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Viewing posts categorised under: Tax 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).

Spanish Tax Guide 2022

By John Hayward - Topics: Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 24th May 2022

24.05.22

Over the past year or so, with Covid-19 restrictions being lifted and impact of Brexit becoming clearer, we have received many enquiries regarding taxation in Spain, not only from people who are looking to move to Spain but also from those who already live in Spain, in some cases for many years. There are areas of tax that are complex, not helped by the fact that you might receive different opinions on the same tax subject.

In countries such as England, Wales, and the United States of America, there is a Common Law code. Established in England in medieval times, it is based mainly on case law. A decision made many years ago could still apply today. This is a system which has allowed us to get used procedures which have been in place for a long time. This is not necessarily the case in Spain.

Spain, like other countries in Europe, have a Civil Law code. Within this system, rules can be updated regularly. As flexible as this system is, unless you are completely up to date with the latest rules, which may only have been recently altered, it makes it extremely difficult to know how exactly you should be declaring your income and gains in Spain.

Please click on the link below to download our latest Spanish tax guide which is designed to give you a better understanding of the different Spanish taxes, to whom they apply, and when they need to be paid. Spain is made up of autonomous regions and so there can be different rules and tax rates that apply.

However, the general principles are the same or similar throughout the Spain. You will be subject to at least one of these.

  • Income Tax
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Gift Tax
  • Wealth Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax

If you have any questions, please get in contact. If we do not know the answer to your tax questions, we know someone that does.

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.

Wealth Tax in Catalonia

By Chris Burke - Topics: Catalonia, Spain, Tax in Spain, Wealth Tax
This article is published on: 7th April 2022

07.04.22

How to reduce it and know how it works

Catalonia is a great place to live for so many reasons. However, like the majority of places in the world, there are taxes to pay too. Although nobody likes to pay taxes, there is a societal need for them. They help fund the public health system, providing care for our families and for ourselves in later life, schools, so our children can receive a formal education and roads, so we can safely and effectively travel. However, in spite of this there are ways in which we can organise our taxes in an efficient manner to ensure that we are paying no more than the amount that we need to pay.

The Wealth Tax (known as ‘El Impuesto de Patrimonio’ in Spanish) is an example of a tax which is an additional tax in Catalonia that many people deem to perhaps be unfair. I mean, why should you pay tax just because you have done well in life, or your parents have and passed this wealth onto you? In summary, it is a tax that you pay on your net wealth (assets owned minus liabilities). The tax is paid on the assets that you hold which fall over a certain threshold. The threshold in Catalonia is €500,000 whilst the threshold throughout the rest of Spain is €700,000. There is a €300,000 exemption for your main residence, meaning that you will not pay tax on your main residence if it is valued under this amount. If your main residence is worth more, you can deduct €300,000 from the valuation and you will only be liable to wealth tax on the excess amount.

Here is a list of the assets that are and aren’t liable to Wealth Tax in Catalonia:

Assets that Wealth Tax
is applicable to
Assets that Wealth Tax
is not applicable to
Real estate Household contents (except for Art)
Savings Shareholdings in family companies
Shares Commercial Assets
Cars Intellectual Property and Pension Rights
Boats
Jewellery
Art

The rate of wealth tax depends on the amount by which you are over the threshold. The general rule is that it ranges from 0.20% to 2.50% in Spain. However, in Catalonia the rate is slightly higher, ranging from 0.21% to 2.75%. You are required to declare your wealth as part of your annual declaration (in Spanish, ‘Declaración de la Renta’) on form 714 at the end of the calendar year, making any payment by 30th June the following year. The below tables display the Wealth Tax rates for Spain as a whole and the variation of the wealth tax to pay depending on the autonomous community (Communidad Autonomo) in which you reside. However, this is an overview to what is a complex calculation, so if you require personalised information, please get in contact with Chris.

