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Inheritance Tax in Catalonia

By Chris Burke - Topics: Catalonia, Inheritance Tax, Spain, Succession Planning, Wealth Tax
This article is published on: 27th January 2020

With all that has been happening this year, it could well have slipped many people by that significant changes have been made to the inheritance laws in Catalonia, particularly for those who are resident there and receiving an inheritance from someone outside of Catalonia.

Previously, spouses and descendants received great allowances in respect of tax due to be paid, starting from 99%. However, for those receiving inheritance as a descendant this has been reduced, at the worst to only a 60% reduction. This raises two main questions, firstly, what would the tax payable be for an inheritance, and secondly, is there a better way to receive this, for example, as a gift rather than an inheritance, which itself has different tax rates?

It is important to understand how an inheritance is taxed in Catalonia. Major factors are the relationship between the deceased and the inheritor, what asset is being received and where the money comes from, i.e. which country. In the UK it is fairly straightforward: if someone dies being resident in the UK and leaves you assets up to £325,000 there is usually no inheritance tax (paid by the estate); anything over this is taxed at 40%. However, in Catalonia it is not that simple (Surprise surprise, I hear you say!) and alongside what is declared and may be tax payable in the UK, you must also declare and pay the relevant tax in Catalonia. Any assets you already own can also be taken into the equation of what tax is payable.

Tax in Spain and the UK

Inheritance tax in Catalonia is paid for by the receiver, not the estate, and very importantly, you have 6 months to declare this inheritance, EVEN if you haven’t received it yet (this is from the date of decease) or you will be fined the following way on the amount of tax you are liable to pay:

  • 5% in the following 3 months (i.e. months 6-9 since death)
  • 10% from 3 months to 6 months
  • 15% from 6 months to 12 months
  • 20% plus interests after 12 months

But if you know that you will need more time you can ask for an extension of an additional 6 months during the first 5 months from the death. In this case, the surcharges described above will not be applicable and you will have an extra period of 6 months.

There are some discounts on inheritance tax in Catalonia. To start with, there is usually no tax to pay on the first €100,000 being received if you are a spouse or child of the deceased. For other descendants the allowance is €50,000. If you are an ascendant the allowance is €30,000 and for any other relation the reduction is €8,000.

From this point on, there are further reductions between 97-99% and there are also other factors to be taken into account, such as are the children under 21, disabled, or if you receive the main home (“vivienda habitual”), family business or shares in certain type of companies.

Wealth Tax in Catalunya

As you can see, the calculation is not straightforward. The quickest and simplest way, I feel, to give you an idea of what tax you would pay is if I give examples using the most typical scenario of people we help, which is of a parent resident in the UK leaving their child, who is living in Catalonia, an amount of money/assets not including property (as we said there would potentially be extra tax deductions for receiving this). The guidelines are shown below for someone tax resident in Catalonia, over 21 years old, owning assets themselves of less than €500,000. Note that the ‘domestic trousseau’ has also been included (the domestic trousseau is a tax on inherited household items, for example furniture, by default calculated as 3% the estate value):

Amount to be inherited Tax due in Catalonia
€100,000 €84
€250,000 €6,969
€500,000 €29,888
€750,000 €64,908
€100,000,000 €109,297

One possibility we would check for a client is whether it would it be better to plan the future inheritance and anticipate it, receiving the monies through a donation that is taxed between 5% and 9% between parents and their children (with some specific requirements). Additionally, please note that if a previous donation has been made, this must also be considered in order to calculate the effective inheritance tax rate. We always suggest getting in touch to confirm exactly what the amount would be, and for help declaring it. For the assets themselves, it is worth knowing that many assets overseas are not always efficient to have while living in Catalonia.

For example, investments or ISAs in the UK are declarable and tax is payable in Spain on any gain annually, EVEN if you do not take any of the money, unlike in the UK. It is possible to have these monies in a Spanish compliant structure, still in sterling if you prefer, where you can benefit from the money growing through compounding and potentially greatly mitigating tax. This is where we help our clients to get organised efficiently and can manage the assets if needed.

If you have any questions relating to this article, would like help planning for this eventuality, or anything similar, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Article by Chris Burke

Chris BurkeIf you are based in the Barcelona/Costa Brava area and would like to have an initial, complimentary face to face video call or arrange a time to visit Chris in his office in central Barcelona, contact Chris on chris.burke@spectrum-ifa.com or whatsapp +34 689915730. 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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