Bulgarian antiques and how to trade them

Bulgarian antiquesProbably you are wondering how you can trade with Bulgarian antiques? The answer is in the [BG] Cultural Heritage Act and it's latest changes. The Act imposes special regime for treasure-hunting, trading, exporting (both sale and exhibitions) of Bulgarian cultural heritage artifacts.

Treasure-hunting for Bulgarian antiques

Treasure-hunting in Bulgaria is banned but you can see many people scavenging the areas round historic places. they carry metal detectors and other equipment and can be seen normally at dusk. If you are a treasure-hunter you need to know that if you are caught there are serious sanctions. However if you accidentally find some antique objects which could be of interest to the museum, you should mind that according to the Art. 90 of the Ownership Act:

[blockquote]

Properties buried in the ground, walled in or hidden in another manner, the owner of which cannot be found, shall become the ownership of the state.
[/blockquote]
Therefore selling of such artifacts as your own is illegal. Art. 94 of the Cultural Heritage Act requires if a person finds such artifact to contact the nearest state or council museum and hand the found item to its director.
A commission of experts will be then appointed by the Museum to classify if the found object is a 'cultural heritage' or not. If it is classified as 'cultural heritage' the Ministry of Culture issues special identification documents to the antique item. If it is not classified as 'cultural heritage' the museum and the government will not be interested in it and you will be able to trade with it freely.
Before you apply for such classification procedure, you can roughly estimate if the antique falls under the definition of 'cultural heritage'. Here is what the Act defines as 'cultural heritage' :

[list1]

  • machine-minted coins and coin-like items that have no relevance for research and exhibition value, with the exception of especially rare and valuable specimens identified in accordance with this act as cultural values;
  • machine-produced items which do not bear a signature or mark of their authors or are produced in large quantities, do not have significant cultural, scientific or artistic value or are not linked to the historical figure or event;
  • works of art owned by Bulgarian or foreign authors, or those who are not older than 50 years;
  • antiques, artwork, limited which are not older than 100 years, with the exception of especially rare and valuable specimens identified in accordance with this act as cultural values;
  • residual material-waste substance, obtained from human activity, which has no functional or artistic purpose.

[/list1]

If you want to trade with antique items, described under the above 5 points - you can trade and export such antiques freely. The simplest test to see if you can trade with such antiques is to check their visible age and type. However if you are collector and owner/trader of cultural heritage antiques, there are special rules for trading set in Chapter V of the Act.

Trading with Bulgarian antiques, classified as 'cultural heritage'

If you want to trade with Bulgarian antiques classified as 'cultural heritage', you have to register yourself with the Ministry of Culture. You are also obliged to keep a register of all items you own and the details for any sale you make, including buyer details, date of sale etc.You have to hold the antique items, classified as 'cultural heritage' in a separate premises and not mix them with other items you sell. Along with the normal sale, you are allowed to attend and organise antique auctions. There are special requirements for these auctions, so you need to get familiar with them before you start organising one. The auction organiser has to have a licence for antique auction trading, granted by the Ministry of Culture.

Export of antiques 'cultural heritage'

If you are antique collector/trader and you want to export your antiques outside Bulgaria you need to obtain a certificate for export, issued by the Ministry of Culture. The rules for issuing such certificates are found in the Act and also in Council regulation № 116/2009

Bulgarian antiques and how to trade them

Bulgarian antiquesProbably you are wondering how you can trade with Bulgarian antiques? The answer is in the [BG] Cultural Heritage Act and it's latest changes. The Act imposes special regime for treasure-hunting, trading, exporting (both sale and exhibitions) of Bulgarian cultural heritage artifacts.

Treasure-hunting for Bulgarian antiques

Treasure-hunting in Bulgaria is banned but you can see many people scavenging the areas round historic places. they carry metal detectors and other equipment and can be seen normally at dusk. If you are a treasure-hunter you need to know that if you are caught there are serious sanctions. However if you accidentally find some antique objects which could be of interest to the museum, you should mind that according to the Art. 90 of the Ownership Act:

[blockquote]

