MAGNA: Wealth Management

New Spanish overseas undeclared asset rules are now in force

Category : Latest News · by Dec 3rd, 2013

SpanishNewRulesExpats who are tax-resident in spain must begin reporting to the tax authorities in spain any overseas assets they hold worth more than 50,000 euros.

The new rules came into effect on January 1, 2013.

Non-Spanish residents with offshore holdings must provide details of their non-Spanish assets between January 1, and March 31, 2013. The new rules were only published at the end of October so many advisers and their clients have had little time to prepare.

Quoting from International Adviser’s article on January 2nd, (see—regulation/expats-in-spain-warned-to-declare-offshore)

Under the new rules, failure to declare any amount worth more than €50,000 in any single asset class, or to report on any offshore entities which name the individual in question as a beneficiary, would result in a combination of a tax and fine that could not only empty out the offshore account completely, but could leave the individual owing the Spanish tax authority -  La Hacienda – even more.

For example, an expat living in Spain who was discovered to have €300,000 in an undeclared offshore account would see this nest egg taxed at the top rate of 52%. But the fine for having failed to declare this would be 150% of the 52%, meaning that he would not only lose all of his savings, but he would owe the tax authority an additional €90,000, according to Vince De Stefano, managing director of Totus, which specialises in looking after expats in Spain. In addition to the name and address of the financial institution holding their accounts, Spanish taxpayers with offshore accounts will be asked for all their relevant account numbers; the dates that their accounts were opened, closed or changed in any way; their account balances as of 31 Dec; and the average account balance in all the relevant accounts in the final quarter of the year.

Individuals are considered resident in Spain for tax purposes if they spend more than 183 days in Spain in one calendar year (or live on a boat within 12 nautical miles of Spanish land during that time); if Spain is “the centre of [their] economic activities”; and/or if their spouse and/or their dependant minor children live there, regardless of how many days the individual in question actually spends in the country. The new rules come into force just a month after a tax amnesty ended. Under that scheme, Spanish taxpayers with undeclared taxable assets were given the opportunity to declare them in return for having to pay no more than a flat 10% levy.

Expat Pensions’ Managing Director Angela South said:

“The final details are yet to be published and we expect to see them in next few weeks. These assets must be declared in their next tax return, or face punitive levels of fines. Our core advice stands – you should consult your tax consultant and financial adviser to make sure you do not fall foul of these new rules.”