British expats exiting Spain due to overseas assets declaration law

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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Although life in the UK is undoubtedly harder and more expensive than when they left, 2013’s trickle of Brits leaving Spain has turned into a flood.

Since last year’s new law made it compulsory for expats to declare all their overseas assets, the size of the British expat community in Spain has decreased by 23 per cent, with German and French diasporas reducing their communities by 23 and 12 per cent respectively. According to returning Brits, no-one trusts the Spanish tax agency, and many more are simply failing to register and hoping to stay under the radar.

Expat population loss is hitting businesses hard, especially in Spain’s smaller coastal resort towns, with Torrevieja’s small businesses missing around 15,000 residents this year and Calpe’s population diminished by 5,000. Even so, reports are coming in that many Spaniards uninvolved in the tourist trade are happy to see expats from elsewhere in Europe packing up and leaving.

It seems that, as holiday-home buyers are rushing to take advantage of the lowest Spanish property prices in a decade, long-term expat residents, many of whom are now in their late 70s or 80s, are heading back home. Younger expats, mindful of the recent savings grab by the Cypriot banks and the comparative state of the Spanish economy, are leaving before something similar occurs.

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