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Viewing posts categorised under: Captial Gains

Spanish CGT on UK Principal Residences

By John Lansley - Topics: Captial Gains, Spain, Tax in Spain, UK property
This article is published on: 25th March 2021

25.03.21

New residents in Spain wanting to sell their home in the UK, face a small but perhaps very costly change due to Brexit. John Lansley explains.

Like the UK, Spain has a favourable tax regime concerning your home – your principal residence. Here, any gain arising on selling your home can escape tax as long as you use the sale proceeds to purchase a new main residence. If you sell a property for €500,000 and then reinvest €250,000 in a new home, releasing monies for other purposes or simply downsizing, then only half of the gain attracts this exemption and the other half faces a tax liability.

Those over the age of 65 who sell their home enjoy full exemption, whether or not the proceeds are used to buy a replacement.

One little-known feature is that the rules apply to a property anywhere in the EU or EEA, which has been your only or main residence. Therefore, if you move to Spain from another EU/EEA country, selling your old home and using the proceeds to buy a new one in Spain will enjoy exemption, as described above.

However, while this exemption previously applied to those moving to Spain from the UK, Brexit has meant that the UK is in neither the EU nor the EEA, and therefore the sale of your home in the UK, when you have become tax resident in Spain, will expose the full amount of the gain to Spanish Capital Gains Tax.

property investment Spain

So, even if you want to use the proceeds, in full or in part, to purchase a new home in Spain, doing so after your arrival will result in a potentially very large Spanish tax bill, which could reduce quite substantially the amount you have available.

What are the Capital Gains Tax rates in Spain?

  • Up to €6,000 19%
  • €6,001 – €50,000 21%
  • €50,001 – €200,000 23%
  • Over €200,000 26%

If, for example, you are selling a UK property for the equivalent of €500,000, which you bought for the equivalent of €200,000, doing so now you are resident in Spain would produce a tax bill of €70,880, whereas selling before the end of 2020 (and of course reinvesting the proceeds in a new home in Spain) would have meant a zero tax bill.

What is the answer?
The best course will probably be to sell your UK home before arriving in Spain, but check that it does indeed qualify for the full principal residence exemption in the UK first. Selling UK property is usually more predictable than property in other countries, but it shows very clearly that timing can be extremely important. Any delay in exchanging contracts (the operative date) until after you arrive in Spain could prove very expensive.

The desire to tie together the sale of one home with the purchase of a replacement is something we’re used to doing in the UK, but in this case it would appear more sensible to sell your UK property, rent temporarily in either the UK or Spain, and only then purchase your new home in Spain.

moving-to-spain

Residence in Spain
Since Brexit, moving to Spain has become much more difficult. Working here, or coming here to retire, necessitates much more than it used to, and Spain’s Golden and Non-Lucrative Visa schemes will have to be utilised. The Golden Visa requires the purchase of property valued at more than €500,000, so any unexpected Spanish Capital Gains Tax bills might threaten your ability to do this.

Similarly, the Non-Lucrative Visa requires you to demonstrate your ability to support yourself. If your capital is severely depleted due to an unwanted tax bill, that might prove more difficult.

As always, it pays to seek professional advice, and we will be happy to help you make sense of these rules and apply them to your own circumstances.

UK Investments & ISAs – Tax Treatment in Spain

By Chris Burke - Topics: Barcelona, Captial Gains, dividends, Investments, ISAs, Premium Bonds, Spain, Tax, UK investments
This article is published on: 16th April 2018

16.04.18

With automatic exchange of financial information between most countries now standard practice, most of us already recognise the importance of declaring our assets properly and fully. In the UK, if your accountant or tax adviser declares your assets incorrectly, they are liable; however, that is NOT the case in Spain. I have been contacted by many people with various stories of how their accountants in Spain have reported assets. Sometimes it feels like people are speaking to numerous accountants until they find the one with the answer they want – if the declaration is incorrect though, and leads to an investigation, you are personally liable. Therefore, it is essential to have your assets reported correctly.

It is quite straightforward to understand the Spanish tax treatment of your UK assets. If they are NOT Spanish compliant – that is to say, not EU based and regulated AND the company holding these assets doesn’t have a fiscal representative and authorisation in Spain – then income and investment growth are taxable annually. Note that investment growth on assets such as shares, ISAs and premium bonds is taxable regardless of whether you have taken any income or withdrawals.

