This is a very long document, so by clicking on a bold heading you will be taken straight to the relevant section in the document.
1.1 A Tourist
1.2 A Residencia
1.3 The Application
2.1 What is a Community?
2.2 Your Responsibilities
2.3 Your Vote
3. Your Car
3.1 Foreign Plates
3.2 Your Driving License
3.3 Car Tax and Registration
3.4 Car Inspection
4.1 The Declaration
4.2 Income Tax
4.3 Wealth Tax
4.4 Non-Resdient Property Owner Tax
4.6 Tax and your liability in the United Kingdom
5.1 Legal Requirements
5.2 The Arrangements
6. Your Spanish Will
6.1 Making a Will
7. Inheritance Tax
7.1 the Legal Requirements
8.1 Your Choice
9.1 Your Local Council
10.1 Local police
10.2 National Police
10.3 Guardia Civil
10.4 112 Emergency Number
11.1 the Arrangements
Age Care Association wishes to thank David Searl for his advice with this section.
- 1.1. A Tourist
- When you visit Spain for a holiday you are a tourist. The official tourist stay is limited to 90 days, even if you are an EU citizen.
- 1.2. A Residence Certificate
- If you come to live in Spain you need to obtain a Residence Certificate if you are from the EU. If you are non-EU, you must obtain a Residence Permit.
- 1.3. The Application
- If you are an EU citizen, you only need to take to the Policia Nacional the application form and your passport with a photocopy.
If you are from a non-EU country you will need to obtain a visa from the Spanish Consulate in your own country before coming to Spain.
- 2.1. What is a Community?
- The Community of Owners is the Spanish system for managing the joint ownership of common property, such as the lift in a building or the gardens in a townhouse estate. The system is regulated by The Law of Horizontal Property.
- 2.2. Your Responsibilities
- You can attend the Annual General Meeting, or any other meetings. You must pay the Community fees and you must abide by the Community Statutes.
- 2.3. Your Vote
- The community must hold an Annual General Meeting at least once a year. If you have not paid your community fees you can still attend the meeting and speak, but you cannot vote. If you cannot attend the meeting you can give a proxy vote to any person to represent you at that meeting.
- 3.1. Foreign Plates
- You can drive in Spain with your car on foreign plates up to six months in a calendar year, unless you take out a Residence Certificate, in which case you must have Spanish plates immediately. Please note that the police are actively involved in enforcing this rule. The penalties are severe and can result in losing your car.
- 3.2. Your driving licence
- Even as an official resident, you can drive on your EU home country licence. You must, however, pass the Spanish medical exam at intervals, just like the Spaniards. If you are non-resident and you drive a vehicle you own on Spanish plates, you must have an international driving permit in addition to your own driving licence. As a resident you can exchange your EU licence for a Spanish licence.
- 3.3. Car tax and registration
- The municipal vehicle tax each year is paid to the local authority where your car is registered.
- 3.4. Car inspection (MOT – ITV)
- It is compulsory for cars more than four years old to be inspected.
- 4.1. Income Tax Declaration
- You can make the declaration yourself but it would be wise to use a Gestor (a registered administrator) to help you at least in the first year. The income tax declaration is made in May/June for the previous calendar year.
- 4.2. Income Tax
- If you are working it will be deducted from your salary, just as at home, and if you have a business or are self-employed you will have to declare quarterly. If you are retired and resident for tax purposes in Spain you must make a declaration.
- 4.3. Wealth Tax
- Spaniards and foreigners are liable for Spain’s wealth tax on capital assets. This is called the patrimonio tax. However, as of 2008, this tax is charged at 0 per cent and there is no obligation to declare.
- 4.4. Non-Resident Property Owner Tax
- If you own property in Spain but you are non-resident, you must declare each year on Form 214 for non-resident property owner’s imputed income tax.
- 4.5. IVA
- This is the equivalent of VAT and the rates are variable, though you will find 16 per cent often added to the invoice.
- 4.6 Tax and your liability in the United Kingdom
- If you reside in Spain for more than 183 days in any one calendar year you are liable for Spanish income tax. However, Spain has a double taxation agreement with the United Kingdom, so you are not taxed twice.
- 5.1. Legal requirements
- Procedures in Spain are similar to those in the United Kingdom. If the death occurs in a hospital they will deal with the death certificate. If it occurs at home the attending doctor should issue the certificate.
- 5.2. The arrangements
- Contact a funeral director- the local ones all have an English speaking member of staff. They will deal with the legal requirements necessary to obtain the death certificate and arrange for the funeral. Cremation is available in the province of Malaga.
- 5.3. Undertakers
- Age Care Association has the names of one or two undertakers.
- 6.1. Making a will
- It is important to consult a lawyer and make a Spanish will which should refer only to your property in Spain. As a foreigner your own national law permits how you may dispose of your estate.
If you die without a Spanish will, Spanish law dictates how the estate can be distributed, with equal parts going to surviving children.
- 7.1. The legal requirements
- If you are a non-resident property owner, your heirs will surely have to pay Spanish inheritance tax, even if they are close family members. The only large exemptions on family estates apply to residents who leave their property to residents. Make provision now.
- 8.1. Your Choice
- In Spain your solicitor – abogado – is a trained lawyer. In the Costa del Sol area they may speak English. It is important to choose an independent solicitor when buying or selling property, making a will and other matters.
- 9.1. Your local council
- Your local council – ayuntamiento – is important. Here you pay your vehicle tax, your annual property tax, obtain planning permission and register to vote. Some town halls have a foreigners’ department. It is important to register your name on the Padron. Your council’s share of the regional tax pie depends on the number of registered inhabitants.
- 10.1. Local police
- The “Policia Local” are the municipal police. They direct traffic and enforce local regulations. If you have problems in your area or with a neighbour, you can go to the Policia Local and make a denuncia (an official complaint).
- 10.2. National Police
- The national police are well trained and deal with most serious crimes. They also issue the EU residence certificate.
- 10.3. Guardia Civil
- The Guardia Civil provide police service in rural areas. The Guardia Civil de Trafico patrol the highways and man the radar and breathalyser check points.
- 10.4. Emergency Number 112
- In an emergency you can call the telephone number 112. This number is the same for all countries in the European Union. You can reach an English-speaking operator swiftly.
- 11.1. The arrangements
- If you wish to renew your passport this can be done through the British Embassy in Madrid.
If you lose your passport and need an emergency passport you should consult the British Consul in Malaga.