☏ +34 93 665 85 96  |  ✑ info@spectrum-ifa.com
Viewing posts categorised under: Pensions in Spain

Spanish Tax on Personal Pensions

By John Hayward - Topics: Pensions in Spain, Retire in Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain, Tax on Pensions
This article is published on: 1st June 2022

01.06.22

Further to the recent article written by my colleague Charles Hutchinson regarding temporary annuities and their taxation of annuities in Spain, I am expanding on the tax treatment of personal pensions generally.

Depending on the type of retirement income that you are receiving, it will either be taxed as regular income, “work” income as the Spanish call it, or savings (passive) income with a different set of tax rates being applying to each type. It is generally understood that the income from pension plans that received tax relief (effectively where the contributions were deducted from income before tax was calculated) will be treated as work income.

Spanish Tax on Personal Pensions

The word “annuity” is used in a general sense in the UK as the regular payment which comes from a pension scheme. It is possible to convert a personal pension fund to an annuity, with a view to guaranteeing a fixed income for life albeit waiving the right to the capital value of the pension pot. Whether or not it is advisable to purchase an annuity is another matter. This will depend on personal circumstances.

As far as Spain is concerned, an annuity is a form of income that attracts favourable tax treatment. An annuity in Spain is either temporary or for the whole of life. The annuity is purchased. It is not income drawn from an existing pension fund unless that fund is encashed to buy the annuity. At that point though there is the possibility of a large tax bill on the encashment.

The key points here are that:

  1. Not all pension income is treated the same way for tax
  2. Declaring work income as an annuity is not correct and, if reported intentionally in this manner, it is possible that it will be treated as fraud. The Spanish tax office is making a special effort right now to check on this. They can go back at least 4 years with their investigations
  3. Care should be taken when accessing retirement income to make certain that, not only is it being declared in a lawful way, but also that you do not leave yourself open to a nasty and unexpected tax bill

Contact me today for more information on how we can help you to protect your assets from unnecessary taxation and make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, to talk about Spanish Tax on Personal Pensions or for any other financial and tax planning information contact me at:

john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call (+34) 618 204 731 (WhatsApp).

Removing Confusion on Spain and UK Tax Situation Especially Pensions

By Barry Davys - Topics: Moving to Spain, Pensions in Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 23rd May 2022

23.05.22

It is clear from calls and messages to me from people seeking advice there is much confusion regarding taxation when we live in Spain and have income or capital gains in the UK. Sometimes, these calls happen when people have received a letter from the Agencia Tributaria (Hacienda).

My wish is to clarify the situation so that there are no back taxes, fines nor interest to pay in Spain.

This framework will clarify the position and I include specifics regarding pensions. Tax can be, well taxing, so this framework is to help with understanding the overall situation, not to provide specific advice for your situation.

Who’s this for?
This article is for all British people who live in Spain.

Overview
A framework to help explain how do we pay tax on pensions from the UK when living in Spain?

Why to read this article?
This article is written in response to a very sad situation where a pensioner here has been hit by fines, back tax and interest from four years ago because of a mis-understanding on how to organise his tax on his UK pension. It is likely that further fines will follow for other years. The total amount of fines and interest could amount to €21,000

Your commitment

Taking the time to read the article and requesting an initial telephone or Zoom meeting below, if you want help for your specific situation.

Your Tax Framework

Top of the framework is to understand that when we have taxable events in more than one country, the country of our residency is the “controlling tax authority”. They have the final say on what tax must be paid.

If you live in Spain more than 183 days in a calendar year your controlling tax authority is Spain. It does not matter if you also pay tax in the UK.

How this works is as follows:

  • Declare your worldwide gross income and capital gains on our La Renta (M100) Remember it is a self assessment form and so it is our responsibility to do so
  • At the end of the La Renta form is a box for entering tax paid in a country with a double taxation agreement with Spain. Put the tax paid in this box or insist your gestor does so. Even post Brexit the double taxation agreement is still in force
  • UK pensions gross income all have to be reported in Spain

If you live outside the UK and provide a certificate of tax residency in Spain you can claim dividends, bank interest and even private pensions without paying UK tax (because you will pay tax in Spain).

