Pension Commencement Lump Sum Tax in Spain – How does it work?

By Chris Burke - Topics: Barcelona, Pensions, spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 16th March 2018

There are conflicting stories on how much lump sum/one off amount can you take from your pension if resident in Spain and what the tax will be. Indeed, many people with UK pensions believe it is better to take their UK pension lump sum in the UK before (grey line here if they have already moved!) they move to Spain permanently, as they will pay less tax. Firstly, even if you have a UK pension but are resident in Spain, this has to be declared in Spain. Secondly, if you finished contributing before 2007 you actually can receive MORE tax relief in Spain than in the UK (dependent upon the pension you have and how you take it).

To clarify, in the UK you can currently take a 25% tax free amount from all your private pensions and anymore would then be taxable.

If resident in Spain, you have the right to take up to 100% of your personal pensions in one go (100% in capital), to receive part in capital and part through regular payments or to receive the whole amount through regular payments. If you receive an amount in capital (a whole or a part) then you can apply for a tax reduction of 40% of the amount received for any contributions you made prior to 2007. This option can only be applied once, so, if you have more than one pension plan, you have to receive all of them in the same tax year if you want to apply this reduction.

If you take the amount as a regular payment you will have to pay income tax as if you have received any other general taxable income (a salary for example). In both of these cases, the amount that is taxed (with or without the 40%) is subject to the general income tax rate.

Lump Sum Pension Tax in Spain Lump Sum

Total amount of pensions £150,000
Amount to be taken in lump sum/one off £50,000
Amount tax exempt in Spain £20,000
Pension lump sum amount income taxable £30,000 (added to your annual income tax band)

 

Now if we look at the UK example we shall see the difference

Total amount of pensions £150,000
Amount to be taken in lump sum £50,000
Amount tax exempt in the UK £37,500
Pension lump sum amount income taxable £13,000 (added to your annual income tax band)

However, in the following scenario the Spain example works more in your favour:

Total amount of pensions £100,000
Amount to be taken in lump sum/one off £100,000
Amount tax exempt in Spain £40,000
Pension lump sum amount income taxable £60,000 (added to your annual income tax band)

 

UK Example

Total amount of pensions £100,000
Amount to be taken in lump sum/one off £100,000
Amount tax exempt in Spain £25,000
Pension lump sum amount income taxable £75,000 (added to your annual income tax band)

Important points to note here are:
If you cash in your UK pension OVER 25% and are registered in the UK as a non resident, an emergency tax code is likely to be used up to 45% and you will have to claim back what is owed to you. Unless you are able to provide a P45 from the current tax year following withdrawal from employment and/or current pension plan,

or

The pension provider already holds a P45 or up to date cumulative tax code received from HMRC as the result of previous withdrawals from that pension plan, and can apply it.

If you take your UK pension as a 25% lump sum, this should be declared in Spain and would apply to the Spanish rules of 40% being tax exempt and the rest income taxable. You would therefore pay any tax owed in Spain.

Only the FIRST Lump Sum is tax exempt so it’s important to realise that and make sure you plan effectively.

Regular payments from your pension fall under income tax

From 2007 onwards there is NO tax exemption of this kind.

Top Tips For Your Pension Lump Sum/One Off
When taking your lump sum, take it in the year that is most tax efficient for you, such as when you have lower income from other sources.

Moving your pension outside the UK could give you more freedom, more choices and potentially less tax to pay in the long term (depending on your situation).

Source: Silvia Gabarró GM Tax Consultancy Barcelona

Article by Chris Burke

Chris BurkeIf you are based in the Barcelona/Costa Brava area you can contact Chris at: chris.burke@spectrum-ifa.com for more information. If you are based in another area within Europe, please complete the form below and we will put a local adviser in touch with you.

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