Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure BG-2022-28/2762 – Updated – measures in Bulgaria
|Bulgaria , applies nationwide
|Temporary, 05 July 2022 – 31 December 2023
|COVID-19, War in Ukraine
|Legislations or other statutory regulations
– Support for energy bills
|Ekaterina Markova (IPS-Bas) and Eurofound
|18 August 2022 (updated 10 November 2023)
Favorable tax changes are part of the anti-crisis measures adopted to tackle inflation. The government proposed, and the parliament accepted, an update of the State Budget for 2022.
Specifically, the measure consists in the application of a zero-VAT or reduced VAT on basic items such as bread, heating and gas.
A zero VAT tax rate is introduced for deliveries of bread and flour on the territory of Bulgaria, as well as for imports and for taxable acquisitions in Bulgaria. This applies to the supply of 'bread' by a VAT registered person, whether a manufacturer, wholesaler/distributor or retailer. The proposal to introduce a zero VAT rate for the supply of bread is linked to the need to mitigate the impact of high bread prices on households, in particular the most vulnerable, while avoiding supply disruptions.
A reduced VAT tax rate of 9% is introduced for supplies of natural gas and central heating, imports and taxable intra-community acquisitions. The reduced rate of tax of 9% for central heating will apply to both thermal energy in the form of steam and hot water. The VAT on natural gas for end-users/domestic use will also be reduced to 9%. Electricity, natural gas, methane will be exempted from excise duty.
The allocated resources are: BGN 65 million in budget loss for central heating and gas and BGN 60.9 million in budget loss for bread.
The data on use of both measures are not available.
|Does not apply to workers
Sector specific set of companies
|Applies to all citizens
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
According to the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), the anti-crisis measures were not previously discussed with social partners.
Two experts from the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CITUB) shared their concerns: "So at this stage some of the measures are quite controversial, some of the measures we would support. Regarding the VAT on bread, one should see the specific written texts for change in VAT Law, because it is not clear whether there will not be other goods, which are bakery products, to be offered as bread and accordingly to use the reduced VAT rate", stated Stanislav Popdonchev, expert of CITUB.
"Another part through indirect taxes, differentiation of rates and reduction of excise duties, elimination of excise duties is aimed at an effect that is minimal for the pocket of consumers. There is nothing about incomes, there is no anticipated growth in incomes, there is no anticipated compensation for the loss of the real purchasing power of the population, as the nearly 14.5% inflation suffered from April to April compared to last year. What we are being offered is some BGN 2 billion, which will not reach the people we want, and in our opinion, when inflation is twice as high as what is included in the budget, it is logical that there should be more high revenues - according to our estimates, about 3-3.5 billion will collect more revenue, and the package offered to us is for 2 billion." said Lyuboslav Kostov (CITUB).
Mariana Kukusheva, chairperson of the National Branch Union of Bakers and Confectioners stated that the zero-VAT won't decrease the price of the bread. According to Kukusheva, bread will become cheaper by just that much, despite the claims of many economists that this will not happen, but rather help the bakers themselves.
One of the many criticisms of the cabinet for the anti-crisis measures was aimed at the fact that VAT is reduced to zero on all types of bread, and not only on the basic one - as is the case with the fuel discount, for example. The final text of the law shows that the measure applies to all varieties.
|Sector (NACE level 2)
|C - Manufacturing
|C10 Manufacture of food products
|D - Electricity, Gas, Steam And Air Conditioning Supply
|D35 Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
|G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles
|G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2022), VAT decrease for bread, heating and gas, measure BG-2022-28/2762 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BG-2022-28_2762.html
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