Whether you are thinking of moving to Spain or already living here, tax is a major part of your financial life that needs to be considered and planned for carefully.
Tax tips for living in Spain 2023
By Barry Davys
This article is published on: 3rd April 2023
Whether you are thinking of moving to Spain or already living here, tax is a major part of your financial life that needs to be considered and planned for carefully.
1. In the UK, probably the best savings vehicle is an Individual Savings Account (ISA). This is because the income and capital growth is free of income tax and capital gains tax. It is, however, a UK tax scheme and is not recognised in Spain. Selling your ISA whilst you are still a UK tax resident can save you paying tax in Spain both on an ongoing basis and when you sell. There are also options where you can replace the ISA investments with very similar ones in Spain in a tax efficient manner once you have sold your ISA.
2. If you can, take your 25% tax free lump sum from your pension before you come to Spain. Again this is a UK based tax rule and it does not exist in Spain. You may be able to take part of a pension without tax in Spain, but there are rules and conditions. In the UK it is a clear rule and we recommend taking advantage of it. Like the ISA it is possible to reinvest the money with similar investments as you had in your pension on arrival in Spain.
3. You can pay into a UK private pension for up to five years on leaving the UK and continue to receive tax relief on the contributions. You will need to start the pension before you leave the UK. The limit is a maximum of £3,600 per annum but you only pay £2,880. The government will pay your pension company the difference to make it up to £3,600. A husband and wife paying into a pension for five years would qualify for a UK Government “top up” of £7,200. At the end of five years they would have a pension pot of £36,000 which will remain free of income tax and capital gains tax in Spain, until you start taking money from the pot.
4. Do you need to top up your National Insurance Contributions to improve your UK state pension? It is easier to do this before you leave the UK.
5. The sale of a main residence in the UK is free of capital gains tax. In Spain, the rules are different and you may have to pay capital gains tax on the change in value between the purchase price and the selling price of your home. As an example, a £200,000 gain (not at all uncommon if you have had your house for 10 years) could mean a tax bill of £44,800.
6. If you and your family are considering inheritance tax planning, consider making or receiving gifts before you leave the UK. These gifts can be potentially exempt from UK inheritance tax. In Spain, they would be subject to gift tax.
Once you are living in Spain
7. Are you eligible for the “Beckham Law”? This is a law that was introduced to encourage skilled workers to Spain. The tax rate is set at just 24% for your employment income for a period of five complete Spanish tax years. This is the part of the scheme that you will see most heavily promoted.
However, the scheme also allows you to receive capital gains and investment income from outside of Spain without paying Spanish tax. Careful structuring of your affairs can lead to a plethora of planning opportunities. Perhaps the biggest opportunity is selling your UK business and paying 0% tax on the sale. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
8. If you are approaching retirement or retiring to Spain, it is possible to save tax on the income you receive by planning the source of your income. As a brief example, pension income is generally taxed as employment income and taxed at your highest rate. Drawing funds from an investment can result in tax as little as 2%. From another source there can be 0% tax. To benefit from this planning it is important to have an adviser who understands your situation and requirements at the same time as having a clear understanding of how investments are taxed in Spain.
9. Different investments attract different tax treatments in Spain in the same way as they do in other countries. There are investments in Spain that are taxed more than others. Try to use the lower tax ones where the investment matches your requirements. You can benefit from many years without paying income tax and capital gains tax.
10. In Spain, inheritance tax is based on taxing the person receiving the inheritance rather than taxing the estate of the person who has died. If inheritance tax is a concern, with the right advice you can build a plan which manages the amount of tax due. The bedrock of the plan should be that you are not left short of money in later life. Your plan should then match your personal requirements. Some planning is simple and straightforward, so it is worthwhile looking at inheritance planning before events overtake you.
11. Are you considering returning to the UK? It is also worthwhile thinking about the possibility of an unplanned return to the UK if one partner were to die, for ill health or ill health of a family member in the UK such as a parent. If a return to the UK is a possibility, make sure you have the type of investment which will not tax you in the UK for the time you have spent in Spain.