Settlement basis up to (euros) Fee (Euros) Other net base up to (euros) Applicable Rate %
0.00 0.00 167,129.45 0.20%
167,129.45 334.26 167,123.43 0.30%
334,252.88 835.63 334,246.87 0.50%
668,499.75 2,506.86 668,499.76 0.90%
1,336,999.51 8,523.36 1,336,999.50 1.30%
2,673,999.01 25,904.35 2,673,999.02 1.70%
5,347,998.03 71,362.33 5,347,998.03 2.10%
10,695,996.06 183,670.29 Thereafter 2.50%
Autonomous Community Wealth Tax % Variation
Catalonia Between 0.21% and 2.75%
Asturias Between 0.22% and 3%
Region of Murcia Between 0.24% and 3%
Adalusia Between 0.24% and 3.03%
Community of Valencia Between 0.25% and 3.12%
Balearics Between 0.28% and 3.45%
Extremadura Between 0.30% and 3.75%

There are ways in which you can mitigate the wealth tax you are required to pay, as noted in the above table, some assets are exempt. Therefore, if you transfer your wealth into these assets then they will not be included as part of your wealth tax calculation. For example, you may not be liable to wealth tax on assets that you transfer to shareholdings in family businesses or certain household or commercial assets.

However, this is not a straightforward process and certain criteria must be met. For example, if you transfer your capital to a ‘family business’, then there are strict regulations on what constitutes a family business, which assets qualify and how you do this. And if you were to utilise your capital to purchase household contents, certain items such as art are not exempt.

Another way to mitigate wealth tax is by relocating. There are a few countries in Europe in which you would not have to pay the wealth tax such as Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany and Austria or France. In the UK, they are considering implementing a wealth tax. If you prefer to stay in Spain, then residents of Madrid are exempt from wealth tax so it may be beneficial relocating there.

Wealth Tax in Catalonia

Finally, you can effectively double your wealth tax exemption threshold by getting married! The wealth tax exemption threshold will then be increased as everyone person is entitled to it. This also counts for the main residence allowance; therefore you may not be liable on wealth tax on your main residence up to €600,000.

Being efficient with your monies/assets from a tax perspective is almost as important as making your money grow. If you would like to seek specialist advice, Chris Burke is able to review your pensions, investments and other assets and evaluate your current tax liabilities, with the potential to make them more tax effective moving forward. If you would like to find out more or to talk through your situation and receive expert, factual advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris via the form below, or make a direct virtual appointment here.

Disclaimer: Spectrum IFA do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Spanish tax on UK property

By John Hayward - Topics: Spain, Tax, Tax Declarations, Tax in Spain, UK property
This article is published on: 29th March 2022

29.03.22

In February I wrote about the impact on investments with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and inflation rearing its ugly head. For the last month or so, the movement of global stock markets has attracted comparisons to a violin player’s arm joint and the undergarments of a professional lady. This is possibly the future for investments for a while although there appears to be more positive than negative movement (at the time of writing in case there has been a sudden catastrophe).

In the meantime, away from the uncertainty of how much a tank of fuel will cost in 6 months’ time, I want to mention something regarding Spanish tax on UK property.

31st March 2022. The end of the declaration period for everyone’s favourite, the Modelo 720. Although this is not a tax declaration, it does highlight assets and how these might be taxed in the future, whether this be capital gains tax, wealth tax, inheritance tax, or income tax. Focusing on the latter, I believe that it is generally not appreciated that a tax resident in Spain has to pay income tax on a UK property, even if it is not rented out.

It is (fairly) well known that, if you are a not tax resident in Spain, and you own a property in Spain, and you receive rental income, you have to pay Non-Resident Income Tax (NRIT) or Non-Resident Imputed Income Tax (NRIIT) if you do not receive rental income, perhaps both depending on how much of the tax year (1st January to 31st December) it is rented out. Imputed rent is a fictional amount of rent that the Spanish tax office decides is what you are receiving based on the cadastral value. It works the other way around. That is, if you are a tax resident in Spain with a UK property, and you do not rent it out, you still have to pay tax on the imputed rent.

How is the tax calculated? UK properties do not have a thing called a cadastral value. Some have said on the (not always reliable) worldwide web that it would be the rateable value that would be used. The actual rule is that, if there is no cadastral value, the tax is based on 50% of the original purchase price with the application of a rate of 1.1%. That gives you the imputed rent. It is this figure that would be used for income tax purposes.

For some people, this may not introduce a problem, especially when considering the double tax treaty between the UK and Spain. It is the fact that those who should have been declaring this “income” have not been and my message could prompt a chat with their tax agent. The Spanish tax office is regularly sweeping up what they (or their computer) see as outstanding items, often up to 4 years old in line with Spain’s statute of limitations.

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, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.

How to reduce your taxes in Spain (legitimately!)

