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Taxes in Spain: The Best Guide for 2023-2024

Taxes in Spain underwent significant changes in 2023, impacting both individual and corporate taxpayers.

The Spanish Government introduced a package of tax measures effective in 2023, including both structural changes and temporary measures applicable for the years 2023 and 2024.

It’s crucial for residents and non-residents alike to understand these changes to navigate the tax landscape effectively.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what i specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

This article isn’t formal tax, legal or financial advice, and is only written here for informational purposes.

The facts might have also changed since we wrote this article.

Understanding the Spanish Tax System

Categories of Taxpayers in Spain

Taxes in Spain differentiate significantly between residents and non-residents. Individuals who live in Spain for more than 183 days a year are considered tax residents and are subject to different tax rates compared to non-residents.

For instance, the Personal Income Tax (IRPF) is progressive for residents, with rates ranging from about 19% to 48%, depending on income and the autonomous community.

For non-residents, a fixed rate applies; for instance, EU citizens pay a 19% rate, while non-EU residents pay 24%. In Spain, individual and corporate taxpayers are subject to different taxes and rates.

Corporate Income Tax, for example, is a flat rate of 25% on profits, irrespective of the income level. This differs from the progressive tax rates applied to individual income.

Additionally, companies in Spain may be subject to Transfer Tax (Impuesto sobre transmisiones de patrimoniales or ITP), which is applicable to various corporate operations like capital increases, mergers, or divisions.

The Structure of Spanish Taxation

Spain’s taxation system is broadly categorized into direct and indirect taxes. Direct taxes, such as the Personal Income Tax and Corporate Income Tax, are levied based on income or assets.

Indirect taxes, on the other hand, are applied to economic transactions, such as the Value Added Tax (VAT), which is typically at 21% and affects consumption and transactions regardless of the legal form of the entity involved.

The Spanish tax system exhibits a blend of national and regional competencies. While certain taxes are regulated and collected at the national level, others, like the Wealth Tax (Impuesto al Patrimonio), are subject to regional variations.

For example, the Wealth Tax rates range from 0.2% to 2.5% and are applicable on assets exceeding €700,000. However, autonomous communities in Spain have the authority to regulate this tax differently; Madrid, for instance, does not levy this tax.

Income Tax in Spain (IRPF) for 2023-2024

Determining Tax Residency

Taxes in Spain significantly depend on whether one is a tax resident. In 2023, individuals are considered tax residents in Spain if they meet at least one of the following criteria: spending more than 183 days in Spain during a calendar year.

When calculating this period, temporary absences still count towards the 183 days, unless the individual can prove tax residency in another country.

This residency status affects the tax rate applied to an individual’s income, with rates for tax residents in Spain ranging between 19% and 23%, and a flat rate of 24% for non-residents living outside Europe. Non-residents in European countries face a fixed rate of 19%.

Taxes in Spain
Spain’s double tax agreements provide relief from double taxation on income and gains taxed abroad.

Taxable Income Categories

The taxable income categories in Spain are comprehensive. For tax residents, income taxes are levied on various sources, including employment, business, and investment incomes.

The tax rates in 2023 for income are as follows: up to €12,450 at 19%, and income between €12,451 and €20,200 at 24%. Higher income brackets face progressively higher rates, peaking at 47% for incomes over €300,000.

Deductions and Allowances

Personal and family-based deductions are vital in reducing taxable income in Spain.

In 2023, individuals can deduct various employment-related expenses, such as social security contributions, mandatory contributions to mutual benefit societies, union dues, legal defense expenses, and other expenses up to €2,000. Also, employment income with a vesting period of more than two years and irregularly obtained income may qualify for a 30% reduction, with specific limits applied.

Special Deductions for 2023-2024

Special deductions for 2023 include business expenses, real estate income deductions, and deductions from movable capital income.

Business expenses deductible from gross business income include tax amortization, supply expenses partially deductible for business activities conducted from home, maintenance expenses, and health insurance premiums.

For real estate income, deductions include expenses necessary to generate the income, such as interest on borrowed capital, property taxes, and depreciation of the property.

Income from movable capital allows deductions for expenses incurred for administering and depositing securities, and certain types of income qualify for a 30% reduction if they are irregularly obtained or over a two-year period.

Additionally, alimony payments are deductible, and contributions to pension plans are deductible up to €1,500 per year, with additional limits based on business and employee contributions.

Taxpayers can also claim personal and family allowances, which vary based on age, disability, and family circumstances, with specific amounts allocated for relatives in ascending and descending lines.

Corporate Tax Essentials for 2023-2024

In 2023, Taxes in Spain for corporate entities primarily revolve around the standard Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate of 25%. This rate applies to most companies operating within the country.

However, the Spanish government offers a reduced tax rate of 15% for newly-formed companies during the first two years they achieve a taxable profit. This incentive aims to support new businesses in their initial phase of operation.

