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Letters received from the Spanish Tax Authority

Published 17/11/2011

Letters received from the Spanish Tax Authority

There have always been consequences of not paying taxes in Spain, but now they are getting more serious.

Until now the consequences have not been what we have been used to in other countries. For example, here if you don’t pay your property taxes then when you come to sell or die there will be a record of debt against your property that will need clearing up before the property can be transferred. There have also been occasions when non-payment of taxes has lead to embargoes and even houses being put on the market. But it’s not been on a very wide scale and it hasn’t touched very many people. 

Times are changing

The theme of the ‘economía sumergida’ (black economy) came up for discussion at a course for our tax advisers recently. A plan against fiscal fraud was originally started in 2005 in Spain. It has taken a little time to gather momentum but now there is an acceleration in the way it’s being applied and who it’s being applied to.  
Previously, there weren’t the resources to fully put the plan into place, but there are now. That might seem a little topsy turvy when the economic situation is so dire. However, it’s actually quite logical. In 2005 they didn’t need the money as much. Now they need it urgently and recognise that it’s worth while putting some money in to get more money out.
The fiscal fraud plan takes hold 

With an amazing amount of speed in comparison to what we’re used to, the Tax Authority has already started sending out letters to Spanish property owners. We have recently had five people approach us asking for their letters to be translated. Click here to see what they have received in Spanish and the official translation in English:
Click here to see a copy of the letter

Click here to see a translated version of the letter

The Tax Authority are contacting people who have not made any form of tax declaration in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and are asking a simple question – why not?

“usted ha sido titular de algún inmueble situado en territorio español, sin que se tenga constancia de que haya presentado declaración-liquidación alguna por el Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes (IRNR), por el Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas (IRPF) o por el Impuesto Patrimonio”

An approximate translation into English reads as:
“you have property against your name in Spain but there are no records of you having presented either a non-resident declaration or a resident tax declaration or Wealth tax”
A chance to get straight 

This is a new direction for the Tax Authority to take. It clearly demonstrates that they are looking across records and investigating where no declaration has been made.
However, they are providing home owners with the opportunity of putting matters in order themselves first:
“We advise you that before AEAT (Tax Authority) begins a process of verification there is opportunity for you to put matters in order. In order to do this you must present the missing declarations and pay accordingly.”
If you do receive one of these letters you need to take action. The letter points out that the Tax Authority will not do the actual declarations themselves and besides it is highly unlikely that they will speak English.  We advise you to get a representative who you can communicate clearly with, in your own language.
Spain just wants people to pay their taxes and so they are providing a warning that gives those receiving a letter time to declare and come clean before the decision is taken from them.    
December 31st is the deadline for presenting your non-resident Spanish tax declaration. We strongly advise anyone who hasn’t already made a Spanish tax declaration to do. We will present your 2010 tax declaration and help you start the new year on the right side of the tax law.


Susan Partridge Helme

Susan Partridge Helme
Tax Advisor

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