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
Buy a nice place in the Cotswalds. Sure, it’ll be less sunny, but you’ll never have all this hassle and worry.
And thay wonder why nobody is buying Spanish. Homes,
I suspect when the Spanish government has driven foreign investors out all together they will be happy.
They’re just making room for the Russians. Roubles will do. Lovely Jubbly.
Yes stefanjo and they will bring their guns, drugs and human trafficking rings with them.
Peter: The Russians will bring drugs to Spain? Coals and Newcastle spring to mind. You’re right about the guns and poncing though.
I think you said it there Fred, less sunny… no thanks!
I’d rather be really worried about everything in the sun
“I’d rather be really worried about everything in the sun”
As many expats have found out, the Sun is not everything, and many would trade the climate for the legal hassles and expenses.
Sorry but none of the costs/taxes described in this article are excessive. They are the going rate for Spain and many other European countries, and have been for many years. For a property that was worth €199k in 1987 you’d expect to pay about 40k in fees and taxes on a transaction 25 years later (assuming it has increased in value). And since they have owned this property in Spain for 25 years, I don’t understand why any of this has come as a shock to the Wintons – it’s what honest tax payers have been paying for years.
I cannot remember when I last read so much rubbish, and Chopera at least addresses the issue while the other comentaristas just seem to accept what was written, thus giving rein to stupid and uninformed remarks.
All is also complicated by an editorial error in the original article that stated, ‘The buyer, wanting to make as much profit as possible on the property, would only sell to an off shore company….’ when it should have said ‘the seller’ at the beginning of this sentence.
None of any of this is very encouraging at a popular cultural and/or professional editorial level.