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English speaking lawyers in Malaga (Andalucia / Costa del Sol) specialized in urban & rustic property law

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FREE CHECK SPANISH MORTGAGE WITH FLOOR CLAUSES

floor clause mortgage spain

CLOSER TO A DEFINITIVE SOLUTION FOR THOSE AFFECTED

The first thing I would like to do is inform you that C&D Solicitors has signed a collaboration agreement with the Sevillian law firm Gallego & Rivas, which specialises in financial and banking law.

On the basis of this agreement, Gallego & Rivas have offered to study the documentation of homeowners who may be affected by a “floor clause” (cláusula suelo) in their mortgages, free of charge. At the end of this article, we will explain how those affected can get access to this service.

First of all: What is a “floor clause”? A mortgage is said to have a “floor clause” when, in a variable-interest mortgages, there is a clause in the Deed of the Mortgage Loan establishing that the interest for this mortgage cannot be lower than a certain threshold.

In other words, in this case, the mortgage cannot benefit from a low interest rate and from the successive drops that may occur, as the minimum interest rate is “shielded” and any interest rate set below the one established in the “floor clause” cannot be applied. For several years, the Euribor rate has been very low and these clauses have represented considerable losses for many customers.

For the last few years, there have been many legal proceedings in Spain brought by people affected by “floor clauses” in their mortgages. In fact, almost five years ago, we published our first article about this matter, echoing the first judgments. We should keep in mind that mortgages with “floor clauses” were common until 2009 or 2010.

Most judgments have sided with the complainants. Likewise, the Supreme Court pronounced itself in May 2010, declaring these clauses null.

So far, the legal arguments are clear so people with a “floor clause” in their mortgages have a very good chance of obtaining a favourable ruling. Such ruling would order the bank to eliminate the “floor clause” of the mortgage, as well as to return the money that customers have overpaid in their mortgages, in addition to the legal costs of the proceedings.

In its judgment of May 2013, the Supreme Court, in its legal reasoning, only ordered the banks to return the money unduly charged to customers from 9 May 2013 and not since the clause started to be applied to the customer. I.e. what was unduly charged before that date was not eligible for a refund.

The Supreme Court appealed to the economic turmoil that it could represent for banks to return the total amounts unduly charged to customers before 9 May 2013 as, considering that there are thousands of mortgages affected by a “floor clause”, banks would be forced to refund billions of euros to their customers.

Due to the controversial nature of this legal reasoning, a Commercial Court in Granada raised a prejudicial question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) so that it would pronounce itself on whether banks should refund the amounts overcharged to their customers from moment that the “floor clause” in their mortgages was applied instead of from 9 May 2013.

On 26 April, the CJEU held the public hearing on these proceedings and, on 12 July, the advocate general of the CJEU will present his findings. At the end of the year, we will know whether Spanish banks will have to return everything unduly charged or just the amount overcharged after 9 May 2013.

It seems that there are good chances that the CJEU considers that everything unduly charged to every customer with a “floor clause” must be refunded. The decision is transcendental since –according to some sources– we are talking about 7 thousands millions of euros.

These 7 thousands millions of euros would be added, to the 5 billion euros that banks are estimated to be required to refund to customers, for everything unduly charged from 2013 to the present day.

Regardless of the date set by the CJEU, “floor clauses” are abusive and those affected have the right to file a complaint to get their money back. This is why we have signed an agreement with the law firm Gallego & Rivas, which has offered to study the documentation of homeowners who may be affected by a “floor clause” (cláusula suelo) in their mortgages and provide them with a short report on their situation.

The study of this documentation would be free of charge and legal advice would also be provided to recover the money lost and the cost of the proceedings. Customers can then decide whether they want to initiate legal proceedings.

Later, according to the number of persons interested in taking legal action against their banking institution, we could set up a day at our office in Torrox-Costa (Malaga) so that those affected by a floor clause in their Mortgage Deeds can get first-hand contact with Gallego & Rivas.

Ultimately, the affected person will get a specialist lawyer to study his case at no cost and advise him of the potential actions he may take to recover the money, as well as the cost of the proceedings.

