How do Spanish taxes work for non-residents?
Tax residents in Spain are classed as such if they live in Spain for more than 6 months a year, or their immediate family or primary economic interests are based in Spain. If you live in Spain for less than 183 days a year (around 6 months) then you won’t be considered a resident. However, even non-residents still have to pay tax on properties they own or any income they earn from employment in the country.
Somewhat confusingly, there are some state tax rules and some regional tax rules, meaning that tax regulations and rates can vary throughout different regions of Spain. Income-based taxes depend on your residency status, as tax residents must pay a percentage of their total global earnings, while non-residents only have to pay tax on earnings within Spain – even if they have income from other countries.
Taxes can be a complex issue, especially if you struggle to keep track of your finances or find information about tax relief options in Spain. We have experts in Spanish tax regulations on our team at Manzanares Lawyers, meaning we can help you get your finances under control, calculate the taxes you owe in Spain as a non-resident, and organise appropriate tax payments to prevent legal penalties.
Non-Resident Tax Rates in Spain
The standard rates for non-resident tax in Spain range from 19-24% for income, capital gains, investment interest and dividends, and royalties, though tax can range from 8-40% for pensions. Many countries have signed double taxation treaties with Spain to avoid people being taxed on the same income in both countries. Though Spanish residents can benefit from personal allowances or deductions, non-residents are rarely eligible, so the tax usually has to be paid in full.
There are also specific rules regarding rental income from letting out property you own in Spain. In many areas, you must register with the local authority and obtain a licence before renting out your property, in line with regional housing regulations. While the regular tax year runs from 1st January to 1st December in Spain, rental income tax must be paid quarterly, and it’s the property owner’s responsibility to manage taxes. This also means ensuring that any outstanding tax balances are paid off before renting or selling a property, or even gifting it to family or friends.
Even if you don’t rent out your second home in Spain, all property owners must pay a form of annual council tax to the local authority, known as IBI. This tax rate is based on the value of the property, with rates varying from 0.4-1.3% across different municipalities. If you decide to sell the property, you’ll still have to pay a property transfer tax, known as ITP. Again, it’s your responsibility as the property owner to register with the appropriate authorities and make sure that your non-resident tax in Spain is paid on time – it’s possible to appoint a legal representative to handle these matters for you if you are unable to manage them yourself.
Spanish Taxes for Non-Residents
At Manzanares Lawyers, we understand that this can be difficult if you aren’t in the country, so relying on specialist solicitors like us to be your representatives and handle your tax affairs could save you time, money, and worry. We can help you to submit your Spanish tax declarations and pay on time to avoid unwanted fines and debt.
Spanish taxes for non-residents can quickly become very complicated – especially if you aren’t a native. Manzanares Lawyers can give you clarity on exactly what you need to pay and when, applying our years of expertise in this area to ensure that you know exactly where you stand regarding Spanish property tax for non-residents.
We can assess your tax situation and give you an overview of your Spanish tax liabilities, making sure that you’re never in the difficult position of being unable to afford your tax payments, or missing them altogether and risking fines for non-payment. We’re here to make you feel more comfortable about your non-resident tax in Spain, with our friendly team of professional lawyers glad to offer assistance whenever you need us.
Please note that while we offer a variety of legal services throughout the whole of Spain, including conveyancing, fiscal advice is only offered in the region of Andalucía. We are unfortunately unable to provide tax advice outside this area. If you do live in Andalucía and require assistance with Spanish non-resident taxes, feel free to contact us.
Contact us for tax advice
If you believe that you could benefit from the expert guidance of Manzanares Lawyers on non-resident tax in Spain, then be sure to get in touch with us.
Our highly qualified teams are able to speak with customers in several different languages – including English, German, French, and Portuguese.
Please don’t feel as though a language barrier will hinder your understanding of our Spanish non-resident tax advice. We strive to communicate effectively with all of our clients, regardless of their nationality or language.
With over 20 years of experience, there isn’t a tax enquiry our company hasn’t dealt with before, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need clarification or instructions on how to handle your tax payments in Spain.
Need help paying Non-Resident Tax in Spain?
We understand that fiscal management can be difficult for non-Spanish speakers who owe non-resident tax in Spain. From registering for your NIE (Foreigner’s Identity Number) when buying a property in Spain to completing your annual Modelo 100 forms and submitting them to the Spanish tax authorities on your behalf, we’re here to help you with your Spanish non-resident tax returns.
Whether you’re worried about paying too much or too little, you need help calculating your tax liabilities or would prefer to appoint a legal representative to handle the matter for you, the experts at Manzanares Lawyers are waiting for your call. We can assist with individual non-resident tax returns, including joint ownership tax declarations, plus taxes for non-resident business owners.
For professional assistance from tax lawyers in Spain, get in touch with us using the contact details above to discuss your needs. We’ll gladly provide guidance on preparation, submission, and payment of your Spanish non-resident taxes. If you plan on immigrating to Spain to become a full resident or intend to start a business, Manzanares Lawyers could also help with other aspects of tax planning.
For more information on paying non-resident tax in Spain, please read through our Frequently Asked Questions below, and get in touch with our team when you’re ready.
Non-Resident Tax Spain FAQs
Even if you live in Spain for part of the year, you’ll be classed as a non-resident taxpayer if your permanent address is not in Spain and you only live there for less than 183 days a year. If you stay in Spain for more than 183 days out of the year, then you’ll be considered a resident taxpayer.
