When doing business in Bulgaria – The Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) system saves your time and money.

When thinking of expanding your business abroad, have a look at Bulgaria that offers a host of advantages for many entrepreneurs. It has a low corporate tax rate of just 10%, making it one of the most tax-friendly countries in Europe and it has also implemented a flat income tax rate of a mere 10% for individuals, being the lowest in all of the EU.

Bulgaria has a highly skilled and educated workforce to help businesses grow, as well as strong infrastructure for logistics and manufacturing. This makes Bulgaria a great location for companies that need to access a large market. Moreover, Bulgaria is fast becoming a leader in digital fields such as technology, software, and cloud services, making it an ideal place to start a business.

E-services are developing fast, and the Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) program (developed by the Bulgarian government) enables quick electronic signatures on documents and contracts. Developed in 2013, the program allows Bulgarian citizens, as well as foreign businesses, to get a digital ID and use it to sign documents, transfer funds, and complete other tasks online. The program is growing in popularity and is now used by thousands of Bulgarian citizens and businesses.

Foreign companies can use the QES program in a number of ways. Companies can register their business with the Bulgarian government, pay taxes online, sign contracts electronically, access the Bulgarian Property Register, obtain conviction status from court, access the National Insurance Institute, and many other services. The program also provides a higher level of security, as all signed documents are encrypted with strong encryption protocols. This ensures that documents cannot be tampered with or forged.

The service of issuing QES is usually offline but once you get it you are able to e-access almost all Bulgarian institutions:

  • register and set up a company online (access to Commercial Register is free but with QES you can read all the documents attached to companies’ files),
  • sign contracts and other documents digitally (for employment documents in addition to QES for the employer are required also to implement a system that combines Registered Electronic Mail (REM), log management, time stamp, etc),
  • access e-Tax system and submit tax declarations,
  • pay local taxes and submit declarations to municipalities,
  • access Property Register and submit all kind of documents,
  • obtain conviction status from court,
  • access National Insurance Institute,
  • access Bulgarian National Bank for submitting declarations,
  • also, other accesses to governmental institutions as Custom Agency, Labour Bureau etc.

Note: some of the services might not be available for foreign persons.

To become part of the QES program, companies must first apply to a qualified provider. This requires the submission of basic information such as company information, legal representative info, and contact details. Once the application is approved, companies can begin using the services of QES.

As every system has it´s pros and cons, so has QES program. The biggest minus might be that most commonly used QES are not cloud solutions but with USB stick and card. However, the trend towards cloud-based solutions is increasing, meaning that more and more companies are starting to take advantage of the program.

Overall, the Qualified Electronic Signature program in Bulgaria is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for an easier and more secure way to access a host of services online. Whether it be for registering a company, signing documents, or managing accounts, the QES program provides a simple and secure way to do it.

Those interested in further information about Bulgarian QES program and what to keep in mind when establishing a company in Bulgaria, can find helpful resources on the following websites:

1. eGovBG: https://egov.bg/  

2. Bulgarian National Bank: https://bnb.bg/

3. Leinonen Bulgaria: https://leinonen.eu/bgr/services/

Company establishment and applying for QES in Bulgaria is not a rocket science, but the healthy dose of local knowledge and experience Leinonen Bulgaria´s team can provide, will help to ensure all the right forms are filed and the correct procedures followed, allowing companies to focus on their core business operations.

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