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Viewing posts categorised under: Tax in Spain

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.

I’m moving to Spain – When should I take financial advice?

By David Hattersley - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain, tax advice, Tax Efficient Savings, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 17th March 2021

17.03.21

Brexit removed the previous rules pertaining to “Freedom of movement, goods and services within the EU”. Those who now wish to move to Spain from the UK, making it their home as retirees or working here, newer and tougher rules apply.

Distance working has added a new dynamic, in particular for those in the technology sector who see that this is as an opportunity to work and live in a nicer environment. Speaking to a qualified financial adviser who is regulated here,in Spain is sometimes an afterthought . However, talking to an adviser before you embark on the journey can help avoid some of the issues which expatriates can find themselves encountering. Financial planning is complex, whichever new country one moves to, so a brief summary can help prepare for the future “devil in the detail” elements. Forewarned is forearmed and helps avoid basic pitfalls.

It makes sense to “disinvest” all UK held assets prior to becoming Spanish Tax resident. Timing and deferral is the key to planning a strategy. Note that due to Brexit, UK advisers are no longer allowed to offer continuity of advice Spain for those that become tax resident in Spain.

There are a number of rules regarding Spanish tax residence, which are briefly detailed below. You will be deemed tax resident in Spain in any one of the following cases:

1. Number days in Spain not to exceed 183 days and may include time spent in any EU member country,
2. Centre of Economic interest i.e. source of earnings is in Spain,
3. Spouse and minor children living in Spain.

moving-to-spain

With regards to your assets, without going into too much detail, the following will apply.

UK property: Disposal once tax resident will be subject to Spanish capital gains tax, even if it was one’s primary UK residence. If retained it will be subject to reporting on Modello 720, a record listing overseas assets. A 20% increase in value will mean a new Modello 720 report. Income derived from letting the property will be subject to Spanish “investment” tax.

UK Pensions: A Pension Comencement Lump Sum is tax free in the UK, it is liable to tax in Spain. So if nearing 55 wait till you take it and then become Spanish Tax resident.

ISAs: An ISA offers tax free growth or income in the UK. They are not tax free in Spain, but there is a Spanish equivalent.

Unit Trust, Shares, Investment & Insurance Bonds, NSI bonds etc: There are some tax breaks in UK but none in Spain.

Inheritance Tax: The UK rules apply to the residual estate whereas Spain applies it to the beneficiary. There is a strong possibility of being taxed twice as estate rules & beneficiary rules are not covered by double taxation agreements.Based on “domicile” there is a different law for bequests & inheritance in Spain. Also, unlike the UK, it has a the variety of laws for each autonomous area,affecting in particular the potential impact of Spanish succession tax. It makes sense to deal with a regulated adviser who is based in or near to an autonomous area you will be living in e.g. Madrid ,Andalucia, Murcia, Valencia.

Having a “ partner “ relationship as opposed to being married, brings its financial own risks in Spain, and arrangements must be considered.

Are you moving to Spain?

Spanish Property: Some people come to Spain with plans of using their new Spanish property to retire to now or eventually. If it is the latter, the property maybe used to produce rental income either via summer rentals or long term rentals, but in this case there will be tax considerations.

Investing an hour of two of your time before you make the move to Spain can provide peace of mind and financial comfort when planning your new adventure. I can provide “Your guide to tax in Spain” that goes into greater detail. Whether you want to send the guide or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

A Spanish regulated adviser can ensure you are financially prepared for your move, in terms of any investments, savings and taxes which can become due on both income and windfalls you may be expecting after your move.

Please note, we are not accountants or lawyers, but we do work hand in hand with these professionals, and can be the “first port of call”.

Cryptocurrency Taxes in Spain

By Chris Burke - Topics: Cryptocurrency, Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 10th March 2021

10.03.21

As new investment types become more popular, people generally get in touch with me about them. That is certainly the case with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and that now large investment firms are starting to invest (Blackrock for example), more people feel comfortable in also investing, or researching whether they should.

Many years ago, due to the technology (or lack of) available, it usually took some time, even a decade or so, for new companies and investments to become well known, sustainable or very successful. Now, with the exponential growth of technology, automation and social media, companies can go from almost zero to mega over a period of months or years. As you may have seen recently in the news with the commodity silver and the company GameStop, technology has become so powerful that groups of people communicating on social media can even ‘manipulate’ investment prices themselves, whether this be a good or bad thing. However, this also creates careful considerations when contemplating investing in these hyped assets.

Cryptocurrency Taxes in Spain

You need to be very aware that these relatively young and very popular assets show an incredible amount of volatility, and therefore risk. This in itself is not a problem, just as long as you understand it. Investing in anything like this, and I would put cryptocurrency and Tesla or the like into that bracket, as fantastically as they can go up, they can also come down. So the golden rule to consider is, do not invest any monies you are not prepared to lose. Imagine you are walking in to a casino and have a figure in mind that you are going to gamble with; after it is gone you are prepared to walk away without it. That amount can be whatever you like, but you have to understand you can make an amazing profit if things go your way, or, you could lose almost all of it. As long as you are aware and accept this, then you are comfortable to invest in it.

