Bulgarian Court Snubs Garbage Tax Formation Principles in Sofia

Bulgarian Court Snubs Garbage Tax Formation Principles in Sofia

The Sofia Administrative Court has declared Sofia Municipality's method of calculating garbage tax illegal.

Currently, garbage tax in Bulgaria's capital is calculated on the basis of the property's taxable value.

However, the Local Taxes and Fees Act (LTFA) provides that garbage tax should be determined on the basis of quantities of garbage disposed by the owner, and when they can not established, the municipalities can use taxable value of the property

According to the magistrates, instead of following the rule, the Sofia Municipal Council implements the exception, without stating any reasons for it.

"The lack of motives makes the practice unlawful", the court decision reads.

Ralitsa Stoyanova, Secretary General of Sofia Municipality has vowed to lodge an appeal against the decision.

The lawsuit at the administrative court was started by Civil Initiative "Justice" which said in a statement that "Garbage is generated by people, not properties, which makes it totally unjust to determine garbage tax on the basis of the taxable value of the property in question, not the garbage disposed".

Similar cases are being tackled by the courts in Shumen, Varna, Sliven and Burgas.

The decision of the Sofia Administrative court is not final and can be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS).

The current method of garbage tax formation remains in force until a decision of VAS declares it illegal.

Monday's court decision came one month after the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Discrimination issued a statement confirming that garbage fee formation in Sofia was a discriminatory practice due to the different criteria used for natural and legal persons.

Sofia Municipality said it did not plan to change the practice unless French consultant Egis, which is conducting the financial-economic analysis of the Sofia waste treatment plant, recommended an alternative method. 

Garbage tax formation is an important factor for the decision of the European Commission on granting funding for the Sofia waste treatment facility./Source: Sofia News Agency/

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