If you are interested in getting this consultation free of charge, the way to proceed is to contact us at info@cdsolicitors.com, giving us your contact details and sending us a copy of your Mortgage Deed as well as the latest invoice for your mortgage loans. We will be happy to help you and clarify your legal status.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (Lawyers)

Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Nerja/Andalucia)

 

NEW REGISTRY HOLIDAY HOMES ANDALUSIA

Registration tourist homes in Andalusia

New registry holiday homes Andalusia

A new decree (28/2012, of 2nd of February) about homes for tourist purposes in Andalusia, will enter into force on 12 May 2016. The aim of this decree is to regulate the large market of homes belonging to individuals and let by them as a holiday accommodation at different periods throughout the year.

These lettings, by days or weeks, as well as the use and terms of the lease, were not regulated until now. Therefore, the purpose of this Decree is to ensure that these homes meet a series of minimum requirements to be let, establishing the rights and obligations of both owners and customers and requiring the registration of the homes.

Clearly, this Decree has a significant impact in Andalusia, especially in Costa del Sol and Axarquía, for touristic cities like Granada, Malaga, Seville, and municipalities such as Nerja, Malaga, Torrox, Fuengirola, Marbella, Mijas, etc., which have many homes used for rentals of this type.


What is a home for tourist purposes?

These are homes located on residential land, offered in exchange for a price for the accommodation of people on a regular basis and with tourist purposes. Homes are understood to be let on a regular basis for tourist purposes if they are marketed or promoted in a tourist marketing channel. E.g.: Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Windu, property agencies, etc.

If you are the owner of a home on residential land in Andalusia and, during the year, you offer it for letting for days or weeks, this home will have tourist purposes. Therefore you must comply with the regulations of this Decree if you wish to continue to engage in this activity legally.


Which homes are excluded from this regulation?

Rural homes (houses in the country side) offered for holiday letting are not regulated by this decree. However, they do have the obligation of registering as a tourist home in the rural environment (Vivienda de Turismo en el Medio Rural). Therefore the owners of these homes must also register them before the Government of Andalusia but under a different regulation.

Homes let by the same person for two consecutive months or longer are not considered holiday homes and, therefore, do not need to register. This refers to homes let under a lease agreement for a period exceeding 2 months.

If, during the year, you let your home for over 2 months but you also let it for days or weeks, you will have to register it. Lettings exceeding 2 months and lettings for days or weeks are compatible in the same home.

An exemption to the application of this Decree is established when a single person has 3 or more homes for holiday lettings, within a radius of approximately 1 km. In this case, this Decree will not be applicable and regulations on tourist apartments will apply.


What does this Decree entail?

The obligation to register any home on urban land that the owner whishes to use for holiday letting before the Registry of Tourism in Andalusia. Once the home is registered, a registration number will be issued that must be displayed when offered for letting. The home only needs to be registered once and the registration number can be used for subsequent letting. The owner is the one legally responsible for registering the home and this home can´t be used for holiday letting unless it is registered before the Government of Andalusia by 12 May this year.


What are the registration requirements?

  • The home must be on residential (urban) land.
  • It must have a Licence of First Occupation. If it does not have the initial occupation permit, a certificate from the City Hall showing the location and use of the home should be accepted, but we are waiting for the written confirmation of the Junta of Andalusia.
  • Depending on the season, all accomadations need to be equipped with cooling and heating. In this case, the period for the owner lacking these installations is extended until 12 May 2017 and the property may be let during that period.
  • The home must have the essential furniture and furnishings required for the total amount of persons it is rented out to.
  • first-aid kit is required.
  • It must have tourist information about the area, showing places to visit, restaurants, etc. A small tourist guide or advertisement from the corresponding tourist office can help you meet this requirement.
  • It must have complaint and claim forms available to customers in a visible place.
  • The home must be cleaned upon the check-in of new customers.
  • Linen and tableware appropriate for the number of people.
  • Contact telephone number to handle problems and emergencies.
  • Information and instructions about the appliances/equipment in the home must be available in a specific place.
  • Information must be provided about internal rules for the use of facilities, according to the regulations of the Residents' Association (community rules).
  • The maximum amount of people allowed in the property is 15.
  • In case you are renting out a room, instead of the entire house, the maximum amount of people allowed per room is 4.
  • All bedrooms must have external ventilation through windows.


What are the obligations for each customer?

A contract document must be signed by all parties, showing the details of the property, the owner, the number of days of stay and the price of accommodation, as well as the identification of people with a copy of their passports or residence cards. We are talking about a simple document of just 1 or 2 sheets, that the owner must keep for a period of 1 year.

Likewise, the owner must notify the Guardia Civil (police) of the occupation of the home with each new customer. The owner must provide a copy of the contract and the passports/identity cards of occupants.