Pensions, however, are a great source of confusion. The UK retains the right to tax state pensions, military pensions, civil service pensions and a number of others. Previously these did not have to be reported in Spain. They do now!

Tips on pension tax

  • On private pensions and most company pensions ask the provider to pay you gross
  • If you have a UK pension where it is automatically taxed or is a state pension, record all tax paid in the UK and get proof of payment from the pension provider
  • Report the gross figures in Spain
  • Your state pension is paid weekly, not 12 monthly so remember to include all payments in the calendar year
  • Ensure that any tax paid is listed in the La Renta box for countries with double taxation agreements. Result – no double taxation
  • If the tax paid is missed off this box, try to make a Refund of Tax using UK HMRC form R43 and or form R40. It may be possible depending on your circumstances
  • One word of warning. Do not use companies offering to reclaim your tax for you. They are expensive, some may be improper and you can easily send the form yourself

In my profession as a financial adviser for international people living in Spain I have a clear understanding of tax rules and recommend that you employ a good local tax adviser. This article is not tax advice as it may not reflect your personal circumstances. It is merely a framework to help with your understanding. I hope this article provides more clarity on the issue and helps when you do go to a tax adviser.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Pension Lump Sums, Pensions in Spain, QROPS, Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 19th May 2022

19.05.22

Over the last few years, there have been some well-known IFAs here in Spain advising their clients that they can save up to 88% on their income tax in Spain by stating that their pensions are temporary annuities. In some cases, this has caused serious problems for pensioners. There is no way the Hacienda would offer such benefits unless these annuities were such from outset. It would seem logical if this was to be set up as such from outset, the schemes would have to be domiciled here in Spain for the tax reasons I go on to explain. Similarly, the annuity status could not be applied to foreign pension schemes being exported by expatriates from their previous country of residence when they come to live here.

For example, I have come across clients who have transferred their pension abroad under QROPS rules, they then instruct their trustees to pay them a set income for, say, 5 years. In some cases, the trustees would give them a certificate confirming that this income is a temporary annuity. Ironically this not only potentially makes the trustees as culpable as the pensioner but so too the gestor or accountant drawing up that tax return.

An annuity is something you buy from a financial institution (usually a life assurance company) for a certain sum. In return, the company will pay you an income for life or a fixed period. Once purchased, that money is no longer yours and it is irreversible.

However, the money in a pension scheme (although legally owned by the trustees) is for your benefit in your lifetime and can be passed to your beneficiaries or spouse, depending on the scheme T & Cs. The income can be stopped, restarted, raised, lowered, or even taken in lump sums (again depending on the scheme particulars). The capital remains at your disposal. Therefore it cannot be regarded in any way as an annuity, let alone a temporary one.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

Those who promote these “loopholes” are tapping into one’s natural desire to lower one’s taxes. They are exploiting genuine tax benefits offered to those who have already paid income tax on their savings with which they purchase an annuity for a fixed period. The special low tax rates which go with these annuities are by way of partial compensation for having your tax-paid capital repaid to you. Whereas pension income is always taxed at your marginal rate, mainly because there is tax relief on monies you put into your pension scheme, with both money purchase and occupational pensions. Furthermore, pension “pots” are invested and will attract, if properly invested, investment growth.

Those companies who advise people to do this and those who file a tax return claiming their pension is an annuity (when it clearly is not) are committing tax fraud. And there are very heavy fines for doing such a thing. A tax audit can go back up to 5 years and the tax shortfalls can involve sizeable sums especially when the fines are included. At pension age, this can be very distressing and a very nasty shock to an elderly person.

Spectrum can help you avoid this situation by reviewing any previous advice given and offering an unbiased opinion. We research our products and taxation thoroughly before advising our clients. If you have any doubts about your pension and the advice you have already received, then please contact me for an initial meeting which carries no fee. We want you to have peace of mind so that you can tell others about us. Spectrum is not in the risk business but very much here to protect your wealth.