Tax saving tips for Portugal
By Mark Quinn
This article is published on: 17th October 2022
Ideally, tax planning should start before you move to Portugal as this gives you the most flexibility and more planning options. However, residents can still take many steps after their move to reduce tax. Here are our 15 top tips.
Before moving to Portugal
- Review your asset base, do you intend to restructure your investments for life in Portugal? Look at whether they can be surrendered tax-free or at a reduced rate in your originating country, rather than leaving it until after your move
- Utilise any remaining carried forward losses and income and capital gains tax allowances prior to leaving your originating tax jurisdiction
- Take your 25% tax-free pension commencement lump sum (tax free cash) if you are UK resident. This is not available following your move to Portugal and will be taxed
- If you are moving from the UK and are non-UK domiciled, consider using the remittance basis to substantially reduce certain taxes before your move
- If your UK-based pension savings are close to or above the UK Lifetime Allowance (LTA) of £1,073,100 you must consider LTA protection. Any amount above this is taxed at 25% or 55%, depending on how the pension is drawn down. This tax could be avoided or mitigated
After moving to Portugal
- Apply for Non-Habitual Residence (NHR). In the vast majority of cases it is beneficial but please seek personalised advice to confirm how this will affect your position
- If you are NHR, restructure your income sources and assets to take advantage of the tax breaks
- Holding investments directly can give rise to unnecessary capital gains and income tax. Using a wrapper such as a pension scheme, company or life assurance bond, could substantially mitigate tax
- Conventional planning dictates that you should maximise the value left in pension schemes given they are free of UK Inheritance Tax but the NHR regime turns this conventional wisdom upside down as you have a 10-year window to extract pension funds at a very low tax rate of 10%, after which tax can rise to over 50%. Advice must be sought before deciding to do this and must be tailored to your family situation
- Do things in the correct order. For example, if you have losses on certain investments realising these first could allow you to offset these against future gains but if you realise the gain first you cannot do the opposite
- Targeted withdrawal strategies. Funding your lifestyle from certain sources rather than others can save substantial amounts of tax. These may need to be switched over time e.g. when the NHR period ends
- The UK Non-resident Capital Gains Tax rules. If you are selling UK property as a Portuguese resident, only gains made from 6th April 2015 are taxable in the UK with no further tax to pay in Portugal if you have NHR
- If you are selling your home in Portugal capital gains tax is due on 50% of the gain at scale rates. There is main residence relief if you use 100% of the proceeds to buy a new home, but a new relief was introduced which allows certain individuals to invest the proceeds in a pension or investment instead, allowing you to release capital and provide a future income
- You can submit joint tax returns as a couple (you do not have to be married) in Portugal so you can take advantage of your partner’s unused tax bands
- Take advantage of the Portuguese personal deductions. By using your fiscal number when making certain purchases you can reduce your annual IRS tax bill e.g. €250 per taxpayer for general family expenses, €1,000 on health expenses etc
How to reduce your taxes in Spain (legitimately!)
By Chris Burke
This article is published on: 28th January 2022
Taxes are present all over the world. Just because tax rates may seem high here in Spain or because the system may seem complex, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay them! It’s important that you gain an understanding as early as possible on how the system works. By doing so, you may be able to take vital action early which could potentially save you large sums of money by the time your tax bill comes around. In this article, I’m going to provide an overview of the tax situation in Spain whilst offering tips on how to reduce your tax bill legitimately.
First and foremost, it must be said that you do not have the option to choose whether or not to be a tax resident in Spain. Just because the taxes may be cheaper in the UK or the US or wherever you are from, or because you understand the tax system in your home country and not here, it doesn’t mean that you can elect to pay your taxes there. Ultimately, it boils down to if you live in Spain and if so, how many days of the year you spend here. Once you have spent 183 days in Spain in a tax year, which runs from 1st January to 31st December, you are then obliged to declare all of your income and assets and pay tax. These 183 days do not have to be consecutive. For example, in the tax year you could spend 170 days here before then leaving, coming back for a week and then leaving and coming back for another week, taking your total amount of days spent in Spain to 184.