What happens if I don't register my home in this registry?

Inspection services may review the situation and begin penalty proceedings. Be careful, because the fine may range from 2,000  to 18,000 Euros.

Furthermore, you have the obligation to allow inspectors to enter the home when they visit it to verify that it meets the requirements for letting. If you do not allow inspectors to enter the home, you could be fined for very serious misconduct, with a large penalty.


What else does this Decree regulate?

Among other things, it regulates the rights of customers in cases where there is a conflict with the owner regarding the price of the letting, check-in and check-out times, advance payments or deposits for letting, etc. Ultimately, it regulates the terms for prices, booking, advance payments and cancellation, unless otherwise agreed in writing between the parties.


Taxes on income received

This registry is of an administrative nature, dependent on the Government of Andalusia and created to regulate the conditions of holiday lettings. It has nothing to do with the obligation to pay taxes on rental income. Likewise, if your home is registered in this Registry but you do not rent it out, it will have no cost to you.

The payment received for letting a home -either for holidays or long-term (longer than 2 months)- must be declared before the Tax Agency, which depends on the Central Government. The income tax you pay depends on the fact wheter you are a fiscal tax-resident in Spain (IRPF tax) of not (IRNR tax).


Legal advice

Even though the Decree will enter into force on 12 May, it is already possible to start the process to register homes in this Registry. If you have one or several properties being let as holiday homes you must register them before the Government of Andalusia. We can take care of processing the documents you need to register your home. We can also inform you about all the requirements that your home must meet and your obligations as its owner. Don't hesitate to contact us at 0034 - 952 532 582 or info@cdsolicitors.com

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Nerja/Andalucia)

 

OWNING A BED & BREAKFAST (B&B) IN ANDALUSIA: DREAM OR REALITY?

Bed & Breakfast B&B Andalusia

Owning a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) in Andalusia

Starting a new life with your own B&B in Spain

In recent years, during the course of our work, we have met many foreign customers interested in living in Andalusia Spain, preferably in coastal areas and having their own rural hotel, hostel or Bed & Breakfast (B&B). Many of these customers consider this option due to their attraction to Andalusian climate and culture, with the dream of changing their lives and enjoying life in an extremely charming country.
Taking over a business or starting up yourself?

The main option that customers interested in opening a B&B in Spain contemplate is to buy a business already in operation, with fewer people seeking to buy property to build the business from the ground up.

If you look on the Internet, there are quite a few ads for the sale of rural hotels and B&B´s. Many of these ads offer the method of transferring a business that is already operating, along with the rental or sale of the property where the activity takes place.

During the transfer of the business, its assets, such as customer portfolio, fixed assets, provisions, etc. are valued. This serves the purpose of establishing a transfer price for the business, which must be paid by the new owner interested in continuing the operations.
What is a reasonable ´traspaso´ price for buying an existing B&B?

The valuation of the business (traspaso) is usually based on its income during recent years and on net profit, as well as the value of its fixed assets, i.e., all remodelling, improvements and provisions acquired for said business. Obviously, licences and legal permits required for engaging in such an activity are a key part of the transfer value.

In the transfer method, the rental of the property is usually established, most often with a lease option, or the property may be sold directly to the new owner. It seems more reasonable to choose rental with a lease option for the property during the first years of the business as if, for any reason, the business is not what was expected and the profits or workload are not worth the effort, we would lose the amount paid for the transfer but would not have to remain the owners of a property we acquired for a business we no longer wish to operate.

As you may infer, the operational cost of a B&B may be high enough to justify carrying out, prior to its purchase, a due diligence process about it for the purpose of determining whether the asking price (traspaso) is reasonable. I consider three lines of action very important in this regard:

  1. VALUE OF THE BUSINESS. You should hire an economist, expert, or tax consultant to study the accounting of the business during recent years, including all tax documentation, as well as the accounts submitted at the Commercial Register. With this report, an objective professional, knowledgeable on the matter, will take a snapshot of the financial situation of the business.
  1. BUSINESS LICENCES. In order to check whether the B&B you are seeking to purchase has all the necessary business licences, it is important for an architect to visit city hall and check whether the business is in order and complies with all the legal requirements for its operation. The architect will visit the property to verify that the infrastructure and installations are those legally required for this business and will issue a report of his or her findings.
  1. PURCHASE OF THE BUSINESS. Once you have decided to acquire the business, when preparing all the documentation for the transfer and rental/purchase of the property, it is important for an attorney to intervene so as to guarantee all the obligations of the parties, establish the payment method and protect the buyer from potential problems during its execution. If the property where the business will operate is located in a rural area, as is the case for many of these hotels, the intervention of an attorney is even more important, as these areas are subject to a series of legal limitations that must be reviewed.

