New provisions (in force from 01/07/2011) were incorporated in the Notaries and Notarial Business Act (NNBA).
According to the new paragraph 8 of Article 25, NNBA, when performing legal acts for the creation, transfer, amendment or termination of property rights in real estates for consideration, the parties are obliged to declare in the contract itself that the price specified in it is the agreed consideration. Pursuant to the new para. 9 of Article 25, NNBA, where the total consideration due under the contract exceeds BGN 10,000, any payment of that consideration must be effected either to a special bank account of the notary, or to a bank account chosen by the parties.
A new Article 25a, NNBA institutes such notary public-held accounts.
The terms on which payments by the parties are made to the special notary bank account and the deposits are then disbursed are set out in a written agreement between the notary and the parties to the contract.
Such accounts are protected from enforcement for obligations of the notary.
These new provisions correspond to recommendations of the European Commission to Member State governments to legislate for the prevention of money laundering through property transactions, as well as for tackling corruption and property fraud. The changes also prevent concealing the real consideration. In turn, this cures evasion of local taxes payable upon acquisition of real estates and improves the quality of market information.
Less obviously, the changes in the NNBA would help in proving the authenticity of effected payments, as well as the receipt of the agreed price by the party to the contract. This should reduce litigation, enhance the legal certainty of the property transactions and the legitimate expectations of the interested persons.
We have been providing day-to-day corporate and commercial advice to the Bulgarian subsidiary of Filter AS, an Estonian joint-stock company with operations across Central and Eastern Europe. Recently, we have supported the management team of the company in preparing and submitting its bid in a public procurement project financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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