Even when spending less than 183 days in Spain, you must apply for residency if you intend to stay in the country for more than 90 days at a time. If you don’t formally register for residency and spend more than 183 days in Spain, but for periods of less than 90 days, you would still become a resident.
If your primary interests and/or primary professional activities are in Spain, then the authorities will also consider you a resident taxpayer even if you don’t live in Spain for more than 183 days a year. For example, if dependent family members like your spouse and children live in Spain full-time, or if you are in employment or self-employment with a business in Spain even without residing there.
Anyone who owns a property in Spain must pay municipal property tax (IBI), and anyone who earns income in Spain must pay income tax on those earnings, including from employment or property rentals. Even if you don’t rent out your property and retain it for personal use, you’ll have to pay a small amount of tax based on its accumulated value (about 2% of the property’s rateable value).
If you sell a property or other assets in Spain, you’ll be liable for capital gains tax. Or, if you have assets located in Spain whose total worth exceeds a certain amount, you may have to pay a wealth tax (ranging from 0.2% to 3.75%). Inheritance tax is applicable if you’re a non-resident beneficiary of a deceased taxpayer’s estate, whether that person was a Spanish resident or non-resident.
The good news for EU citizens who own property in Spain is that you’re entitled to deduct relevant expenses from rental income, and therefore reduce your income tax. These can include things like letting agent and management fees, insurance, and maintenance costs. However, this depends on EU residency and not nationality – you must provide a Residency Certificate with the tax return.
The fiscal year can vary from country to country, but in Spain each tax year runs with the calendar year – from 1st January to 31st December. If you’ve purchased a property in Spain or conduct professional business in the country, whether employed by a Spanish company or self-employed, you’ll have a Foreigner’s Identity Card (NIE), which you must use to register with the tax authorities.
When you register with the Agencia Tributaria (the Spanish tax authority), you must submit a tax return form declaring your income no later than the following December. For example, you’d have until December 2022 at the very latest to declare your income for 2021, with the tax payment due by 31st December 2022. If you’re in employment, your income tax should be automatically deducted.
The IBI property tax for the previous year is usually due between May and August of the following year. If you rent out your property, it gets a little more complicated, as you’ll have to file quarterly tax returns rather than an annual one. These will be due on the 20th of the month in April, July, October, and January. In cases of joint ownership, each owner must file a separate tax return.
There are no extensions for tax payments in Spain, so if you miss the deadline and haven’t paid the taxes due, you’ll receive a fine in the form of progressively added interest. The tax authorities can charge up to 15% on top of the outstanding tax value if you don’t pay over the next year. If you struggle to manage manual taxes, it’s best to hire a Spanish tax solicitor like one of our team.
If you don’t submit tax returns at all to declare income or assets in Spain, the Agencia Tributaria will catch up with you and consider this active tax evasion. They will investigate you to look for evidence of fraud, leading to the freezing of your bank accounts, and the bank reclaiming mortgaged property. They can issue urgent tax payment demands for up to 4-5 previous years of outstanding taxes.
This can get expensive when it all piles up with added financial penalties, and you can’t dodge the Spanish authorities forever, so it’s not worth attempting not to pay. If you believe that you should have filed tax returns and paid taxes in Spain within the last 4-5 years, you can make retroactive Spanish tax declarations. The Agencia Tributaria may reduce the penalties following a voluntary declaration.
Even if you already declare and pay tax on your Spanish income and assets in your current country of residence, you must still submit tax returns in Spain. If your country has a double taxation treaty with Spain, you should be able to claim the Spanish tax back.
Unfortunately, if your country doesn’t have such a treaty in place, you will have to pay the tax twice, in both Spain and your resident country. The Agencia Tributaria maintains a list of countries that have dual taxation agreements with Spain, which currently includes the following countries:
- ⦿ Albania, Andorra, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan
- ⦿ Barbados, Belgium, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria
- ⦿ Cape Verde, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba
- ⦿ Denmark, Dominican Republic
- ⦿ Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia
- ⦿ Finland, France
- ⦿ Georgia, Germany, Greece
- ⦿ Hungary
- ⦿ India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy
- ⦿ Jamaica, Japan
- ⦿ Kazakhstan, Kuwait
- ⦿ Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
- ⦿ Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, Moldova
- ⦿ New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway
- ⦿ Oman
- ⦿ Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal
- ⦿ Qatar
- ⦿ Romania, Russian Federation
- ⦿ Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland
- ⦿ Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey
- ⦿ United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan
- ⦿ Venezuela, Vietnam
States of the former Soviet Union not mentioned above won’t have double taxation exemptions.
Since the UK is no longer in the European Union, British nationals who own property or earn income in Spain will now be taxed as third-country citizens. This means that the UK is no longer eligible for previous exemptions in place for EU member states, so UK nationals are liable to pay the higher non-EU tax rates from 1st January 2021 onwards.
While British citizens previously had to pay the lower non-resident income tax of 19%, they now have to pay 24%. All EU citizen tax benefits, such as the ability to deduct expenses from rental income, no longer apply for owners of Spanish property who primarily live in the UK. Brexit does not affect the double taxation agreement between the UK and Spain.
The UK leaving the EU also means that British nationals will no longer benefit from freedom of movement between EU countries or the Schengen Area. As citizens of a third country, UK nationals must apply for a visa to visit Spain for longer than 90 days, and will have to apply for residency if they plan to stay in Spain for longer than this within any 180-day period.