Professional advice for your investment will pay back

It is obvious that this complete due diligence process for the B&B makes buying the business more expensive as you may spend a significant amount of money on these professionals and you may end up not buying the business. However, you must consider that spending thousands and thousands of euros, often from your savings or a bank loan, on something, before verifying its value, can lead to a very difficult financial and personal situation.

It is also a good idea to get informed about tourism in that area and expectations for the future. There are statistical data about the occupancy rates for rural accommodation that may help you. For instance, the Institute of National Statistics (INE) periodically publishes detailed occupancy surveys for rural tourism and any other type of accommodation and all this information, in detail and broken down by regions, can be accessed from its website.
New business changes after recession in Andalusia

For instance, on the 1 September, www.escapadarural.com published that rural tourism in Andalusia reached an occupancy rate of 36% in July and August. At the provincial level, 49% of businesses in Malaga were fully booked.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

 

HOMEOWNERS ACTING IN GOOD FAITH, MORE PROTECTION IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE FIELD

Compensation Andalucian home owners in good faith

Compensation demolition Andalucian home owners in good faith

Last 24 June, the Senate approved an amendment that provides greater protection to third-party homeowners acting in good faith in administrative proceedings. This amendment was approved with the favourable votes of the main political groups and introduces a third paragraph in article 108 of Law 29/1998, of 13 July, which regulates contentious-administrative proceedings in Spain.

This new third paragraph provides that: “The Judge or Court, in the cases where, in addition to declaring the construction of a property to violate regulations, it issues a reasoned order to demolish the works and restore the physical reality altered, shall require, as a condition prior to demolition and unless a situation of imminent danger prevents it, the provision of sufficient guarantees to respond to payment of compensation due to third parties acting in good faith.”

In other words, with this paragraph, it is guaranteed that the judge ordering the demolition of a building in administrative proceedings must ensure, prior to the demolition, that third parties acting in good faith that will be damaged by the demolition of their homes will receive compensation. This means that, what this new subsection regulates is that a home may not be demolished if the homeowner cannot be compensated in advance, as it is understood that the homeowner has no reason to suffer these damages when the party responsible for the unlawful act committed by building the home was someone else.

The approval of this new subsection equates the handling of the enforcement of judgments on buildings, which entail their demolition, in administrative and criminal proceedings since, as we explained in our article from March, the criminal code has also been amended in this sense.

The amendment in the administrative field, which gives greater protection to third parties acting in good faith, is even more logical, from a legal standpoint, than the one in the criminal field and, needless to say, represents the correction of a regulatory mistake that resulted in great injustice.

It should be noted that, in contentious-administrative proceedings, courts examine building licences granted by the City and which have been unlawfully granted due to being contrary to the plan of the municipality.

Before this amendment, when a judgment nullifying a licence of this type was handed down, usually, one of the consequences of this nullification was the obligation to demolish the works completed under the licence declared null, without compensating homeowners acting in good faith at the time of demolition in these proceedings. The only option for these homeowners was to start different judicial proceedings either against the City or against the seller of the property, which could take years to be solved and provided no certainty of recovering the investment made. We can thus prevent cases as regrettable as that of Mr and Mrs Prior.

We can affirm that, in judicial proceedings related to buildings, both in the administrative and criminal fields, thanks to these legislative amendments, homeowners who purchase or will purchase a property in good faith, not being responsible for any unlawful act, will enjoy greater protection of their assets and property rights.

Part of what we denounced and explained in an article published in 2013 has been addressed by these changes, even though there is still some way to go and more legislative changes are expected.

This legislative amendment, as the one introduced in the criminal code in March, has been made possible thanks to the work of several associations of people affected from many different areas in Spain, including: AUAN, AMA and SOHA. The continued and persistent work of these associations, their representatives and the lawyers involved have made it possible for all homeowners in Spain who are third parties acting in good faith to enjoy greater legal certainty.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors, (Lawyers)

Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

INHERITANCE TAX IN SPAIN: WE ARE ALREADY EUROPEAN!