Properties buried in the ground, walled in or hidden in another manner, the owner of which cannot be found, shall become the ownership of the state.
[/blockquote]
Therefore selling of such artifacts as your own is illegal. Art. 94 of the Cultural Heritage Act requires if a person finds such artifact to contact the nearest state or council museum and hand the found item to its director.
A commission of experts will be then appointed by the Museum to classify if the found object is a 'cultural heritage' or not. If it is classified as 'cultural heritage' the Ministry of Culture issues special identification documents to the antique item. If it is not classified as 'cultural heritage' the museum and the government will not be interested in it and you will be able to trade with it freely.
Before you apply for such classification procedure, you can roughly estimate if the antique falls under the definition of 'cultural heritage'. Here is what the Act defines as 'cultural heritage' :

[list1]

  • machine-minted coins and coin-like items that have no relevance for research and exhibition value, with the exception of especially rare and valuable specimens identified in accordance with this act as cultural values;
  • machine-produced items which do not bear a signature or mark of their authors or are produced in large quantities, do not have significant cultural, scientific or artistic value or are not linked to the historical figure or event;
  • works of art owned by Bulgarian or foreign authors, or those who are not older than 50 years;
  • antiques, artwork, limited which are not older than 100 years, with the exception of especially rare and valuable specimens identified in accordance with this act as cultural values;
  • residual material-waste substance, obtained from human activity, which has no functional or artistic purpose.

[/list1]

If you want to trade with antique items, described under the above 5 points - you can trade and export such antiques freely. The simplest test to see if you can trade with such antiques is to check their visible age and type. However if you are collector and owner/trader of cultural heritage antiques, there are special rules for trading set in Chapter V of the Act.

Trading with Bulgarian antiques, classified as 'cultural heritage'

If you want to trade with Bulgarian antiques classified as 'cultural heritage', you have to register yourself with the Ministry of Culture. You are also obliged to keep a register of all items you own and the details for any sale you make, including buyer details, date of sale etc.You have to hold the antique items, classified as 'cultural heritage' in a separate premises and not mix them with other items you sell. Along with the normal sale, you are allowed to attend and organise antique auctions. There are special requirements for these auctions, so you need to get familiar with them before you start organising one. The auction organiser has to have a licence for antique auction trading, granted by the Ministry of Culture.

Export of antiques 'cultural heritage'

If you are antique collector/trader and you want to export your antiques outside Bulgaria you need to obtain a certificate for export, issued by the Ministry of Culture. The rules for issuing such certificates are found in the Act and also in Council regulation № 116/2009

How to re-register a UK lorry in Bulgaria

UK plateRecently we have established MH Think Ltd., a UK road transport consultancy, providing re-registration services to UK lorries in Bulgaria. We also provide obtaining EU road transport O-licence, issued from Bulgaria.

Registration of a UK lorry in Bulgaria

European regulation restricts registration of vehicles only to the location where their owner is registered. This means that you can't have a a lorry registered on your UK company name and simultaneously have Bulgarian registration plates. Therefore the obvious way to have the task accomplished is to register a Bulgarian company and transfer the lorry to it.

Registration of a Bulgarian company is done in about 4-5 days. After that all you need to do is bring the lorry to Bulgaria. The procedure for lorry re-registration is as follows:

  1. Bringing the lorry to the Traffic Police garage;
  2. Bringing the lorry to a certified Tachograph garage;
  3. Bringing the lorry to a certified MOT garage;

Point #1 takes most of the time, as the lorry need to be checked for a valid VIN number and (if present) engine number. These checks are done because of the increased vehicle theft within EU. The traffic police technicians check for the VIN, engraved on the chassis itself and not on the metal plate, nailed to the cabin. As you can guess this process involves lifting up the cabin.

What to check before you bring your lorry to Bulgaria

It is very important that you check if your lorry's VIN number is clearly visible on the chassis. Make sure you find where it is located and remove any rust (being careful not to erase it). Again, the VIN, showed on the metal plate on the cabin is not good enough for the Bulgarian Traffic Police.

If your lorry registration certificate doesn't include Euro emissions certificate (e.g. Euro 3, Euro 4 etc.), you have to get one from your lorry manufacturer. This is very important if you want to pay low vehicle tax. The city council lowers the vehicle tax if there is Euro 3 or better certification of the lorry.

We at MH Legal and MH Think are well aware of the full procedure for re-registration foreign (e.g. UK) lorries in Bulgaria and are providing all preliminary information to the hauliers before they bring their trucks to Bulgaria. We are continuing to fill our registered trucks portfolio with more lorries under Bulgarian plates.

