Are you an expat retiree or a Spanish pensioner receiving a foreign pension in Spain? If so, you have until 30 June 2015 to make sure your taxes are correct and up to date or you risk facing a hefty penalty.
What is this due to?
A greater exchange of information between international tax authorities has alerted the Spanish Treasury to the fact that a great number of foreign pensioners, and Spanish retirees who have returned to Spain after working abroad, are not abiding by Spain’s tax laws when it comes to declaring the income they receive from their overseas pensions. It appears a lot of pensioners erroneously believe they can receive a foreign pension in Spain and not declare it. If you are resident in Spain then you are also considered a Spanish tax resident and, as such, must declare all your worldwide income, including pensions.
Am I a Spanish tax resident?
You are considered a Spanish tax resident if:
- You spend a total of 183 days a year in Spain.
- Your “centre of vital interests” is in Spain. In other words, if your spouse is a Spanish resident and you’re not legally separated, you’re considered a Spanish resident.
Am I required to declare income tax?
If you’re a Spanish tax resident and your total income exceeds €11,200 you are required to declare income tax in Spain, regardless of your pension’s value.
It is worth noting that even if you receive less than the minimum threshold income, making an annual tax declaration is still recommended. If there is no record of you as a Spanish tax resident, legal matters such as inheritance or selling a property could become a lot more complicated. Additionally, if you are thinking of applying for a residence certificate, you will have to provide proof that your pension is being paid into a Spanish bank account.
- Civil servant pensions are taxed in their country of origin.
A Six Month Grace Period
The Spanish Tax Office recognises that many pensioners are elderly, with modest incomes, and are simply not aware of Spanish tax legislation. For this reason, the Spanish Treasury has granted a grace period of six months, from 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015, during which pensioners can put their tax affairs in order without risking sanctions.
What does this mean?
- It is important you ensure your previous Spanish Income Tax declarations from 2010-2014 were correct, and you declared all your taxable income, including any overseas pensions.
- If any changes need to be made, you must file an amended declaration.
- If there is any tax owed you will have to pay 100% of the outstanding sum to the Spanish Treasury. Delayed payment and installment plans have been set up for this purpose.
- Any surcharges, interest charges for late payment, and penalties will be waived if you update your tax situation within the six month grace period beginning 1 January 2015.
- If the Spanish Treasury has already checked an income tax return and found you to be guilty of not declaring your overseas pension, you may be able to take advantage of the grace period to claim back any sanctions and penalties already paid. Contact us to see if you are eligible for a refund of this type.
How can I be sure my Spanish taxes are up to date?
Very simply, contact us! Due to the complexity of Spanish tax laws, it is important you employ an experienced Spanish tax expert to ensure your taxes are in order before the grace period expires. We will manage all the paperwork for you according to your personal tax situation, and make sure you understand any steps that need to be taken.
Do it now!
After the six month grace period is up, it is highly likely that the Spanish tax authorities will carry out an inspection campaign. Those pensioners found to be in breach of the Spanish tax laws may face hefty financial penalties. Don’t let it slide, get your taxed checked now for your own peace of mind and the good of your pocket!