Inheritance tax in Spain

Inheritance tax in Spain

In our post of last March on Inheritance and Donation Tax, we discussed about the fact that European non-resident citizens in Spain were experiencing discrimination against resident citizens, because, under the same circumstances, they had to pay more taxes than resident taxpayers.

This unequal treatment happened when the deceased or beneficiaries were non-resident in Spain and they paid taxes in conformance with a State regulation which was more detrimental than the regional one, which was only applied to resident citizens.

This discrimination was confirmed by the European Court of Justice ruling dated 03rd of September 2014, which resolved this issue and established that Spain was infringing the free movement of capital within the EU, because of this separate treatment between resident and non-resident citizens.

On the 1st of January 2015, in order to comply with the aforementioned judgment, the amendment of the State Inheritance Tax regulation has entered into force in Spain. A special scheme has been introduced in regards of the Inheritance Tax, so that non-resident citizens in Spain who are European residents may apply the regional regulation as residents already do, equating their situation.

This new regulation establishes that in the event that the deceased is a European non-resident in Spain, the European non-resident beneficiaries may apply the regional regulation where the most valuable assets are located in Spain. If the beneficiaries are resident in Spain, the regional regulations where they reside shall be applicable.

If the deceased has been a resident in a Spanish region and the beneficiaries are non-resident in Spain, the non-resident beneficiaries shall pay inheritance tax in conformance with the regional regulations where the deceased resided.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that the collection of the Inheritance and Donation Tax in Spain is assigned to regional governments, so that they are free to set forth their own regulations.

The effect of this assignment is that the amount to be paid for this tax by Spanish residents may significantly vary depending on the region where they live. In fact, a fiscal “war” has arisen between regional governments as regards of this tax, because some people have decided to establish their residence in regions with a more favourable tax scheme in order to pay fewer taxes for inheritance and donations, particularly those with more valuable estates.

The most recent and famous case in Andalusia was that of the late Duchess of Alba, who was sentimentally related to Andalusia but not fiscally, because her residence for tax purposes was in Madrid. The main benefit of this fact is that her beneficiaries have had a tax saving of more than 90 million Euros in the Inheritance Tax.

Since non-resident citizens will also enjoy the same Inheritance Tax regulation than resident citizens and considering that the regulation to be applied is that of the region where the most valuable assets are located, this unequal treatment between regions will also affect them.

However, imagine that you are a non-resident in Spain, do not have any property, but you have some money in a bank entity in Spain. In this case, which regulation shall be applicable for your beneficiaries? It seems that the applicable regulation shall be that of the region where the bank registered office is located. Thus, it is not the same a bank entity with registered office in Madrid, Barcelona or Seville, for instance. It has been said “it seems” above, because a definitive answer has not been obtained when contacting the Tax Administration Office in respect of this issue.

In short, these are good news for European foreign citizens and their beneficiaries, and welcome to the regional regulatory “chaos” in respect of Inheritance and Donation Tax.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (lawyer)

Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

SUCCESSFUL DUTCH REAL ESTATE FAIR FOR C&D

Seminar ´Buying a house in Spain

Seminar ´Buying a house in Spain

As we already informed you in our previous news letter, C&D has been present at the Dutch Second Home fair in Utrecht last month. Being the only Spanish law firm on the fair, our daily seminars about the Spanish purchase process turned out to be the best attended during these three days, which proves that Spain is still a very attractive country for the Dutch to invest in. Also more than half of all exhibitors (mainly real estate agencies and developers) were focussed on Spain, which according to the organisation already has been the case for many years now.

In our stand we were able to speak to a lot of people with serious plans on buying a property in Spain, in most cases on the Costa del Sol or even particularly the Axarquia. The main issue in our conversations was to explain the important role of the lawyer during the purchase of a property in Spain. This situation is different from the Netherlands as in this country the lawyer´s work is completely done by the notary. We also got a lot of questions regarding wills and tax issues, for example on the subject of renting out a new bought property.

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (Lawyers) Torrox-Málaga

Stand of C&D Solicitors on Dutch Second Home Fair in Utrecht

Stand of C&D Solicitors on Dutch Second Home Fair in Utrecht

Our daily seminar we held in both Dutch and English and we explained the different phases of the buying process with the various legal documents there are to sign (reservation contract, private purchase contract and the title deeds). Besides of this we gave some background information on the official investigation of the lawyer, by which the future owner can make sure he´ll buy his property with all possible guarantees and free of any risks. (The extended Dutch text of our seminar you can find on the home).