If you are interested in obtaining EU Operators licence from Bulgaria and operating your UK lorries under this licence, call us on 0044 20 351 46727, email us at milen@mhlegal.eu Alternatively, you can use the contact form.

How to re-register a UK lorry in Bulgaria

UK plateRecently we have established MH Think Ltd., a UK road transport consultancy, providing re-registration services to UK lorries in Bulgaria. We also provide obtaining EU road transport O-licence, issued from Bulgaria.

Registration of a UK lorry in Bulgaria

European regulation restricts registration of vehicles only to the location where their owner is registered. This means that you can't have a a lorry registered on your UK company name and simultaneously have Bulgarian registration plates. Therefore the obvious way to have the task accomplished is to register a Bulgarian company and transfer the lorry to it.

Registration of a Bulgarian company is done in about 4-5 days. After that all you need to do is bring the lorry to Bulgaria. The procedure for lorry re-registration is as follows:

  1. Bringing the lorry to the Traffic Police garage;
  2. Bringing the lorry to a certified Tachograph garage;
  3. Bringing the lorry to a certified MOT garage;

Point #1 takes most of the time, as the lorry need to be checked for a valid VIN number and (if present) engine number. These checks are done because of the increased vehicle theft within EU. The traffic police technicians check for the VIN, engraved on the chassis itself and not on the metal plate, nailed to the cabin. As you can guess this process involves lifting up the cabin.

What to check before you bring your lorry to Bulgaria

It is very important that you check if your lorry's VIN number is clearly visible on the chassis. Make sure you find where it is located and remove any rust (being careful not to erase it). Again, the VIN, showed on the metal plate on the cabin is not good enough for the Bulgarian Traffic Police.

If your lorry registration certificate doesn't include Euro emissions certificate (e.g. Euro 3, Euro 4 etc.), you have to get one from your lorry manufacturer. This is very important if you want to pay low vehicle tax. The city council lowers the vehicle tax if there is Euro 3 or better certification of the lorry.

We at MH Legal and MH Think are well aware of the full procedure for re-registration foreign (e.g. UK) lorries in Bulgaria and are providing all preliminary information to the hauliers before they bring their trucks to Bulgaria. We are continuing to fill our registered trucks portfolio with more lorries under Bulgarian plates.

If you are interested in obtaining EU Operators licence from Bulgaria and operating your UK lorries under this licence, call us on 0044 20 351 46727, email us at milen@mhlegal.eu Alternatively, you can use the contact form.

Restricted access to company files

company_files_restricted_accessThe new regulations in to the Commercial Register Act restrict free anonymous access to the company files, located in the online database of the Registry Agency. Together with the long anticipated mandatory liquidation amendments, the new articles impose requirements for authentication in the register.

No anonymous access to company files any more

No matter what are the reasons behind this new regulation, it surely casts some shadow over the free access to information. By free, I mean free as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. By now everyone could open any company file and gain access to and stay anonymous to the Register system. Only people who were submitting documents had to identify themselves. Now anyone who want to see any company documents have to identify themselves to the Register systems. The identification can be done in one of the following ways:

  • using an electronic certificate, issued to a person who have applied to the Registry Agency and had identified himself with an id card or passport.
  • using an electronic signature, issued by a certified electronic signature provider from Bulgaria or other EU member state.

Reasons for restricting access to company files

There is no official government position why the company files are now restricted. There has been some discussions on the media, suggesting that this would prevent documents fraud. This is the reason why a three days waiting term, after application is submitted, was set before any changes are made to the company files. Another suggestions is that this restriction will create obstacles for journalists who dig into company files and search for shady corporate deals (also involving government officials).

Whatever is the reason for this restricted access to company files, people having electronic signatures, such as our solicitors can check company files without any restriction. If you need to make a company due diligence we can do that for you.

Restricted access to company files

company_files_restricted_accessThe new regulations in to the Commercial Register Act restrict free anonymous access to the company files, located in the online database of the Registry Agency. Together with the long anticipated mandatory liquidation amendments, the new articles impose requirements for authentication in the register.

No anonymous access to company files any more

No matter what are the reasons behind this new regulation, it surely casts some shadow over the free access to information. By free, I mean free as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. By now everyone could open any company file and gain access to and stay anonymous to the Register system. Only people who were submitting documents had to identify themselves. Now anyone who want to see any company documents have to identify themselves to the Register systems. The identification can be done in one of the following ways:

  • using an electronic certificate, issued to a person who have applied to the Registry Agency and had identified himself with an id card or passport.
  • using an electronic signature, issued by a certified electronic signature provider from Bulgaria or other EU member state.

