1 Jan, 2013 @ 16:29
1 min read

Scaremongering tactics and the facts

Antonio Flores
Antonio Flores

ERYBODY knows there are consequences for not paying tax.

This applies equally to the annual tax return any non-resident Spanish property owner is obliged to submit prior to the end of the calendar year.

It is also well known that in times of financial constraints, many firms competing for business will put their marketing machines to work full steam to try to get as many customers as possible, even if that means employing tactics that verge on scaremongering and other questionable practices.

Below are some examples we have come across:

The Spanish Tax Authority is now taking unpaid taxes direct from bank accounts (as read on an expat forum); They are certainly doing this but not just now.

The tax office works in a relatively modern fashion and it applies throughout Spain and to residents, non-residents, Spaniards and foreigner alike.

Consequences: If you ignore your tax obligations or these letters, your bank account will be frozen until your tax debt is cleared (as read in a Spanish tax advice site); This is not true, bank accounts are not frozen unless a court orders this, as a result of a criminal investigation.

What really happens is that the tax office blocks the sums you owe, you are then notified of this and within 20 days, the sum is transferred to the tax office. You can still use your account during this time.

In general non-payers can expect to have to pay the tax they owe plus interest and a “sanción” which can add between 50% and 150% to the bill.”

This is true, and the percentage of fine will depend on the size of the due tax, whether there has been any deliberate concealment or the use of fraud.

Generally, most if not all taxpayers will fall in the 50% fine category which will also accrue arrears interest.

Where more than four years have passed, the tax office cannot chase the debt.”

This is true, provided they haven’t formally started a procedure to recognise, regularise, check, inspect, guarantee or calculate one or more of the tax bill elements.

Whatever you choose to do with your taxes, it is wise to keep in mind that the hacienda is gradually increasing its pressure: as the American Will Rodgers once said, “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”

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