I meet more and more people who have invested in these areas and then require help in taking their sometimes life changing gain to having it managed at a much lower risk level, consolidating and securing that gain. They have made their money, there is no need to keep the risk level that high, cash some if not all ‘out’ and use your ‘winnings’ to permanently change your life. For example, if you went to the casino and won a life changing amount of money, say €250,000, would you return the following week and carrying on gambling it? At what point would you ‘cash in your chips’ and take the reward? The probability still stays at 50/50 each day whether you win or lose, so, until you have ‘cashed in’ your chips, your high-risk level is still there. By de-risking, you are guaranteeing some of that gain and reducing your exposure.

tax in spain

What about taxes on cryptocurrency?
In October last year, the Spanish government brought in greater controls for this kind of investment. In real terms, this means if you buy, sell, transfer, exchange or use to buy something with it they want to know. However, there is only a taxable event when you dispose of this type of investment.

In terms of the tax to pay, this would come under savings tax in Spain (or capital gains tax as it is also known). These rates are currently:

From 0 to €6000 you pay 19% in tax
From €6001 to €50000 you pay 21% in tax
From €50001 to €200,000 you pay 23% in tax
From €200,001 +  you pay 26% in tax

This is only on the gain/profit you have made, not the amount you sell.

Key considerations to take into account
Cryptocurrency is also applicable under wealth tax in Spain, should the region you are tax resident in be applicable to this.

If your cryptocurrency investment should incur a loss, these can be offset against any gains you have over the next 4 years, so that is something important to bear in mind.

Buying using cryptocurrency
If you sell cryptocurrency and buy another investment type having made a profit, then this would be taxed as a gain at the above rates. If you use Bitcoin to make purchases for products or services, then 21% IVA (VAT) tax would also be applicable.

If you do not make the relevant declarations or pay the necessary taxes, large penalties and fines will apply, so you must make sure you not only do this, but perform it correctly.

If you would like help in looking into investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, would like help declaring these correctly, or would like to take your already gained profit as tax efficiently as possible and have it managed professionally, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How to avoid Spanish taxes on your UK property and investments

By John Hayward - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain, tax tips, UK investments, UK property
This article is published on: 30th July 2020

30.07.20
Tax in Spain and the UK

Being tax resident in Spain is not your choice
once you have made the initial decision to move to Spain.

Generally, once you have spent 183 days (not necessarily consecutive) in Spain, you are deemed to be tax resident and have to declare income and assets to the Spanish tax office. The tax year in Spain runs from 1st January to 31st December. Unlike the UK, which works on a part tax year basis when someone leaves the UK, in Spain you are either tax resident for the whole year or you are not.

As soon as you know that you will be taking the step to eventually become tax resident in Spain, it is extremely important to make certain that you have arranged your investments and property(ies) in a way that isn´t going to open you up to unnecessary Spanish taxes.

A lot of people will be looking to become resident in Spain before Brexit on 31st December 2020, in case the process becomes more complicated after. However, for those who are worried that applying for a residence card will automatically make them tax resident, let me dispel this fear. It does not. Therefore, you have the opportunity to apply for a residence card whilst taking action to protect your assets free from Spanish tax for 2020, becoming tax resident in Spain in 2021.

UK Property & Tax in Spain

As a tax resident in Spain, a person has to declare all of their overseas assets (over certain levels) as well as the income from these assets. Anything sold, such as a property or investments (ISAs, shares, bonds, etc.), and even a lump sum from a pension which would be tax free in the UK, will be taxable in Spain and this is where there is a potential tax nightmare.

Our advice is usually to sell before becoming tax resident in Spain, if selling is feasible and practical. If you are eligible to take a tax free lump sum, do so before becoming tax resident in Spain. ISAs are also taxable in Spain and although there are ways to legally avoid taxes whilst holding this type of investment, things can become very complicated.

property investment Spain

Let me make this clearer with examples of someone who has a UK property and sells it after becoming tax resident in Spain.

Example 1 – Property Purchase 1986

  • You move to Spain and become a permanent resident, and thus a tax resident, in Spain.
  • You own a property in the UK which has been your primary residence since you bought it in 1986.
  • As you have now moved to Spain, it is now a secondary property.
  • You bought it for £48,000. You are selling it for £600,000. As this is no longer your primary residence, Spanish capital gains tax is due on the sale.
  • Even with indexation (which only applies to pre-1994 purchases), the tax bill is over €50,000.

Example 2 – Property Purchase 2004

    • You bought a property in the UK in 2004 for £150,000 and are selling it now for £250,000.
    • The Spanish capital gains tax on the sale would be over €20,000.
    • Unlike the UK, there are no capital gains tax allowances in Spain.

The same principle applies to shares, investment bonds, and ISAs.
You have to pay Spanish capital gains tax on the difference between what you paid for them and what you sell them for, again with some indexation for pre-1994 purchases.

Spanish Inheritance Tax

Plan early: Before you move to Spain to help avoid Spanish Tax

You need to draw a line under your asset values now so that you can take advantage of the more beneficial capital gains and property tax rules in the UK and start afresh in Spain without the fear of unavoidable Spanish taxes in the future.

Contact me today to find out how we can help you make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.