By Chris Burke - Topics: Spain, tax advice, Tax in Spain, Tax Relief, tax tips
This article is published on: 28th January 2022

28.01.22

Taxes are present all over the world. Just because tax rates may seem high here in Spain or because the system may seem complex, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay them! It’s important that you gain an understanding as early as possible on how the system works. By doing so, you may be able to take vital action early which could potentially save you large sums of money by the time your tax bill comes around. In this article, I’m going to provide an overview of the tax situation in Spain whilst offering tips on how to reduce your tax bill legitimately.

First and foremost, it must be said that you do not have the option to choose whether or not to be a tax resident in Spain. Just because the taxes may be cheaper in the UK or the US or wherever you are from, or because you understand the tax system in your home country and not here, it doesn’t mean that you can elect to pay your taxes there. Ultimately, it boils down to if you live in Spain and if so, how many days of the year you spend here. Once you have spent 183 days in Spain in a tax year, which runs from 1st January to 31st December, you are then obliged to declare all of your income and assets and pay tax. These 183 days do not have to be consecutive. For example, in the tax year you could spend 170 days here before then leaving, coming back for a week and then leaving and coming back for another week, taking your total amount of days spent in Spain to 184.

Just because you have a residency card does not mean that you automatically become a tax resident immediately. For example, if your NIE or TIE application gets accepted and you decide to move to Spain in August 2022, and spend 5 months or less living in the country in 2022, in that tax year you will not be liable to tax. Therefore, you would have a few months to assess and take action to protect your assets from Spanish tax before becoming tax resident in the following year.

As a result, it can be highly beneficial if you are planning to move to Spain that you take action early. For example, if you decide to move to Spain in August 2022 and therefore do not become tax resident in Spain in that year, then you can dispose of your assets in that year free of tax in Spain. Therefore, you could sell your property or shares avoiding capital gains tax here and instead pay capital gains tax in your home country. Furthermore, there is no capital gains allowance in Spain. In the UK in 21/22, and 22/23, there is £12,300 capital gains allowance meaning that you will not pay tax on any capital gain up to this amount (which rises to £24,600 if you are married, joint own the asset and combine your allowance with your partner’s).

Example 1

  • August 2022 – Bill moves to Spain
  • August 2023 – Having been living in Spain for over 183 days in 2023, Bill sells his house in the UK. As he is now a Spanish tax resident, and this is not his primary residence, he is now required to pay capital gains tax in Spain (supposing he has made a gain on his property)

Example 2

  • August 2022 – Bill moves to Spain
  • September 2022 – Having been living in Spain for one month in 2022, Bill sells his house in the UK. As he is not yet a Spanish tax resident, he is not required to pay capital gains tax in Spain and he may benefit from the £12,300 tax free UK Capital Gains Allowance. The first £12,300 of profit made from selling his property may be tax free, depending on other factors such as if he has already used up his capital gains allowance for the year
Reduce your taxes in Spain

Alongside the normal income and capital gains taxes, Spain also imposes an annual wealth tax. This wealth tax, although only paid by individuals who own over €700,000 (€500,000 in Catalonia) in worldwide assets, can result in a discouraging annual tax bill. The wealth tax, into which I will go into in more detail in a future article, is only payable at between 0.2% and 2.5% on assets over the annual allowance (€700,000 or €500,000 in Catalonia).

There is a way to avoid, or at least mitigate this wealth tax. Following the previous example, if you decide to move to Spain in August 2022, and therefore not spend the required 183 days in Spain which you need to spend to become a tax resident, then you may be able to avoid the wealth tax in Spain by gifting your assets. However, this can prove to be a complicated process so it is recommended that you speak to us directly prior to doing this.

As the tax system in Spain may be different to your home country, financial products and ‘tax wrappers’ that are tax free there may not be tax free in Spain. Taking the UK as an example: ISAs are tax-free wrappers in which any gains or dividends on assets held in this wrapper are not subject to UK tax. However, you need to declare your UK ISA if you are a tax resident in Spain and any gains within this ISA, although it would not be subject to UK tax, would be subject to tax in Spain. Furthermore, in the UK you can draw the initial 25% from your pension tax free. In Spain, the same withdrawal would be taxable, although there is another tax exemption for this who contributed to their pension prior to 2007. For this reason, it’s very important to strategically plan ahead and our advice is straightforward: make the most of your tax-free allowances whilst they are available.

