By Frances Leate
A PROPERTY owner in Spain who has been forced to pay out almost €40,000 has slammed the Spanish government.
Julian Winton, of Middlesex, England, bought a three-bedroom apartment at Alcazaba Beach, Estepona, in 1987 for around €199,000.
The buyer, wanting to make as much profit as possible on the property, would only sell to an off shore company.
Mr Winton, who was buying the holiday home for his three children, purchased a company registered in Gibraltar and made his children the directors.
In recent years the Spanish government has increased its property taxes in an attempt to raise revenue during the economic crisis but these took their toil on Mr Winton, who had also been recently widowed.
He was told he needed to pay €30,000 in tax to the Spanish government or the property could be sold at auction without his permission.
In July 2009, with the assistance of an Estepona-based solicitor, Mr Winton began the lengthy process of closing the offshore company and putting the property directly into the names of his three children.
By the end of 2012 the process had just about been approved, but he was shocked to receive a letter from his solicitors saying he owed more than €39,000.
He said: “It was an unbelievable amount of money which I have had no choice but to somehow come up with.
“It has not been easy.”
Mr Winton’s father-in-law, Laurence Leyens, is a London-based financial advisor and has been trying to assist him in his struggle.
He said: “Many of these extra costs have materialised since the recession hit and after we started the procedure.
“Of course we can understand stamp duty and things like that but resident’s tax and town hall tax were all a nasty shock to us.
“We think it is very unjust. The family can just about afford it but what would we do if we couldn’t? We would have lost the home altogether.”
How it all adds up
Notary & Registry fees €2,000
Stamp duty €6,375
Non-resident tax €12,750
Solicitors fees €5,142
Town hall tax (Plusvalia tax) €12,695
Police fees €48