Brussels looks at Spanish tax law

HELP may be at hand from Brussels for expatriates who say Spain has no right to demand disclosure of their overseas assets.

On Tuesday November 11, Euro MPs in Brussels asked for investigations by the European Commission to continue following a debate on three complaints from British, French and Belgian citizens, which were delivered to the  European Parliament. 

More than 750 signatures against the controversial Spanish law that forces residents to declare assets owned in other countries worth more than €50,000, were also presented. 

European citizens residing in Spain had been grumbling about the law as many consider it to be discriminatory and feel Hacienda (Spanish tax office) officials insist on knowing more about their finances than spouses do. 

Petitioners’ lawyers Alejandro del Campo and Anthony Valcke pointed out during the debate that many people are re-considering their decision to live in Spain due to the law, which is estimated to affect 2.1 million expatriates. 

The petitioners claimed that the law was discriminatory as Spanish and European taxpayers are treated differently, especially as fines – if declarations are not made or incorrect information is given – are much higher for those who own assets abroad. 

They also declared that Spanish law limits free movement of people and capital and expressed doubts regarding data protection and privacy.

Meanwhile, Spanish Euro MPs Gabriel Mato and Soledad Cabezon maintained that there were good reasons behind the law. 

During a forum on residential tourism held at the end of 2013, Jose Antonio Muñoz Lopez, economist and member of the Andalucian Economy Analysis team, reported that the sector moves almost €3.5 billion on the Costa del Sol and sustains 37,853 jobs. 

There were worries that residential tourism could be hit by the current law, which could affect jobs.

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    • Grahame Wilson

      13 November 2014 • 08:13

      This appears to be a precursor to the introduction of a wealth tax on all domestic and overseas assets. If that day ever comes I will be on the first plane out and will not be alone; there will be a massive exodus of capital from the country. I have friends here in Mallorca who are already repatriating assets to the UK in anticipation of this draconian measure.

    • Steve

      17 November 2014 • 05:08

      I may be in the minority but I don’t see the problem with declaring overseas assets. If you have money overseas it will be earning interest. If you have property you are probably renting it out. In both cases it is income. If you are resident in Spain then Spain in where you pay the tax. If you have paid tax in UK then, having paid tax in Spain you claim back the tax paid in UK. It’s been that way for years. Is it wrong for Spain to check that you are paying the tax due to them? Otherwise it is tax evasion. I don’t object to legally minimising your tax bill but do object to not paying the tax you are legally obliged to pay.


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