats looking to start a business or become self-employed. The country has a stable economy, low living costs, and a supportive business environment. In this article, we will explore how self-employment works for expats in Bulgaria, how to register as self-employed, how to start a company, and incentives and programs available to encourage self-employment and business start ups in Bulgaria.

Self-Employment for Expats in Bulgaria

Expats in Bulgaria can become self-employed and work as freelancers, consultants, or sole traders. To become self-employed, you must register with the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA). This can be done online, in person at a regional office, or through a licensed accountant.

To register as self-employed, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A Bulgarian address
  • A tax identification number (TIN)
  • Proof of social security contributions

Once you have registered as self-employed, you will need to pay social security contributions and income tax on your earnings. Social security contributions are set at 29.8% of your earnings, while income tax is calculated based on a progressive tax rate ranging from 10% to 25%.

Registering as Self-Employed in Bulgaria: Step by Step Guide

  1. Obtain a tax identification number (TIN) from the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA). You can do this online or in person at a regional office.
  2. Register as self-employed with the NRA. You can do this online, in person at a regional office, or through a licensed accountant. Provide your TIN and personal information, as well as information about your business activities.
  3. Obtain a certificate of social security contributions from the National Social Security Institute (NSSI). You will need to provide your TIN and personal information, as well as information about your business activities.
  4. Obtain any necessary permits and licenses for your business activities. This will depend on the nature of your business and the industry you are operating in. For example, if you are starting a restaurant, you will need to obtain a food and beverage license from the relevant government agency.

Working as a Digital Nomad in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is becoming an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads, thanks to its low cost of living, excellent internet infrastructure, and vibrant startup scene. While there is no specific visa or permit for digital nomads, they can work as self-employed individuals or register a company in Bulgaria.

To work as a digital nomad in Bulgaria, you will need to follow the same process as registering as self-employed. This includes obtaining a tax identification number (TIN) from the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA) and registering as self-employed with the NRA.

Setting Up a Company in Bulgaria: Step by Step Guide

  1. Choose a name for your company and check if it is available with the Bulgarian Commercial Register. You can do this online or in person at a regional office.
  2. Prepare the articles of association for your company. This document should include the following information:
  • The name and address of your company
  • The purpose and scope of your company’s activities
  • The amount of share capital and the number of shares
  • The management structure of your company
  • Obtain a tax identification number (TIN) from the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA). You can do this online or in person at a regional office.
  • Open a bank account for your company and deposit the share capital. The minimum share capital for an LLC in Bulgaria is BGN 1 (approximately $0.60 USD).
  • Register your company with the Bulgarian Commercial Register. You will need to provide your TIN, articles of association, and proof of payment for the registration fee.
  • Obtain any necessary permits and licenses for your business activities. This will depend on the nature of your business and the industry you are operating in. For example, if you are starting a restaurant, you will need to obtain a food and beverage license from the relevant government agency.
  • Incentives and Programs for Self-Employment and Business Start Ups in Bulgaria

    Bulgaria offers several incentives and programs to encourage self-employment and business start ups. These include:

    • Reduced social security contributions for self-employed individuals under the age of 35
    • Reduced corporate income tax rate of 10% for companies in certain industries, such as IT and manufacturing
    • The Startup Visa Program, which allows non-EU entrepreneurs to start a business in Bulgaria and obtain a long-term residence permit
    • The Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA), which provides support and resources for small and medium-sized businesses

    Additionally, Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, which provides access to a single market of over 500 million consumers and a range of funding opportunities for businesses.

    In conclusion, Bulgaria is an attractive destination for expats looking to start a business or become self-employed. The country has a supportive business environment, low living costs, and a range of incentives and programs for self-employment and business start ups. Whether you want to work as a freelancer, start a company, or work as a digital nomad, Bulgaria offers a range of opportunities for expats looking to establish a successful business.


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