Below you will see the main list of investments that need to be declared and the tax rates that apply annually:

Type of Assets/Investment Tax Payable Type of Tax
Investment funds/stocks/shares Yes, on growth Capital Gains Tax (19-23%)
ISAs Yes, on growth Capital Gains Tax (19-23%)
Premium Bonds Yes, on gain/win Income Tax (19-45%)
Interest from Banks Yes, on growth Capital Gains Tax (19-23%)
Rental Income Yes Income Tax (19-45%)
Pension Income Yes Income Tax (19-45%)

Expenses may be able to offset some of the tax on gains, and for long term property rentals you can receive up to 60% discount on net rental income. However, tax reliefs and allowances that applied in the UK are not available to you in Spain.

There are ways of reducing these taxes, by having your finances organised correctly, and in many cases there is also scope to defer tax. This means there is no tax to pay if you are not taking an income or withdrawals from your investment. In fact, the more your money grows, the greater the potential tax saving.

The first thing you should do, and any financial adviser or tax adviser should do, is consider ways of mitigating your tax, both now and in the future. Otherwise you could end up with a ‘leaking bucket’. Many accountants are starting to increase charges for declaring UK assets, which need to be listed individually and where there is often lack of familiarity with the assets held. By the time you have paid the tax for NOT drawing your money, paid your accountant and lost any tax relief that applied in the UK, in most cases there are more cost effective, tax efficient, Spanish compliant options available. Furthermore, for those returning to the UK, there is still generous tax relief which applies to certain Spanish compliant investments.

For an initial discussion regarding your finances and practical guidance on planning opportunities, please get in touch – my advice and recommendations are provided free of charge without obligation – chris.burke@spectrum-ifa.com

Taper Relief on Capital Gains from the Sale of Shares

By Derek Winsland - Topics: Captial Gains, France, ISAs, taper relief on capital gains, Tax
This article is published on: 16th November 2017

16.11.17

My colleague, Sue Regan, in her last article, gave details of a number of tax changes currently being debated in Parliament and which are expected to come into force by the end of the year. On a positive note, wealth tax (Impot de Solidarite sur la Fortune) is to be abolished, to be replaced by a tax on the value of property (Impot sur la Fortune Immobilier) or IFI. This can have real benefit to those with investments outside of property.

Less positive is the intention to abolish taper relief on capital gains from the sale of shares, which includes equity investment funds. This can have serious connotations for those investors holding investment portfolios outside of an Assurance Vie. Portfolios held within equity Individual Savings Accounts (ISA’s) in the UK, for example, will be affected. For UK residents, ISA’s represent an excellent savings and investment vehicle, with ‘income’ drawn from the ISA tax free in the hands of the investor. Growth in the investment attract no capital gains tax charge, irrespective of whether the gains are extracted or allowed to roll up within the ISA.

In the hands of a French tax resident though, ISA’s don’t enjoy any of the tax benefits UK residents take for granted. It is as if the ISA wrapper doesn’t exist. Instead, in France, taper relief is granted on gains made from equities (shares) where the holding is greater than two years. Where shares have been held for two years and up to eight years, the relief is 50%; after eight years the relief rises to 65% under the current system. Crucially, this relief also applies to collective investments where a minimum of 75% is invested in equities.

If you then factor in the fact that all gains are calculated in euros, shares and equity collectives in the UK held for a long time can be further reduced because the purchase price will be converted into euros using the exchange rate on the day of purchase. Likewise, the euro value is calculated on the day of sale. With the value of sterling currently low, the amount of any gain can therefore be further reduced if the exchange rate on the day of purchase is higher than the rate on the sale date.

All of this means that if you are resident in France, holding on to stocks and shares ISA’s in the UK, it really is time you thought about cashing them in, reinvesting the proceeds in the far more tax efficient Assurance Vie. Time really is of the essence.

If you feel you could be affected by this, or have personal or financial circumstances that you feel may benefit from a financial planning review, please contact me direct on the number below. You can also contact me by email at derek.winsland@spectrum-ifa.com or call our office in Limoux to make an appointment. Alternatively, I conduct a drop-in clinic most Fridays (holidays excepting), when you can pop in to speak to me. Our office telephone number is 04 68 31 14 10.