Taxes in Spain
When filing taxes in Spain, common mistakes to avoid include missing deadlines, incorrect or incomplete declarations, and not taking advantage of available deductions or credits.

A significant change introduced in the 2023 Budget is the reduction of the tax rate from 25% to 23% for taxpayers with a net turnover in the last tax year below EUR 1 million.

This reduction excludes entities that are part of a mercantile group or passive holding companies. The aim of this measure is to alleviate the tax burden on smaller companies, enhancing their competitiveness and financial health.

Notably, special tax rates apply to certain industries, such as banking, mining, and oil and gas, which are subject to a 30% tax rate.

Special Regimes and Incentives

The Spanish tax system recognizes the unique challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and provides tailored incentives to support their growth.

The aforementioned reduction of the Corporate Income Tax rate from 25% to 23% specifically targets SMEs with a net turnover under €1 million.

This initiative is part of a broader strategy to foster a supportive business environment for SMEs, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation across various sectors.

Research and Development Incentives

Spain actively promotes research and development (R&D) activities among businesses. While specific details for 2023-2024 were not readily available, historically, Spanish tax law has provided various incentives for companies engaging in R&D activities.

These incentives typically include tax credits and deductions, aiming to stimulate innovation and technological advancement. Companies involved in R&D can expect to benefit from these incentives, contributing to their growth and competitiveness in the global market.

VAT (IVA) in Spain: What’s New in 2023-2024?

The Value Added Tax (VAT), known as IVA in Spain, has undergone some changes for 2023. As of January 1, 2023, the Spanish government implemented temporary VAT reductions on certain products until June 30, 2023.

For example, olive and seed oils, and pasta, which were previously taxed at 10%, are now charged at a 5% VAT rate.

Additionally, items such as common bread, certain types of milk, cheeses, eggs, and a range of natural products like fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, and cereals, previously taxed at 4%, are now subject to a 0% VAT rate.

VAT Exemptions and Special Cases

Exports and International Services

Traditionally, exports and international services are exempt from VAT in Spain. This policy aims to encourage international trade and services by removing the tax barrier, making Spanish products and services more competitive in the global market.

Businesses engaged in exporting goods or providing services internationally can benefit significantly from this VAT exemption.

Cultural, Educational, and Health Products

In addition to the temporary VAT reductions for 2023, the Budget Law 31/2022, passed on December 23, 2022, reduced the VAT rate for feminine hygiene products, condoms, and other non-medicinal contraceptives to 4%.

This reduction demonstrates the government’s commitment to making essential health products more accessible and affordable for the population.

Such measures reflect the government’s broader strategy to support cultural, educational, and health-related products by applying lower VAT rates or exemptions, thereby promoting public welfare and social development.

Taxes in Spain
The taxable income categories in Spain are comprehensive.

Wealth Tax and Property Taxes in Spain

Taxes in Spain encompass various elements, including the Spanish wealth tax, which remains unchanged for 2023.

This tax ranges from 0.2% to 2.5% and is payable annually on worldwide assets for Spanish residents. Individuals whose total assets exceed €1,000,000 are subject to this tax.

However, in regions like Andalucía and Madrid, residents currently do not pay wealth tax. Instead, they are subject to a new solidarity tax if their worldwide wealth is above €4 million, with rates between 1.7% and 3.5% for net assets over €3 million.

The Wealth Tax is a direct tax levied on the personal net wealth of individuals, due on December 31st each year. Regions like Galicia and Navarre have distinct succession regulations, different from the general succession regulations applicable in the rest of Spain.

According to Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government, nearly 23,000 people will be impacted by the new asset tax in 2023 and 2024 if their wealth surpasses 3 million euros.

Property Tax for Homeowners and Investors

In Spain, the property tax, known as IBI, varies from 0.4% to 1.1% of the property’s cadastral valuation. For instance, owning a flat worth €350,000 would result in an IBI between €500 and €700 annually.

VAT is charged at 10% of the purchase price, with stamp duty at 1.2%. All property owners in Spain must fulfill annual tax obligations, which include Income Tax (encompassing Capital Gains Tax) and Real Estate Tax (IBI).

This obligation applies to both residents and non-residents, with residents also being subject to a scale between 19% and 23%. Additionally, residents can obtain tax relief if they have lived in the property for at least three years before selling it.

Starting from April 2023, the transfer tax for primary residences has been reduced from 10% to 7%, while the tax for second homes has increased from 10% to 11%. While the VAT rate is expected to remain stable in 2023, the Spanish government may adjust the tax system as needed.

Local Taxes: IBI and Plusvalia

The IBI (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles) is a local property tax imposed by municipalities in Spain. It is based on the cadastral value of the property and varies depending on the location and type of property.

This tax is mandatory for all property owners and must be paid annually. Plusvalia is another local tax in Spain, charged by municipalities. It is levied on the increase in the value of urban land at the time of its sale.