Just because you have a residency card does not mean that you automatically become a tax resident immediately. For example, if your NIE or TIE application gets accepted and you decide to move to Spain in August 2022, and spend 5 months or less living in the country in 2022, in that tax year you will not be liable to tax. Therefore, you would have a few months to assess and take action to protect your assets from Spanish tax before becoming tax resident in the following year.
As a result, it can be highly beneficial if you are planning to move to Spain that you take action early. For example, if you decide to move to Spain in August 2022 and therefore do not become tax resident in Spain in that year, then you can dispose of your assets in that year free of tax in Spain. Therefore, you could sell your property or shares avoiding capital gains tax here and instead pay capital gains tax in your home country. Furthermore, there is no capital gains allowance in Spain. In the UK in 21/22, and 22/23, there is £12,300 capital gains allowance meaning that you will not pay tax on any capital gain up to this amount (which rises to £24,600 if you are married, joint own the asset and combine your allowance with your partner’s).
- August 2022 – Bill moves to Spain
- August 2023 – Having been living in Spain for over 183 days in 2023, Bill sells his house in the UK. As he is now a Spanish tax resident, and this is not his primary residence, he is now required to pay capital gains tax in Spain (supposing he has made a gain on his property)
- August 2022 – Bill moves to Spain
- September 2022 – Having been living in Spain for one month in 2022, Bill sells his house in the UK. As he is not yet a Spanish tax resident, he is not required to pay capital gains tax in Spain and he may benefit from the £12,300 tax free UK Capital Gains Allowance. The first £12,300 of profit made from selling his property may be tax free, depending on other factors such as if he has already used up his capital gains allowance for the year
Alongside the normal income and capital gains taxes, Spain also imposes an annual wealth tax. This wealth tax, although only paid by individuals who own over €700,000 (€500,000 in Catalonia) in worldwide assets, can result in a discouraging annual tax bill. The wealth tax, into which I will go into in more detail in a future article, is only payable at between 0.2% and 2.5% on assets over the annual allowance (€700,000 or €500,000 in Catalonia). There is a way to avoid, or at least mitigate this wealth tax. Following the previous example, if you decide to move to Spain in August 2022, and therefore not spend the required 183 days in Spain which you need to spend to become a tax resident, then you may be able to avoid the wealth tax in Spain by gifting your assets. However, this can prove to be a complicated process so it is recommended that you speak to us directly prior to doing this.
As the tax system in Spain may be different to your home country, financial products and ‘tax wrappers’ that are tax free there may not be tax free in Spain. Taking the UK as an example: ISAs are tax-free wrappers in which any gains or dividends on assets held in this wrapper are not subject to UK tax. However, you need to declare your UK ISA if you are a tax resident in Spain and any gains within this ISA, although it would not be subject to UK tax, would be subject to tax in Spain. Furthermore, in the UK you can draw the initial 25% from your pension tax free. In Spain, the same withdrawal would be taxable, although there is another tax exemption for this who contributed to their pension prior to 2007. For this reason, it’s very important to strategically plan ahead and our advice is straightforward: make the most of your tax-free allowances whilst they are available.
There are various ways in which you can restructure your assets in order to take advantage of tax planning opportunities here in Spain. For example, you can utilise Spanish tax-effective investment arrangements such as the Spanish Compliant Investment Bond (similar to a UK ISA) which will significantly reduce your tax bill compared to holding the same investment outside of this wrapper. You could also transfer your pension to Spain and adjust how you take income from it.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, but the above points go to show that the way you hold, dispose and take income from your assets can make a large difference to how much tax you pay in Spain. However, it many cases it is not as straightforward as it seems and it could be highly beneficial to seek specialist advice as early as possible to reduce future tax liabilities.
If you would like to seek specialist advice, Chris Burke is able to review your pensions, investments and other assets and evaluate your current tax liabilities, with the potential to make them more tax effective moving forward. If you would like to find out more or to talk through your situation and receive expert, factual advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris via the form below, or make a direct virtual appointment here.
How much tax do you pay in France?
