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The Spanish Lawyer Online

Antonio Flores’ Blog

Thoughts about laws and regulations which affect foreigners in Spain


Posts Tagged ‘Buying Property Spain’

Inheritance Tax in Andalusia and ‘Brexit’

January 30th, 2018

brexit concept background with uk and eu flags

Back in February 2016, the Tax Office in Andalusia divulged interesting IHT data: only 7% of all inheritors in this region had had to pay tax following the demise of their loved ones, at a time when maximum allowance per beneficiary was of €175,000.

Of the 7% who had to pay IHT, only 2.1% were beneficiaries classed as next-of-kin of Group I (children -natural and adopted- and other descendants under 21) and Group II (children and other descendants aged 21 and over; parents and other ascendants, and spouses, with the remaining 5% being more distant relatives or beneficiaries with no family ties with the testators.

In 2017, the exemption was increased to €250,000, thus reducing even more the overall impact of this annoying tax.

In 2018, a further tax cut has increased the exemption by €1,000,000 -provided the beneficiary does not have savings or assets of up to the same amount-. This exemption, which applies to residents of Spain but also, any inheritors -foreign or not- who at the time of death of the testator were residents of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA), means that pretty much nobody will pay IHT in this region, except of course if the inheritor happens to be a resident of the UK and Theresa May sets Britain on course for a hard Brexit (if she has not already done).

For if the UK do not negotiate a separate agreement with the EU to maintain the status quo currently enjoyed all EU/EEA residents, the negative impact in inheritance tax will become particularly visible for thousands of potential inheritors from the UK, for whom the maximum deductible amount will be -on average- €16,000 per inheritor, just as any non-EU citizen.

The negative effects will equally translate to income obtained in Spain, which will be taxed with 24% -as opposed to 19% now- and without the possibility to deduct costs and expenses, and CGT relief when reinvesting in a habitual domicile, which disappears.


Immigration, Inheritance , , ,

93% of Tax Returns Exempt from Payment: Has Inheritance Tax Almost Disappeared in Andalucía?

February 19th, 2015

Until recently, Spanish lawyers cautioned their clients that the level of Inheritance Tax (`IHT´) in Spain, for non-resident heirs, could mean the difference between being able to inherit or not. The worry is still there but, ever since the European Court of Justice (ECJ 3/9/2014) ruled that Spain’s IHT tax rules were discriminatory – different rates for residents and non-residents-, the latter are able to enjoy the same allowances residents can apply on their tax returns.

So now, for instance, an EU-resident who inherits in Andalucía an estate worth less than €175.000 from parents, children or spouse is totally exempt from paying IHT. This is no small matter for this allowance has made possible that in 2014, according to the statistical information provided by Junta de Andalucia, 93% of all IHT tax declarations filed anywhere in Andalucía were without associated payment (nil tax returns).

If we take for instance the average family with a property and two children, on the basis that in Andalucia the average price per square meter of property -as recorded in December 2014- was of €1,500, with an average size according to the Ministry of Housing of just over 105 m2 (and 187 m2 for town houses and villas), it is easy to understand why only 7% of IHT tax declarations filed by residents of Andalucía included a sum of due tax.

This is great news, for more than one reason. Firstly, a logical one: it reduces the IHT tax bill on the estate of holiday property owners, automatically, as from the 28/11/2014 (date of effective implementation of the ECJ ruling). Secondly, it takes the fear of God away from thousands of owners who’ve been incessantly bombarded -over the last years- with unreal horror stories that depict the Spanish taxman slicing into the estate of a deceased Briton, only to offer an illegal tax-dodging scheme to avoid it (mostly foreign based companies and equity release loans).

Of course, IHT will still be an issue for the wealthier whose inheritors could be hit with as much as 34% (on estates above 800k Euros). For owners not included in the above 93% contingent, we suggest some degree of planning to minimize -legally that is- exposure to IHT.

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7 Things You Should Know When Buying Property in Spain

September 20th, 2013
Great day yesterday in the office with James Scurrah, from Marbella Property Co, and Luis Ruiz, from TrecMedia. The purpose of the get together was to film 15 or so videoblogs in respect to matters pertaining to investing in Spain, property costs etc.
As a classic opener, we came up with 7 things that one should know about buying property in Spain. Surely, one can think of least another 25 but for now, we thought of keeping it short and simple. These are the 7:
  1. Anyone in the world can freely buy a property in Spain; there are no restrictions to any nationality nor a special permit is required. All you need is a valid passport, money and an NIE number.
  2. Get a lawyer to represent you as not only does his/her expertise be very useful to ensure a safe outcome but also, they have mandatory professional indemnity insurance in case something does not go plan.
  3. If you take out a Spanish mortgage, keep in mind that if you default, you will not be discharged from the loan by just “handing the keys back”. In fact, the bank can chase you in your own country.
  4. If you are buying a finca, villa or any other form of detached property, a survey can be very useful to know where the boundaries lie and whether extensions built on the property require registration, in addition to what a survey normally does for you. In Spain, valuations for bank purposes are good enough because they include a survey. However, if you want something more specific and in English, you can hire a UK-registered surveyor, for instance, SurveySpain.
  5. Ask about potential inheritance taxes (IHT) before buying as these are very different from the UK but also, each region within Spain has its own specific regulations. Splitting ownership with your inheritors will significantly reduce your exposure.
  6. Draw up a will once you have completed on your property. This will avoid having to go down the grant probate route as inheriting will be a relatively straightforward matter.
  7. Open a bank account to arrange a standing order payment for your utilities.

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