Looking back we can say that this fair exceeded our expectations and has been really successful for us. Not only in the perspective of attracting new clients but also as a learning experience of presenting our company on the Dutch market. Despite of the good weather this Second Home edition in Utrecht attracted around 5.000 visitors.

Author: Francisco Delgado Montilla, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Málaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

NEW TAX LIABILITY FOR RESIDENT TAXPAYERS

New tax liability for resident tax payer in Spain

New tax liability for resident tax payer in Spain

The Spanish Government passed on the 15th of November 2012 a Royal Decree providing the liabilities to inform about assets and rights located abroad. This information is available at http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2012/11/24/pdfs/BOE-A-2012-14452.pdf.

This liability only affects resident taxpayers; non-residents are not liable for submitting this tax return.

Any account in financial institutions and any kind of real property or real property rights of ownership shall be declared, as well as any securities, interests, insurances and incomes, which are deposited, managed or obtained abroad.

Taxpayers shall inform about these assets and rights which they own abroad as at 31st of December 2012.

This tax return shall include any kind of assets and rights provided that the individual value for each of them exceeds EUR 50,000. This includes the following:

-          All accounts in financial institutions—account balances as at 31st of December and average balances for the last quarter.

-          Real property, indicating the purchase date and acquisition value.

-          Real property rights of ownership, indicating the opening or cancellation date.

-          Securities, interests, insurances and incomes which are deposited, managed or obtained abroad as at 31st of December of each year.

The submission of this informative tax return in successive years is only compulsory when the established limit have increased more than EUR 20,000.

The requirements of this tax liability shall be met between the 1st of January and the 31st of March in the following year to which this information refers.

This tax liability refers to both individual residents and bodies corporate which are liable for corporate tax in Spain. Tax form 720 shall be electronically submitted to fulfill the requirements of this tax return.

The recent approval of this tax liability to inform about assets located abroad represents a new control method for liable taxpayers in order to uncover informal economy, tax evasion and money laundering.

Fines are significant and they do not refer to the legal o illegal way of obtaining those assets, but to the fact that they are declared or not. The failure to submit the informative tax return will be considered a very serious infringement and the corresponding sanctions will be applied. This implies the payment of a EUR 5,000 set fine for each point of information which is not declared and the minimum fine amounts to EUR 10,000. The fine for individual taxpayers amounts to EUR 100 for each point of information and the minimum fine amounts to EUR 1,500, where the informative tax return had been submitted after the deadline without previous notification from the Spanish Tax Authority.

It is worth stressing the heavy fines, including for declaration of imprecise information. The above mentioned Royal Decree does not allow misunderstandings. A single mistake may result in a heavy fine. The declaration of incomplete or imprecise information entails the same sanctions. The fact that these assets are correctly declared in the country of origin will never be considered a ground for excluding the liability to pay the fine.

It is also determined that the tax liability to inform shall not be time-barred in respect to the date of origin of the assets and the application of this rule.

If this is your case, please do not wait any longer and prepare all the necessary information for submission to the Spanish Tax Authority in the following days. If you have any doubt or enquiry regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

Author: Francisco Delgado Montilla, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

 

TAX EXEMPTION WHEN BUYING A PROPERTY BEFORE 31/12/2012

Tax exemption capital gain tax sale

Tax exemption capital gain tax sale

Regarding the current financial situation, which is reflected in the drop of property sales in Spain every three months, the Spanish Government has passed a new tax exemption. This exemption tries to promote the sale of properties and may become very interesting for both individuals and bodies corporate considering buying a real estate property in Spain in the short term, whether they purchase commercial premises, homes, offices, garages, plots, storage rooms, etc.

On the 12th of May 2012, the Central Government passed the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 18/2012 of 11th of May on the restructuring and sale of the property assets of the financial sector. This regulation included in its First, Second and Third Final Provisions the tax exemption for bodies corporate and individuals, whether resident or non-resident in Spain. This reform law allows all those buying a property from the 12th of May 2012 till the 31st of December 2012 to pay taxes only on the 50% of the capital gains when selling the property subsequently, whether in 1, 5, 10…etc years, while the remaining 50% is free of charges.

This exemption may save an important amount of money, because if a property is currently sold in Spain, capital gains are taxed at 21% for non-residents (19% from 2014), at 27% for resident taxpayers in Spain (21% from 2014) and at 30% for bodies corporate.

