Spanish tax office sets sights on pensioners

LAST UPDATED: 28 May, 2014 @ 13:18
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Spanish tax office sets sights on pensioners

THE Spanish tax agency has launched investigations into more than 27,000 retired expats and returned Spanish nationals for failing to declare their pensions from abroad.

Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said the retirees are ‘not being treated as fraudsters’ and that his agency will ‘avoid harming the financial position of those affected’ as far as possible.

But the agency does intend to implement repayment measures.

Socialist party spokesman Antonio Hurtado believes, however, that it is unfair to treat pensioners as criminals, considering 30,000 fraudsters benefitted from a tax amnesty in 2012.

He said their only crime is having been misinformed by the Inland Revenue regarding the treatment of their pension abroad.

“The fight against fraud is focusing on the people who are actually contributing to the economy and not where there really is a major fraud,” he concluded.

According to Finance Minister Montoro, the percentage of the group being investigated is actually ‘very small’, compared to the 800,000 actions undertaken by the agency last year.

12 COMMENTS

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  1. So my wife is a British ex pat old age pensioner regarded as a tax fraudster by the Spanish government, no wonder British ex pats are leaving in droves. Good luck Spain when we’ve all left and you are up to your neck in the sh** sorry bigger sh** than you are now. I didn’t know that the main qualification to be a Spanish politician was to have a degree in idiocy.

  2. Andalucia is being investigated by the EU for 2Billion that went missing

    Hey lets investigate Pensioners /they are all at it as well
    Think you can come out here and violate the Laws of the Spanish State
    The Pensioner will not be spending his time in the Sun or on a golf course but a Spanish jail

  3. @ Peter…Forgive me quoting the obvious, but if you are a tax resident here using the criteria legally established, then is it not obligatory to present a tax declaration before the end of June each year?…If you don’t, then why do people expect Hacienda to say “no pasa nada”…If people “are leaving in droves” because they don’t like paying their dues then they are indeed “tax fraudsters”.

    Sr Hurtado is wrong…The UK inland revenue don’t “misinform”…They make it quite clear (always supposing you ask the question) what the income declaration obligations are when you inform them you no longer live in the UK.

  4. How about the tax office sorting themselves out first? My husband who is now 66 and 3 months, still has not received a single euro of pension from the Spanish Authorities, despite being autonomo for 15 years and resident for 19 years. Fortunately, he gets his English pension and I am working, and they did say he will get his back pay, but the querstion is WHEN? he has waited for 15 months, is he going to be dead before he receives anything?? Just a joke. Keep getting fobbed off with they have not received the paperwork from Britain (who assure us they have sent on 4 separate occasions)

  5. My Partner paid into the Spanis system for over 15 years, it took over a year and a half for the Spanish to sort out his Pension, it was agreed UK would pay half and Spain would pay the other half. After a couple of years the Spanish reduced their half by half again with out explanation. After over a yer of tooing and froing with all sorts of paperwork this still has not been sorted out. And apparantly this is happening to many Foreign residents. Illegal im sure, and when they do decide to pay it back there will not be any interest pais although if they think you owe them money they quite happily add it.

  6. @ Fred, Without wishing to provoke arguments about the pros and cons of “living here”, if you are in effect a tax resident by virtue of the number of days in Spain and, “you live like a tourist”, that is to say without making a tax declaration, one day Hacienda will catch up and then they will screw you for every cent they can. Bad advice Fred.

  7. Brian, I was just making the comment that residing here and moving tax systems is not always easy. It’s fraught with problems and I hear a never-ending stream of such problems from friends and clients. You can live “like a tourist” (figure of speech btw) legally in Spain. Just reside here less than 183 days a year. Is that not legal? I have friends who now do that and it works out much better as there is less hassle with red-tape. They gave up their Spanish residency and either rent/live in the UK for the summer and send the winter in Spain. That was what I meant anyway.

  8. @ Fred….Yes, perfectly legal and I too know people who do just that….But, if Hacienda think that someone is swinging the lead, then the onus is on the tourist/resident to prove where they were during the tax year…Not easy if taken by surprise. And as we all know the little guy is an easy target, especially here where access to a victim’s bank account is just a click away in order to enforce an embargo. If you “live here” on the 183 border line, best to keep documents.

  9. Yes, you must keep documentation, papers, receipts etc. A friend uses his bank records for this purpose, and that has placated Hacienda. Spanish law is drafted in such a way that you must prove you are not resident here, and not the other way around. Passports are now read electronically now at some airports, but don’t trust in that. Spain needs to get its act together to entice more people to reside here, unfortunately they did the opposite in the form of new tax and residency laws. People rarely examine such laws when purchasing property here, and end up getting some nasty surprises. Yes, lots of properties are being sold, but how many as purely holiday homes? The vast majority I would think. Never move all your money here either, the country is obsessed with fines and embargos.

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