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Motor Madness - police registration



Tax on the vehicle is paid once a year to the Tax Office. The cost depends on the year of manufacture, the engine size, etc. It is important to note that the new buyer has one month in which to declare the purchase to the Tax Office!


Police Registration

To a UK driver this is probably one of the strangest things about the car buying process in Bulgaria. For example, you have bought a second-hand car in Sofia, which has Sofia plates on, but you live outside Sofia in one of the villages. You will have to have a new plate letter and new plates put on the car. It’s not like buying a car in Edinburgh and happily driving it around London without a care in the world!

Although in the UK, the letters on a car’s plates tell where the car was originally registered, there are not many people who know which area the letters pertain to, or care for that matter. Not so in Bulgaria. Everyone knows when a car is not ‘local’, and the Police may even stop you if you are driving out of your area. This is both good and bad. On the plus side, it means people are vigilant and even on the look out for car thieves, however on the down side, it can mean unnecessary rises in blood pressure for you when the Police suddenly leap out at you on a main road!

So, you must go to the KAT office (Road Police) relevant for your address, or for the address of your company if you are buying through your company. Bear in mind, therefore, that if your company is registered in Rousse and you live near Sofia, and you are buying through your company, your car should be registered in Rousse and have Rousse plates. Registration costs around 200 leva and includes police taxes, new plates, documentation and a technical test (brakes, lights, engine and chassis number, etc).


Personal or company?

It's really up to each individual to make the choice, however there are benefits to buying the car through your company.

For example, invoices (faktura) for essential car expenditure as part of your business can be given to your accountant for them to offset as ‘company costs’.

Also buying through your company means you can have ‘normal’ Bulgarian plates and not the ‘Oh look, I’m a foreigner!’ blue plates.

Documents you must carry when driving - This is basically the same whether the car is owned personally or through the company: car documents (including MoT certificate and the original of the insurance policy), driving licence and passport / identification card.

If you are stopped by the Police and don’t have the documents on you, you are likely to receive a fine.


Getting the car serviced

You may want to get the car serviced before you speed off into the sunset, especially if there is no previous service history available, which there probably isn’t. It’s the same type of thing as in the UK and can be done at any garage you like. However, you may feel more relaxed about using a ‘big name’ garage, which can be expensive, but has the advantage of offering a guarantee, or use one that is recommended to you by someone you trust.

So now you are ready to go and enjoy your new purchase!