Electronic Food Vouchers Now in Bulgaria

On July 27, the 49th National Assembly approved amendments to the Corporate Tax Law (Article 209a) to allow the issuance of electronic meal vouchers under Ordinance №7. Beginning January 1, 2024, employers will be able to order meal vouchers electronically, either in the form of a card or a purely virtual instrument. These vouchers will allow employees to pay for food at a broad network of merchants across the country.

The electronic meal vouchers are tax- and contribution-free up to the amount of BGN 200 per month per employee and can be redeemed at the terminals POS in the partner stores of the network of meal voucher operators. The requirements for employers remain unchanged: They must provide the same amount to all their employees, must not have public obligations subject to enforcement, and must not have reduced their employees’ salaries in the last three months.

Digitization will modernize and streamline the process of using food stamps, benefiting not only employers, but also consumers, merchants and voucher providers.

Characteristics of the electronic meal voucher:
  • It will be available in the form of a card or a fully mobile/virtual tool.
  • It will be valid only in Bulgaria within a network of merchants having contracts with operators of food voucher for payment on POS -terminals or online payments.
  • It cannot be used to withdraw cash from ATMs and is not a debit or credit card.
  • It cannot be used to purchase cigarettes or alcohol.
  • It has an expiration date.

The digitization of meal vouchers will come into effect on January 1, 2024.

Here’s what to expect until then:
  • August – October 2023 – Amendments to MLSP and Ministry of Finance Ordinance № 7/2003, which will specify the details and rules for the use of electronic vouchers
  • January 1, 2024: Introduction of electronic meal vouchers for use.
  • Transition period from January 1 to July 1, 2024: During this period, both paper and electronic meal vouchers will be issued. Employers can only provide one type of voucher to their employees. After this period, paper meal vouchers will continue to be used until their expiration date.
  • After July 1, 2024: Only electronic meal vouchers will be issued.
Summary of the recent changes regarding meal vouchers:
  • The annual quota for food stamps will reach BGN 1.4 billion, which is quite enough for 2023 (increase of BGN 400 million compared to the 2022 quota).
  • BGN 200 – the maximum non-taxable amount of vouchers that an employee can receive from his employer remains unchanged.
  • Introduction of electronic meal vouchers in Bulgaria as of January 1, 2024.

We at Edenred Bulgaria have been preparing for this moment for a long time and we are ready to be one of the first to introduce the electronic meal vouchers within the given time frame.

For more information visit Edenred website – www.edenred.bg