There are various ways in which you can restructure your assets in order to take advantage of tax planning opportunities here in Spain. For example, you can utilise Spanish tax-effective investment arrangements such as the Spanish Compliant Investment Bond (similar to a UK ISA) which will significantly reduce your tax bill compared to holding the same investment outside of this wrapper. You could also transfer your pension to Spain and adjust how you take income from it.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but the above points go to show that the way you hold, dispose and take income from your assets can make a large difference to how much tax you pay in Spain. However, it many cases it is not as straightforward as it seems and it could be highly beneficial to seek specialist advice as early as possible to reduce future tax liabilities.

If you would like to seek specialist advice, Chris Burke is able to review your pensions, investments and other assets and evaluate your current tax liabilities, with the potential to make them more tax effective moving forward. If you would like to find out more or to talk through your situation and receive expert, factual advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris via the form below, or make a direct virtual appointment here.

Minimising exposure to tax in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 29th September 2021

29.09.21

Probably the most burning issue here on the Costa del Sol for expatriates is minimising exposure to Spanish taxes. Everywhere I go to meet and discuss matters with both clients and prospective clients, this same subject always arises. Over the years I have noticed that this subject has caused so much unhappiness with some people. And it is mostly with men, rarely with women.

The unhappiness stems from the conflict between the heart and the pocket. The heart says I want to live here, revel in this micro climate, enjoy my golf, wine and dine with my friends and basically enjoy a healthy outdoor life. My pocket says I don’t want and will not pay these taxes – particularly wealth tax. Wealth tax is alien to North European nationals, whose countries by and large do not impose this tax.

The result for some is that they are sentenced to be constantly wandering the world, on the move from one jurisdiction to another throughout the tax year, always ensuring they are not there long enough to be caught in the tax net. This can also result in stress, instability, the feeling of not belonging anywhere and some cases the cause of divorce. Women on the other hand just want to live where they will be happy, where they have access to their social circle, to their children and grandchildren, either close by or at the end of an easy inexpensive short flight. For them, the tax issue is secondary.

One only has this life once and so why not take the course of most happiness for you and your family and accept the fact there are two sure things in life – death and taxes (to quote Benjamin Franklin)? You cannot take your money with you when you depart this orb, but you can certainly minimise your taxes whilst here and leave your money to your beneficiaries with either very little inheritance tax or none at all.

Saving in Spain, ISA, Tax Free Saving in Spain

Thus, it is best to confront the tax implications head on to see what is entailed and what your potential liability is. Apart from wealth and inheritance tax, there are two other mainstream taxes in Spain – capital gains tax and income tax. These too can be mitigated and often eliminated with careful tax planning. Investment income can be sheltered from tax as well as capital gains if steps are taken early enough, particularly if you are coming to live here from another jurisdiction. Here in Andalucia, inheritance tax has for all intents and purposes been eliminated. Wealth tax carries generous allowances (particularly in the case of shared assets). There is even talk of once more eliminating wealth tax altogether but we will have to wait and see.

Of course, tax and investments are intertwined so it is important to have a good financial adviser on board. Spectrum has been advising thousands of their clients for many years with the assistance of locally qualified tax experts on the subject of taxation, which you can see in the many other articles on this website.

If you would like to talk to me more about this subject and the points raised, please contact me as per below and I would be happy to discuss this further.

UK tax rebates in Spain

By Chris Burke - Topics: Retire in Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 1st September 2021

01.09.21

The TT – Top Tips Newsletter

Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying some well needed freedom and a good summer. This month’s TT covers the following Hot Topics:

  • UK passports – VERY important news on travelling to Europe
  • UK tax rebates for those moving abroad
  • New working/retirement rules in Spain

UK passports
The first news out this year, importantly for those travelling to and from Europe, was that you must have 6 months left on your UK passport to enter the country now that the UK has left the EU; this applies even if you are a resident. Those travelling may have noticed that as well as joining the ‘Non-EU passport queue’, your passport will more than likely have been stamped. The UK has issued a statement saying that if you present your TIE resident card at passport control, they will not need to stamp your passport. In my experience this is not the case so far, even though I have given them my TIE as well. This might be an issue for those people who travel regularly, as once your passport stamp pages are full a passport is not usable. You would then need to apply for a new passport on the basis of ‘exhaustion of pages’. What’s more is that some countries will not allow entry without two blank passport stamp pages. If you are renewing your passport, it might be worth requesting the larger version with more pages to cover for this eventuality. Which leads me nicely onto my next topic.

