By Jose Lopez-Avalos

DO you live in Spain for more than 183 days a year?

If so, you are liable to pay tax on all your global income, according to Spanish law.

Many foreigners who live here permanently do not submit annual income tax returns, either out of ignorance or because they are afraid of paying high taxes.

But ignorance of the law is NO excuse; a tax return should be submitted annually, and taxes should be paid where applicable by all tax residents.

Until now, the Inland Revenue has not been on top of foreigners living permanently in Spain.

But due to the financial crisis things have changed and the Spanish Government intends to tighten things up.

Ultimately, the authorities do not want thousands of expats receiving free health care without paying tax.

It is soon to become much harder to get a Spanish health card.

It will no longer simply be enough to just register with the local town hall (called empadronamiento) in order to get treatment.

So don’t dally, now is the time to become a tax resident and submit an annual return for 2011. This should be done during the months of May and June.

Finally pensioners with low monthly pensions will probably not have to pay any income tax as a result of their tax return. However, it is still recommended to submit one (even if the result is zero and no tax has to be paid), to enable them to take advantage of healthcare and other advantages (see box).

For further advice and to arrange a no obligation meeting, please contact Denise Molony on 669 428 998, or at or Jose M Lopez-Avalos on 952 901 225. www.manilva


  1. Ultimately, the authorities do not want thousands of expats receiving free health care without paying tax.

    Will the Oliver Press please clarify matters, if you are a British pensioner living in Spain permanently and have notified the UK authorities of this YOU ARE NOT getting free health care off the Spanish. The Spanish government receives 3500 euros per annum for each ex pat British pensioner. Also for every article I have read saying you have to fill out a tax return I have read another saying you don’t have to if your income is below 20.000 euros as always in Spain getting accurate information which is understood by all is well nigh impossible.

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