Under a new law, all Spanish residents are now obliged to report all bank accounts and assets situated outside Spain, where the value is €50,000 or more.
This requirement is being introduced as part of Spain’s new anti-fraud law, which came into force on 29th October 2012, with more detail provided in a Royal Decree approved on 15th November. The aims of this law are to increase penalties for tax fraud; to increase and improve tax collection, and to eliminate the application of the statute of limitations regarding undeclared assets.
If you are tax resident in Spain, you now have to declare all the assets you own outside the country. A new official form will be released shortly for this purpose.
Reporting must be done by the end of the first trimester each year, so your first deadline is 31st March 2013.
Assets to be declared
If you own any of the following assets outside Spain, valued at €50,000 or more, you need to declare them. This applies if you are the owner, the beneficiary, or an authorised signatory, and includes assets held by a trust or fiduciary.
•Accounts held with financial institutions
•All types of immovable property (real estate) and rights over such property
•Shares and securities
•Life insurance policies
•Temporary or lifetime income generated from the lending of money, rights or other assets (including immovables) to foreign entities.
If the total value of your assets in each class is less than €50,000, you are not obliged to report.
Once you have reported the assets the first time, you do not need to report them again each year provided the value of all your reportable assets has not increased by €20,000 or more. Where their value has increased by more than €20,000, you will need to report them again by the next annual deadline.
Information to be reported
The value to be reported for accounts with financial institutions, shares, securities, life insurance policies and other assets is that at 31st December.
In the case of accounts with financial institutions, you also need to report the average balance over the last three months of the year. This category includes all types of bank accounts and deposits, including credit accounts, in all currencies, regardless of whether you have the right to withdraw the funds or not.
For immovable property, the value is the cost of acquisition. You also need to provide information on the type of property, its location and date of acquisition.
Consequences of not reporting
If you fail to report any assets as required by the new law, the costs will be very high once discovered.
The undeclared income arising from the asset will be deemed to arise in the last tax year which is not statute barred – four years in most cases. This effectively abolishes the statute of limitations.
You would have to pay all of the following:
•Income tax at the income tax scale rates where the top rate is over 50% (even if the income would normally be taxed under the savings income regime).
•Late payment interest for the last four years.
•Penalties, which can be as high as 150% of the total tax due on the asset.
•A fine of €5,000 per each piece of unreported data, with a minimum fine of €10,000.
If the tax defrauded exceeds €120,000, it would be considered a criminal offence.
This new reporting obligation is an additional requirement for Spanish taxpayers. You remain obliged, as always, to also fully declare your annual worldwide income for income tax purposes, and your taxable worldwide assets for wealth tax purposes.
Tax planning in Spain has become more of a minefield in recent years as the government raises taxes and introduces new measures to uncover and prevent tax evasion – something it is becoming increasingly good at. It is essential to comply with all your tax obligations in Spain and only use fully complaint tax planning arrangements. Speak to Blevins Franks for advice on your situation.
The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual should take personalised advice.
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This article was written on the 04th of December, 2012.