The amount of this tax depends on the period the property was owned and the increase in the land’s value during that period. However, it’s worth noting that Plusvalia has been subject to legal scrutiny and changes, so it’s essential to stay updated on the latest regulations concerning this tax.

Tax Filing and Compliance for 2023-2024

For taxes in Spain, adhering to key dates and deadlines is crucial for compliance. The exact deadlines can vary depending on the type of tax and individual circumstances.

Generally, income tax returns are due between April and June of the year following the tax year. For wealth tax, the deadline usually aligns with the income tax filing dates.

Property taxes such as IBI are typically due in the second half of the year, but the exact dates can vary by municipality. It’s important for taxpayers to consult with local tax authorities or a tax advisor to confirm specific deadlines.

Taxes in Spain
In Taxes in Spain, financial products such as pensions, savings plans, and investments play a crucial role in tax efficiency.

Digital Filing and Online Resources

Spain has increasingly embraced digital solutions for tax filing. Taxpayers can file most of their taxes online through the website of the Agencia Tributaria (Spanish Tax Agency).

This includes income tax, wealth tax, and declarations for non-residents. The online platform offers convenience and efficiency, allowing taxpayers to manage their tax obligations from anywhere.

The Use of AEAT’s Online Portal

The AEAT’s online portal is a comprehensive platform for managing various tax-related tasks. It allows taxpayers to file returns, make payments, check their tax status, and access personal tax information.

The portal also offers tools for calculating taxes and simulating different tax scenarios, which can be particularly helpful for planning and decision-making.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When filing taxes in Spain, common mistakes to avoid include missing deadlines, incorrect or incomplete declarations, and not taking advantage of available deductions or credits.

Non-residents often overlook their tax obligations, leading to penalties. Another common error is the incorrect valuation of assets, especially for wealth tax purposes. To avoid these pitfalls, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a tax professional, especially for more complex tax situations.

Tax Planning Strategies for 2023-2024

Taxes in Spain offer various opportunities for optimizing tax credits and deductions. For individuals, personal allowances differ based on age: under 65 years old can claim €5,550, those aged 65 and over get €6,700, and for those over 75, the allowance is €8,100.

Child allowances range from €2,400 for the first child to €4,500 for each additional child. Additional allowances include €2,800 per annum for childcare for children under three years old and specific deductions for taxpayers with lower earnings.

Capital gains from the sale of real estate enjoy an indexation allowance, with taxation rates for residents ranging from 19% to 26% based on the amount. Notably, capital gains on the main residence are not taxable if reinvested in a new main residence.

Businesses can benefit from a rollover relief regime for capital gains, deferring tax over seven years if reinvested in similar fixed assets.

For self-employed individuals, the Estimación directa normal regime calculates tax based on standard accounting rules, while the Estimación directa simplificada regime offers an extra allowance for doubtful expenses.

Losses in trading can offset other income in the same or future years, and small businesses maintaining or creating employment enjoy a 20% reduction in taxable trading income.

Rental income is also a key area in Taxes in Spain. Non-residents are taxed on deemed rental income for urban real estate not rented out or used as a second residence.

Expenses related to rental properties, including mortgage interest and repairs, are deductible for residents and EU non-residents. Savings income, including interest and dividends, faces progressive taxation ranging from 19% to 26%.

Employment income includes various taxable and exempt benefits, such as employer contributions to pension schemes and certain benefits in kind like subsidized meals and health insurance.

The maximum deduction for contributions into private pension plans is €1,500. Tax credits in Spain cannot produce a refund, but payments on account and tax withheld at source can.

Deductions for main residence purchases apply only to properties bought before 2013, with tax relief of 15% on expenditures up to €9,040.

Financial Products and Tax Efficiency

Pensions, Savings Plans, and Investments

In Taxes in Spain, financial products such as pensions, savings plans, and investments play a crucial role in tax efficiency.

The reduction in the maximum allowable deduction for private pension plans to €1,500 impacts individual tax planning, prompting a review of investment strategies.

Taxpayers should consider diversifying their portfolios to include assets with favorable tax treatments, like certain savings accounts and investment funds.

International Taxation and Double Tax Treaties

Taxes in Spain for expatriates and foreign investors require careful navigation, especially regarding residency status and source of income. Non-residents are taxed differently, particularly on income sourced within Spain, such as rental income from Spanish properties.

Expatriates who become tax residents in Spain must understand their liability on worldwide income and the available relief under double taxation agreements. This includes understanding the tax implications of overseas assets and income, including pensions, rental income, and capital gains.

Avoiding Double Taxation

Spain’s double tax agreements provide relief from double taxation on income and gains taxed abroad. These agreements ensure that individuals and businesses are not taxed twice on the same income.

The relief is generally the lower of the foreign tax paid and the Spanish tax due, calculated at the average rate.

Understanding these agreements is crucial for international taxpayers and businesses operating across borders. Efficient tax planning involves leveraging these treaties to minimize overall tax liability, ensuring compliance with both Spanish and foreign tax laws.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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