UK red passport expiry date

UK red passport expiry date
Those who have not renewed their UK passport in the last year probably will have the old red colour passport. An important announcement was made recently in respect of these and is as such: these passports are ONLY valid for 10 years exactly. What this means is, if when you last renewed your passport and had months added that were still valid from the previous passport, these do not count anymore. Thus, these passports are only valid from 10 years from their date of ISSUE.

This will not affect everyone, but for example, if your current red passport was issued in January 2012, but expires in May 2022, because there were 4 months remaining on the previous passport which were added to the new one, you will be affected. In this instance, Europe/Spain will have this passport expiring in January 2022 and to enter you must have 6 months remaining to this date.
It’s good to have things like this to worry about, because there just isn’t enough in life is there?!

Tax in Spain and the UK

UK tax rebate for those moving abroad
Anyone who has left the UK in the last four tax years is allowed to apply for a UK tax rebate. There is no way to trigger an automatic tax refund; the HMRC needs you to submit an official claim before they can refund your tax overspend.

UK tax is calculated on your projected annual income, so if you don’t complete a full UK tax year this could be wrong, and in many cases very much so.
The main reasons you should look at this are:

  • Personal allowance – you have not used the entire amount in the year you emigrate/leave
  • You continue to be a UK taxpayer but are employed in another country

The process to find out if you are due any monies is fairly straightforward:
Complete form P85, sending parts 2 & 3 of your P45 that you should have received from your employer, or a self assesment form if you were self employed.

You can read about how to do this on the official government website here:
www.gov.uk/tax-right-retire-abroad-return-to-uk

Retiring in Spain

New part time working/retirement rules in Spain
Until recently in Spain, you either had to be working or retired from a Spanish state pension perspective. That is to say, you could not work and receive your state pension. I know, I know, it just doesn’t incentivise people who arguably have the most experience in life to contribute to the economy, as if they continue working in any capacity they cannot receive their hard worked for state pension. However, recently this has changed.
You can now receive 50% of your Spanish state pension, pay a reduced autonomo payment (self-employed monthly payment) and continue to work. As a reminder, to receive a Spanish state pension you must have contributed for 15 years and two of those years must have been within the 15 years preceding actually retiring.

If you would like more information regarding any of the above, or to talk through your situation initially and receive expert, factual advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris.

Click here to read reviews on Chris and his advice

Top three financial tips for expats living in Spain

By Chris Burke - Topics: Financial Planning, Inflation, Pensions, Spain, Tax in Spain
This article is published on: 22nd July 2021

22.07.21
Chris Burke | Spectrum IFA Barcelona

Hola

This month we are covering the following Hot Topics:

  • UK financial advisers are not legally able to advise EU based clients anymore
  • The important ‘rule of 72’ for investing
  • Spanish state pension inflation worry

UK investments & pension law changes
Many UK based financial advisers can no longer legally look after anyone resident in Spain or the EU due to Brexit legislation, most having already written to their clients informing them of this. However, it’s not all bad news; most UK based investments including ISAs are not tax efficient in Spain/EU, with many having to be declared annually and tax paid on any gains, EVEN if you don’t access the money. This does depend completely on your circumstances and I help people analyse their personal situation, managing their UK assets or arranging for them to become Spanish compliant moving forward.

For those with UK private pensions in drawdown, every few years to receive this money you must have a UK accountant rubber stamp this to continue. So again, you will need to find someone locally to do this for you, which we can help with.

If you have any questions or need help in respect of UK based assets, please get in touch for a free, no obligation chat/review of your situation.

Tax in Spain and the UK

The rule of 72 and poor performing investments
Implementing an investment strategy is not where your investment plan finishes; it is where it begins. Without regular reviews and maintenance there is a strong risk you will finish up with much less than you should have had. Many financial advisors here in Spain are mainly remunerated when taking on a new client, not on the performance of their investment. This is where I/Spectrum differ.

One of the many key aspects of investing is to keep a keen eye on the ‘rule of 72’, which is knowing how long before your money should double in its value. To work out the ‘rule of 72’ for your investment you use the following simple formula: divide the number 72 by the average annual interest you are receiving/likely to receive and it will tell you how many years it would take for you to double your money. So, for example, if you were averaging 4% interest per year it would take around 18 years (72/4 = 18 years), at 5% around 14 years and 6% around 12 years. To put that into a real-life scenario, if we use a starting point of €100,000 and invested over a 25 year period this amount of money would give you:

  • 4% €266,583
  • 5% €338,635
  • 6% €429,187

To put that into context, historically inflation makes your costs double every 24 years, so if your money is not well ahead of that, in real terms your monies are just keeping their present value.

