International tax legislation, also known as CFC (Controlled Foreign Company) rules, is applied by a number of countries as a means against the reduction of tax payments.
The various rules against tax evasion practices that directly affect the functioning of the domestic markets are outlined in Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164, also known as the Taxation Directive or the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive, that was adopted on July 12, 2016.
In Europe, CFC rules are widely applicable in the UK, Germany, Russia, France, and in various other places.
On November 11, 2018, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted changes to the Corporate Income Tax Act as per Directive (EU) 2016/1164.
The mechanism of CFC operation is as follows:
A taxpayer with a CFC company must include the company’s income when calculating the relevant tax base for the current year and pay the applicable tax in the country of which he or she is resident.
This company is considered to be a CFC, if the taxpayer, together with related parties, has a direct or indirect controlling participation in the capital, has voting rights or can share in the profit of the company; or when the tax paid by CFC is lower than the established by the legislation threshold.
Once a company is considered a CFC, fundamentally any revenue from that company should be included in the tax base of the taxpayer.
In order to avoid double taxation, states can allow the taxpayer to pay a tax credit for taxes paid by the CFC, or reduce the tax base of the taxpayer by the amount of distributed revenue from the CFC.
CFC rules will not be widely applicable in Bulgaria
Some experts identify two main problems with the functioning of the CFC rules in Bulgaria.
The first is that CFC rules do not apply to taxes of individuals. If the company is controlled by a physical person who is a Bulgarian tax resident, the Bulgarian CFC rules do not matter.
The second problem is that if a potential CFC is not subject to corporate tax in its jurisdiction, it will not be considered a CFC, and the new rules will not affect it.
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An ~€1M claim on behalf of real estate consultants
NBLO’s dispute resolution lawyers represented UK-based real estate consultants who had structured a € 40-million-worth commercial property project on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. In breach of an applicable contractual obligation, the consultants had not been paid the agreed success fees for their services. The then director of the defaulting party had been tragically shot dead in the meantime.
Following a hotly contested first instance, with below-the-belt attempts by the other side (the least untypical perhaps being the claim that the contract had been a forgery and a trial-within-a-trial on the issue), our team succeeded in obtaining a judgment at first instance. The parties were then able to achieve a significant settlement.
The key skills we were able to bring to bear in providing a solution included searching for solutions across the problem domain; appropriately involving representatives of Bulgaria’s EU partner member-states to buttress judicial independence; and resourcefully dealing with heterodox approaches by our judicial opponents.
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