Spain forces expats to declare assets in overseas locations

Published:  6 Mar at 6 PM
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New rules introduced to target tax evasion will affect expats with homes in Spain and investments or savings held overseas.

Residents have been given until the end of April to declare their domestic and overseas assets worth over £44,000 or face punitive fines for non-compliance. Bank accounts, shares, other investments, life insurance policies, income from annuities, property and all other moveable assets must be declared to the Spanish authorities.

Fines for non-compliance are prohibited and are expected to add up to more in tax than the assets are worth, and the new law will also require average bank account balances for the year’s last three months and the original cost of property held. According to the UK Foreign Office, 800,000 UK citizens spend all or part of their time in Spain, with estimates of full-time residency varying between 250,000 and 400,000.

Resident expats must declare their assets as on December 31, 2012, with residents with previously undeclared assets at the most risk of fines when asset totals are compared with tax returns. Partner in accountancy firm Menzies David Truman told the media that clients are weighing up a move to another country as a result of the new law.

He adds that many expats have expressed concerns and the measure is driving expats to seek out new lives elsewhere. Truman confirmed that asset reports will be checked against individual tax returns, adding that even those who are compliant will have to deal with more forms annually, and financial advisors Blevin Franks have been organising informative seminars as well as strongly advising their clients to declare.

According to the Spanish tax authority, the measure is being introduced to curb money-laundering and fraud. Given the state of Spain’s economy, its property market and the ongoing property scandal, the move is likely to drive more expats to seek a home elsewhere.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Martin wrote 7 years ago:

Absolute madness. With the problems the Spanish already have with their property market,who in their right mind would buy a villa in Spain now.Forget it,I will look elsewhere.

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