Antonio Flores
Antonio Flores

THE Spanish Tax Office (AEAT) is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

In the past few months, they’ve seriously started to intensify their revenue generation efforts and one example are the hundreds of letters owners of rented property are starting to receive, which contain the following explicit message: “In accordance with the data this Tax Office holds, you have offered your apartment for rental in various advertising outlets, inclusive of internet.

“We remind you that, in case of receiving rental income, you are obligated to declare it along with any other taxable income that we me not know of.”

The interesting part of this is that the AEAT is not just ‘blindly’ mailing warning letters to thousands of property owners who they believe may be inclined to rent their properties.

They now have dedicated teams monitoring rental portals, real estate agencies’ websites and newspapers, direct access to utility companies to check consumption.

What’s worse, they have also have ‘boots on the ground’ versed in door-to-door cold calling and in situ inspections to quiz tenants to obtain that very bit of precious information: are you renting this apartment?

And there is a reason for this: according to a 2016 report commission by Gestha (Syndicate of Tax Experts Of the Ministry of Economy), more than one million rented properties in Spain are not declared to the Tax Office.

Murcia tops the list (61.1%) following by the Canary Islands (55.6%) and Andalucia (55.4%) in third place.

Fines for not declaring rented income range from 50% to 150% of the unpaid tax, plus interest, and a black mark for future reference.

The upside is that there is always a deal to be had with the Tax Office because they rarely have uncontested evidence on length or price of the rental agreement, and will settle for a reasonable sum.

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