Spanish tax man hits out at expats with Gibraltar properties

Published:  23 Sep at 6 PM
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British expats living in Spain who also own property in the British offshore financial hub of Gibraltar are being targeted by the Spanish tax authorities.

The sovereignty of the famous Rock of Gibraltar has long been a thorn in the side of Spain, although Britain has managed to hang onto it for several centuries. Spanish finance minister Cristobal Montoro is claiming that 22,000 Gibraltar-registered companies and at least 6,000 expat property owners on the Rock are using Spanish public services but paying almost no tax.

According to Montaro, this grievous situation is costing Spain some £800 million in annual revenue, including taxes on profits earned in the country and funnelled offshore to tax-free Gibraltar. The minister is threatening measures to reverse the tax drain which will inevitably impact expats with homes on the Rock.

More bad news for the 50,000 expat residents in this popular region comes as the British government determines to go ahead with its plans to end the cold weather payment to UK state pensioners living across Europe. The deadline is set for winter 2015/2016, and payments will cease for those whose region is, on average, warmer in winter than the average UK temperature of 5.6 degrees Celsius.

Winter fuel payments in 2013 to British pensioners living in Spain topped £8 million, but protests by expats living inland in the north of the country have continued since the news broke. One argument used is that, as northern Italy will be exempt from the cancellation as its winters are colder than in the UK, the mountainous areas of Spain should also be considered as exempt.
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