By Katriona Murray-Platon
This article is published on: 3rd November 2020
It’s strange to think that this time last year I was in Quebec with my husband and children. Whilst autumn colours in Canada were absolutely splendid, I have really been enjoying seeing the colours of the trees and vineyards in my local area.
France is now in lockdown for at least the month of November. However unlike the previous lockdown schools will remain open and people can still go to work. Although I have become a lot more comfortable working from home online I enjoy my drives to see my clients. If you would like to speak to me about any matter, even if your annual review is not due at this time, please feel free to let me know and I would be happy to arrange a face to face meeting or an online video call. I can come and see my clients because that is my work but it may also be a way of preventing clients feeling isolated when they cannot see other people.
Being flexible is very important at this time. We don’t know what will happen in the future or how Christmas may be celebrated but what we do know is that
1) We have survived lockdown before so we know what works and what needs changing
2) We know that lockdown was effective in bringing the number of cases down
3) We have made enormous progress on understanding the virus and how to treat it, we are also getting ever closer to a vaccine. We just have to keep calm and carry on!
As you know in November, the Taxe d’Habitation is due (by 16th November or 21st November if paid online). This is a tax for all residents of buildings on 1st January. In 2020, 80% of French households will be considered exempt from paying this tax. In July 2019 Macron said in 2021 the higher income households would see a 30% reduction in their taxe d’habitation increasing to 65% in 2022 and 100% in 2023. So basically this tax will cease to exist after 2023.
As regards income tax, the tax levels have increased by 0.2% for the tax on income earned in 2020 to take into account the inflation forecast for 2019-2020. The new tax barriers are:
|Between 0 and €10,084||0%|
|From €10,084 to €25,710||11%|
|From €25,710 to €73,516||30%|
|From €73,516 to €158,122||41%|
Just how is my tax calculated in France?
If you have looked at your tax statement and wondered how the tax is calculated, you may find the following rough guide to be useful.
If a couple has a total of €30,000 of income, their taxes would be as follows. €30,000 divided by 2 = €15,000
No tax for the first €10,084 but 11% on the difference between €10,084 and €15,000 (€4916 x 11% = €541). This amount is then multiplied by the number of people (or tax parts) so the total tax for this couple would be €1082.
For a couple with €60,000, the income is again divided between them (€60,000/2 = €30,000).
There is again no tax for the first €10,084, the next amount would be €25,710-€10,084=€15 626 at 11% which is €1719.
The difference between €30,000 and €25,710, i.e. €4290 would be taxed at 30% resulting in €1287.
The final tax would be (€1719 + €1287) x 2 = €6,012 total tax.
Once the tax is calculated then the tax reductions for home help expenses or charitable donations are deducted. For more information please request our free tax guide on our website.
If you have French investments or interest earning accounts and your taxable income (as shown on your 2020 tax return for your income earned in 2019) is less than €25,000 (or €50,000 for a couple) for interest, or for dividends €50,000 (or €75,000 for a couple) you must inform your bank or financial institution before 30th November 2020 so that they don’t withhold the 12.8% income tax on your income in 2021.
Wishing you all a wonderful November. Stay home, stay safe, stay in touch!
Taxe Foncière – Do you qualify for exemption?
By Katriona Murray-Platon
This article is published on: 8th October 2020
Although it hasn’t felt like it, because we have had such gloriously warm and sunny September, autumn is officially here! October is a special month in my household because it’s my son’s birthday and also Halloween which my very French husband has officially and fully adopted as his favourite annual event (the children rather like it too)! However I feel that two topics that must be covered this month are taxe foncière which needs to be paid by 15th October and of course banks.
Taxe foncière is a tax paid by property owners on the 1st January of each tax year. Note that it is paid by the owner not the occupant and applies to both buildings (houses or apartments) and land (agricultural or constructible).
If you sell your property or land, the tax liability for that year is apportioned to each party, by the notary, according to the timing of the sale.
