Brit expats in Spain should think again before fleeing

Published:  13 May at 6 PM
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For many British expats living in Spain, the newly-introduced financial reporting requirements have been the last straw, but taking expert advice may be the answer.

According to the Foreign Office, full- and part-time expats in Spain number around 800,000, with permanent resident numbers set between 250,000 and 400,000. Accountancy firms estimate that a high number are seriously considering leaving the country following the introduction of the new tax regime.

The law states that any foreigner living in Spain for more than six months in any one tax year and who holds assets overseas totalling more than €50,000 must declare them to the Spanish government. Assets include bank accounts, investment and overseas properties, and failure to comply attracts heavy fines.

Unsurprisingly, expats are condemning the new rules as discriminatory, with many deciding to emigrate to another EU member state or even to return to the UK. A number of Spanish politicians agree the law does discriminate, and the difficulty of selling Spanish property right now is causing panic amongst expats determined to leave.

According to managing partner at DeVere Spain, Andrew Oliver, is urging those contemplating the move to take expert advice on restructuring their portfolios to take advantage of Spain’s investor protection laws and tax privileges. He adds that the Spanish tax office is attempting to claw back revenue by targeting ‘fiscal nomads’ who fail to report their overseas assets, but insists there may be bona fide means to avoid fines and penalties.
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