Business is growing very quickly not in line with the deadness of the governmental administration which it is largely dependent on. Each business initiative is accompanied with a lot of ideas and tight time limits requiring all necessary steps to be taken so as to ensure that business complies with the law requirements. Lack of knowledge, ignorance or underestimation of law requirements result in sanctions that may impede and prevent each business initiative. The aim of this article is to make your life easier and support proprietors of commercial establishments by explaining the procedure on their registration.
The commercial establishment subject to this article is a food store dealing with retail of food products (to end consumers).
Where shall I start from?
The first step is the registration as a retailer. It is the retailer’s option to decide the form by means of which they will carry out their business. It is possible to trade as a sole proprietor or to establish a company. The most common way is to establish a Limited Liability Company (LTD). The reason for that is its relatively easy way of management and the low costs of registration. Registration is done at the Commercial Register at the Registry Agency and if your documents are perfect, it usually takes between 3 – 7 business days. Once registration is done, a proprietor obtains a Unified Identification Code (EIK), constituting a unique nine-digit number distinguishing it from the other proprietors. This number may be used by each concerned party to make reference and find information about the newly registered proprietor (address, seat, managing bodies, sum of capital, etc.).
On completion of the registration with the Commercial Register, proprietor, through their company or as a sole proprietor, may carry out a business. Depending on the scope of its business, the law sets out further requirements to proprietors. For example, to carry out the business of selling drugs, a proprietor should be registered as a drug store; where their business is providing services as a tour operator, they should be registered as a tour operator; and in this specific case – the proprietor should register their commercial establishment for retail of foods with the Regional Food Safety Directorate (RFSD).
Registration of a commercial establishment dealing with retail of foods is done by the RFSD at the establishment address. For example, in case that the food store is situated in Varna, a competent authority of registration is the RFSD – Varna. The application for registration should be accompanied by a number of documents regarding food safety, hygiene of premises, information about food groups supposed to be marketed at the store. Some of the documents are completed by the proprietor – e.g. the information about food groups, and some other, such as evidencing the sanitary conditions kept at the premises, require a separate procedure with participation of the RFSD authorities. Within ten days following submission of the application, and in case that the documents are not completed perfectly or some of them are missing, RFSD will notify the applicant in writing and will grant them a period for elimination of all irregularities. Within thirty days following lodging the application or removal of irregularities, a RFSD Inspector will inspect the store, and in case that the store meets the law requirements for registration, the proprietor will be issued a Certificate of Registration. Registration is perpetual. A state fee of BGN 34 should be paid.
The last step
Prior to starting its business as a retail food store, but after being registered with RFSD, it must be registered in the Municipality of the town/city where it is located. Registration is applied for by the proprietor before the commercial establishment had started to operate. Proprietor submits an application in the form approved by each Municipality, which may be obtained in place. The information about the working hours of the store (e.g. between 6 AM and 10 PM) is a must. Within seven days to a month after application, provided that all legally required documents are submitted, the commercial establishment will be entered into the commercial establishment register. This registration is for free.
The above procedures are these that are least required by law for a retail food store to carry out its business. Depending on the specific scope of business and the peculiarities of each business, there may be imposed some further registrations or notification procedures, as appropriate. This article does not have the purpose, and it is not possible at all, to enlist all possible legal requirements to the commercial establishments, considering their diversity and large number.
In case you need some assistance with issues relating to registration processes, modes and obtaining of licenses, we are always ready and available to help for your business development and to resolve your problems!
Ginka Dimitrova, Attorney-at-Law
Petya Noycheva & Partners