Sunday October 14,2012 : NEW GAMBLING TAXES PLANNED IN BULGARIA
Finance Minister wants to tax all forms of income except retirement savings
The often aggressively authoritative Bulgarian Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, gave advance notice this week that he has the gambling industry and investors in his sights with plans for new, and as yet unspecified, levels of taxation.
The minister is already taking flak for his proposals to impose taxation on all bank deposits, and his policy of taxing all forms of income in the cash-strapped Eastern European country.
During an interview with Darik Radio, Djankov revealed, without giving details, that he plans to impose taxes on gambling and stock exchange profits, starting as early as January 2013.
He said that his staff is already working on legislative drafts that could be proposed between the two parliamentary readings on the draft 2013 State budget.
The minister reiterated that his goal is to have similar levels of taxation for all income, regardless of its source.
Djankov is also on record as supporting the taxation of individual bank transactions, although that would not be immediately proposed, he said, adding that the only income government would not touch is retirement pensions.
Asked to comment on threats of large-scale public protests over the new tax regime, Djankov replied: "Let them come."
In March this year the Bulgarian government approved the regulation and licensing on online gambling in the country, but proposed a ruinous 15 percent tax on operator turnover. The proposals were accompanied by draconian measures designed to exclude and stamp out unlicensed operators accessing the nation's punters, including ISP blocking and bans on advertising.
However, by May 2012 the government appeared to have accepted advice that few foreign operators would seek licensing at those sort of tax levels, and the proposed tax rate was slashed by fifty percent.