Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency (NRA) said on August 3 that it has started checking the finances of all print media, going back five years, for compliance with tax and social security laws.
The agency said that its checks were prompted by a report drafted in June, which said that there was a “risk for evasion in the sector of print media publishing”, the NRA said in a statement. The agency said that “a significant number of publishers” have not been audited by the NRA “for years” and had overdue payments owed to the state.
A similar report was being drafted concerning electronic media, which in Bulgaria can mean both broadcast and online media, and it was “not excluded that similar reviews will be carried out with regard to companies managing online publications,” the statement said.
The statement comes only a day after daily newspaper Sega claimed that its accounts were being audited by the NRA and claimed that it was a consequence of the newspaper’s critical position regarding a number of government decisions, citing an indirect reference made by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov recently.
The newspaper said that a gas company owned by Sega’s publisher had been the target of similar checks in 2008, when it took a critical stance towards the socialist-led tripartite government coalition of the time.
NRA said in its statement on August 3 that the checks were not in any way related to the editorial policy of the publications audited, but a “routine practice by NRA to appraise the risk of avoidance”.