Here we present an example: imagine you are thinking about buying a property in Spain considering the current market opportunities; the price for this property may be EUR 200,000; the following eventual scenarios may occur according to the date of purchase when selling this property, for example, in 2017 for a sale price of EUR 270,000:

1) Non-resident taxpayers: EUR 70,000 of capital gains at 19% makes a total payment of EUR 13,000; if the purchase is performed before the 31/12/2012, the total payment would be EUR 6,650.

2) Resident taxpayers: EUR 70,000 of capital gains at 21% makes a total payment of EUR 14,700. If the purchase is performed before the 31/12/2012, the total payment would be EUR 7,350.

3) Corporate: EUR 70,000 of capital gains at 30% makes a total payment of EUR 21,000. If the purchase is performed before the 31/12/2012, the total payment would be EUR 10,500.

Obviously, this tax saving is not definitive in order to decide whether to buy a property or not in Spain, as it is not possible to know whether prices may go down much more nor the gains resulting from the eventual property sale. However, this fact may be a helpful factor to take a decision for those considering buying a property, especially for those non-speculative potential buyers whose main purpose is to enjoy this property for many years; thus, the longer they own the property, the greater the capital gains may be when selling it. Look at the figures and draw your own conclusions.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

 

MALAGA, AXARQUÍA AND URBAN PROBLEMS.

Corruption Town Hall Alcaucin Axarquia Andalucia

Corruption Town Hall Alcaucin Axarquia Andalucia

I recently read an article in Diario Sur talking about Alcaucín Town Hall. It is still bogged down with the properties built in non building lands.

Consequences arisen from the urban corruption existing in Alcaucin (Malaga) since 2009, has resulted in a lack of legal security for part of the owners and people who are interested in investing in a property around this area of Malaga, provoking, as main conclusion, an important loss on the buying and selling property market, and a horrible publicity abroad of our local institutions and our legal system as well, for a non response in view of the abuse competence of some Town Halls in urban matters and, in the permission of the Andalusian Government, who has looked the other way for many years while the many urban irregularities happened; of course cashing up thanks to taxes and prices for the usufruct and enjoyment of the properties and for asset transfers.

Some of the professionals that work in this area, we wonder why so many legal proceedings are opened where the owners turn out accused. Most of them are not responsible of this illegal urban activity, but they can be seriously affected.

From a legal point of view, most of these procedures would end into nothing because of the prescription of many of the charged urbanizing crimes and because of the possibility of regularization of buildings, as it has been stated by the doctrine. Passing of time in the resolution of these judiciary procedures only provokes an overextension of this chaotic situation.

I do agree in the fact that town halls should be meticulous in the fulfilment of urban rules and that the Andalusian Government must closely watch private as well as local building activities. However, I do not quite understand that there should be a series of judicial procedures opened against illegal urban licenses that have enjoyed a tacit acknowledgement for years due to lack of control; specially, when these acts have been carried out in such an evident way and for such a long period of time.

The intervention line that is being carried upon the misuses of non-urban ground, not only arrives late but it does not solve the problem, thus causing the situation to worsen by overextending the resolution to the problem within the eternal judiciary channels. In many of these procedures the solution will not only be the least adequate but it may not even be possible to re-establish the original status to the illegally urbanised ground, which would be the desired thing to be done in this last instance. All this without taking into account the patrimonial responsibility that this will mean to the city council already in great debt and what’s more, the nullity of the illegal local licenses as well as the prejudices that may arise among those property owners who were counting on the city council to achieve a building permission.

In such a time of chaotic urbanism and autonomic and local irresponsibility associated to periods of growth, it would have been logic to establish a strict action line to be followed from now on, being categorical to all the illegal behaviour and conduct, reaching a consensus on the different competent institutions with logic and coherence by the assumption of responsibility over these illegal acts from those truly responsible. There are always solutions and technical means to be applied if both parts are implied in it.

We finally hope that coherence finally imposes itself. However, if this long period of uncertainty were here to stay, the image of the real estate would be irreparably damaged and the efficacy of the public and professional institutions in question. It will be difficult to overcome this situation because of this feeling of judicial insecurity and chaos in the criteria due to the arbitrary decisions that weaken us all.

 

Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors (lawyers)
Torrox-Costa (Malaga/Costa del Sol/Andalucia)

 

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