Bulgaria gambling tax issue still not resolved

The compromise 12 percent tax on gambling dislocates the Prime Minister's plans.

Last week's compromise tax of 12 percent on all Bulgarian gambling turnover may have suited members of parliament, but it has not gone down well with prime minister Boyko Borisov, who wanted to balance the budget with a 15 percent tax.

Borisov's plan was to use the tax revenues generated by a 15 percent rate to avoid tax increases on hard liquor and maintain assistance to young Bulgarians trying to purchase a first home.

The Novinite news agency reports that after discussions with the parliamentary Speaker, Tsetska Tsacheva, Borisov announced that he had asked his GERB party and parliament for the 15 percent rate. However, parliamentarians had already approved amendments eliminating the first home proposal.

Characterising the amendments as a mistake, the prime minister vowed to reverse these decisions.

The prime minister told local media that he required the 15 percent gambling tax to balance the budget and allow him to meet commitments to Bulgarian grape growers not to increase the hard liquor tax.

The Bulgarian parliament voted at first reading on November 4, 2009 in favor of an increase in the tax rate on gambling activities from 10 percent to 12 percent as part of amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Act (see previous InfoPowa reports). The amendments are expected to come into force in January 2010, harmonising all Bulgarian gambling tax rates.

The Bulgarian Association for Entertainment and Gambling Games has protested the 12 percent rate, saying it will cause the collapse of the gambling industry with the loss of 40 000 jobs.

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