Reasons for restricting access to company files

There is no official government position why the company files are now restricted. There has been some discussions on the media, suggesting that this would prevent documents fraud. This is the reason why a three days waiting term, after application is submitted, was set before any changes are made to the company files. Another suggestions is that this restriction will create obstacles for journalists who dig into company files and search for shady corporate deals (also involving government officials).

Whatever is the reason for this restricted access to company files, people having electronic signatures, such as our solicitors can check company files without any restriction. If you need to make a company due diligence we can do that for you.

Compulsory company liquidation will start early 2012

The long anticipated changes to the Commercial Register Act are finally here. The changes concerning company liquidation of non-re-registered companies in Bulgaria are in force as from its promulgation in Stage Gazette, issue 99,2012.

What was the liquidation situation by now

Before the amendments there was no clear idea how the liquidation process for non-re-registered companies can start. I want to note that I'm talking about the liquidation process only for companies, which failed to register under the new Commercial Register. The deadline was end of 2011. All failed companies are now in a pending position and can neither trade,  dispose real estate properties nor they be closed. In short, the companies were non active because the parliament had not adopted any rules for the liquidation. There was only a framework of the process but no real applicable liquidation process rules.

By mid December there was still no procedure. The old Act regulation, had been assigning obligation to the register courts to scan all company files and send the scanned files to the Commercial Register. Courts in Bulgaria, however are not that organised and tech savvy (I'm referring to both court administration and judges).

The new liquidation process rules

The liquidation process can be initiated by applying in the Registry Agency. The persons/entities who can apply are company directors, shareholders, heirs of a shareholders, creditors of a shareholder, government or local authorities etc. In any case entities/persons who are interested in the liquidation process can initiate it. The Registry Agency will request the paper company file from the court, so the applicant doesn't need to make this request personally from court.

This was the missing regulation for initiating the liquidation of non-re-registered companies. Now the Agency need to prepare the application forms and liquidation can start effectively. The rest of the process will follow the regulations of the Trade Act and will have no additional complications.

Note: There are still no application forms! The Agency will most probably provide them early next year.

If you have failed to re-register you company by end of 2011 and you don't want to lose your property and end up with outstanding debt to the Bulgarian government, call us or email us now. We are Bulgarian solicitors, specialising in company liquidations and will help you solve the matter with your company liquidation.

Compulsory company liquidation will start early 2012

The long anticipated changes to the Commercial Register Act are finally here. The changes concerning company liquidation of non-re-registered companies in Bulgaria are in force as from its promulgation in Stage Gazette, issue 99,2012.

What was the liquidation situation by now

Before the amendments there was no clear idea how the liquidation process for non-re-registered companies can start. I want to note that I'm talking about the liquidation process only for companies, which failed to register under the new Commercial Register. The deadline was end of 2011. All failed companies are now in a pending position and can neither trade,  dispose real estate properties nor they be closed. In short, the companies were non active because the parliament had not adopted any rules for the liquidation. There was only a framework of the process but no real applicable liquidation process rules.

By mid December there was still no procedure. The old Act regulation, had been assigning obligation to the register courts to scan all company files and send the scanned files to the Commercial Register. Courts in Bulgaria, however are not that organised and tech savvy (I'm referring to both court administration and judges).

The new liquidation process rules

The liquidation process can be initiated by applying in the Registry Agency. The persons/entities who can apply are company directors, shareholders, heirs of a shareholders, creditors of a shareholder, government or local authorities etc. In any case entities/persons who are interested in the liquidation process can initiate it. The Registry Agency will request the paper company file from the court, so the applicant doesn't need to make this request personally from court.

This was the missing regulation for initiating the liquidation of non-re-registered companies. Now the Agency need to prepare the application forms and liquidation can start effectively. The rest of the process will follow the regulations of the Trade Act and will have no additional complications.

Note: There are still no application forms! The Agency will most probably provide them early next year.

If you have failed to re-register you company by end of 2011 and you don't want to lose your property and end up with outstanding debt to the Bulgarian government, call us or email us now. We are Bulgarian solicitors, specialising in company liquidations and will help you solve the matter with your company liquidation.