Therefore, it’s imperative you really are seeing your investments growing and working for you. If they are not, I suggest you seek a second opinion and find out how you can have these optimised, because it will make a big difference to you further down the line. The main reasons for investments failing are high maintenance costs and investments that give the financial adviser a ‘kickback’. Many people don’t always understand why their investment funds are growing but their portfolio isn’t as much, and this is usually a starting point to look at.

I work in a different way, making sure it also works for the client by not using this method, but on a transparent fee basis using the best investments & platforms for the clients; not using investment funds that give the adviser more commissions, in essence.

inflation

Spanish state pension inflation worry
Back in 2011, Spain used to have a surplus state pension fund of €66 billion. This could be looked at as ‘well, at least they had a surplus; most countries have never had one’. Just before Covid started in 2019, it was €16 billion in debt. Now the state pension system, like many others, works on the principle that current workers pay for those who are retired now. The key point here is, from a percentage perspective, Spain, compared to others in the EU, has one of the highest proportions of its GDP (total country income) contributed to its state pension, at around 12%. The average ‘replacement rate’, which is the percentage of workers final salary income that they receive in retirement, was at 72% in 2019*, whereas the average in Europe is 45%. They receive, as a percentage, much more on average for their state pension compared to their earnings than their European counterparts. This is great on one hand, however this really is a great burden on Spain to provide that level of state pension to the people.

The only way Spain can carry on providing state pensions is to “increase the retirement age even higher and decrease the amount people receive” says Concepcion Patxot Cardoner, a University of Barcelona professor, as quoted by Bloomberg. That and start to move people towards saving into their own private pensions. However, this last option and the main plan moving forward is going to be difficult to achieve in a culture where only around 26% currently save into a private pension. Compare that to the UK where the latest survey showed 65% of people contribute.

If you also take into account Spain’s tourist industry (before Covid), which is the second largest in the world employing about 2 million people and accounting for about 11 percent of the country’s GDP, you can see that things are going to need to change drastically to balance the books given the current crisis.

What does all this mean? Well, to you and I, it’s even more important that we have a plan in place, whatever that is, to make sure we have provision in retirement. I am here to talk through this with you, using professional analytics tools to help take one of the most important planning aspects of your life and break it down, step by step, making it:

  • Specific to you
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Targeted

If you would like to talk through your situation with someone consultative and knowledgeable, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

More Spanish residents to pay wealth tax

By John Hayward - Topics: Spain, Tax in Spain, Wealth Tax
This article is published on: 19th May 2021

19.05.21

Valencia reduces allowance with more people having to pay
the Impuesto Sobre el Patrimonio

Further to my article from last week, and after consultation with our accountant associates, it appears that the main residence wealth tax allowance of up to €300,000 only applies after 3 years of living in the property (habitual residence). This has been questioned but, as is often the case in Spain, getting a response from the tax office can be tricky.

The tax office words that are relevant in terms of getting around this 3-year rule are “circumstances that necessarily require the change of housing”. Moving to Spain to retire or for a change of lifestyle would not generally tick that box. If there are justifiable health reasons or similar then that appears to be acceptable in terms of applying the allowance.

To emphasise the habitual residence aspect, from JC & A Abogados in Marbella: “Please note that you must live effectively and consecutively in the property for more than 3 years, so you cannot rent the house out even for one day. In addition, you have to impute a benefit in kind for the Spanish property during the same 3 years period.”

In the words of JC & A, “The 3 year period starts counting from the purchase date as long as the dwelling is inhabited effectively and permanently within 12 months as from the purchase date.”

“…..a taxpayer who bought his main home but could not live in it because it was not suitable and had to have some works that exceeded 12 months; the conclusion is that the 3-year period starts counting from the date he moved in and not the purchase date.”

Adding salt to this potential tax wound, whilst it is not treated as your main residence (even though you live there permanently), you have to pay tax on its value as if you were a non-resident.

This all seems rather inequitable but is the law as things stand.

If you would like to discuss managing your money in these volatile and uncertain times, please do not hesitate to contact.
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