You may qualify for an exemption if:
- the property is a new construction used as a main residence (the exemption is for 2 years)
- you are in receipt of disability allowance
- you are in receipt of old age allowance
- you are over 75 (depending on level of income)
The tax office may also allow an exemption for unoccupied property which is habitable and normally rented, provided that:
- it is unintentionally unoccupied
- it is unoccupied for at least 3 months
- part or all of the building is unoccupied
However, as the tax reduction is not automatically granted, you have to apply for it and demonstrate that you qualify (with reference to the specific points above).
For more details on the taxe foncière please read the rest of my article on our website HERE.
As I’m sure you will have heard some people have received letters from their banks informing them that some services will not be continued for those resident in the EU. Not all banks are going to discontinue their services but customers of Barclaycard in particular have been told that this service will no longer be available to them.
If you find yourself in this situation or you are concerned about having a UK sterling account when you move to France and after 31st December 2020, please do get in touch. Spectrum has worked with Standard Bank for many years and they provide an excellent service to expats living in the EU.
Some key points to note are that:
- They do not charge to receive funds into the bank
- UK Sterling to Sterling transfers are done by BACS so there is no charge
- Clients can set direct debit transactions up from their debit card at no charge
- Standing orders can also be set up on the account and again there is no charge for Sterling to Sterling in the UK
As with any financial decision it is always best to get advice and recommendations from a certified, regulated financial adviser. So if you want to know more about Standard Bank please do get in touch or if you know anyone who is worried about their UK banks after Brexit, feel free to pass on my details.
Fun fact of the month:
In France a popular savings account, in addition to the very popular Livret A account is the LDD or Livret de Development Durable. This savings account actually began in 1983 and was called a CODEVI which stands for an account for industrial development, it allowed clients to put away short term savings which the bank used to lend to the French industries to ensure funding and modernisation. At the time the interest rate was 7.5%!!! In 2007 this account changed its name to become the LDD and it now only makes 0.5% interest. Since 1st October 2020 those with these accounts can request that part of their savings be used to benefit social economy and solidarity organisations.
Finally, if you haven’t seen the article that I wrote last month on the Spectrum website about Assurance Vies in France, you can find it on my page HERE.
Wishing you all a wonderful October!
How to avoid Spanish taxes on your UK property and investments
By John Hayward
This article is published on: 30th July 2020
Being tax resident in Spain is not your choice
once you have made the initial decision to move to Spain.
Generally, once you have spent 183 days (not necessarily consecutive) in Spain, you are deemed to be tax resident and have to declare income and assets to the Spanish tax office. The tax year in Spain runs from 1st January to 31st December. Unlike the UK, which works on a part tax year basis when someone leaves the UK, in Spain you are either tax resident for the whole year or you are not.
As soon as you know that you will be taking the step to eventually become tax resident in Spain, it is extremely important to make certain that you have arranged your investments and property(ies) in a way that isn´t going to open you up to unnecessary Spanish taxes.
A lot of people will be looking to become resident in Spain before Brexit on 31st December 2020, in case the process becomes more complicated after. However, for those who are worried that applying for a residence card will automatically make them tax resident, let me dispel this fear. It does not. Therefore, you have the opportunity to apply for a residence card whilst taking action to protect your assets free from Spanish tax for 2020, becoming tax resident in Spain in 2021.
UK Property & Tax in Spain
As a tax resident in Spain, a person has to declare all of their overseas assets (over certain levels) as well as the income from these assets. Anything sold, such as a property or investments (ISAs, shares, bonds, etc.), and even a lump sum from a pension which would be tax free in the UK, will be taxable in Spain and this is where there is a potential tax nightmare.
Our advice is usually to sell before becoming tax resident in Spain, if selling is feasible and practical. If you are eligible to take a tax free lump sum, do so before becoming tax resident in Spain. ISAs are also taxable in Spain and although there are ways to legally avoid taxes whilst holding this type of investment, things can become very complicated.
Let me make this clearer with examples of someone who has a UK property and sells it after becoming tax resident in Spain.
Example 1 – Property Purchase 1986
- You move to Spain and become a permanent resident, and thus a tax resident, in Spain.
- You own a property in the UK which has been your primary residence since you bought it in 1986.
- As you have now moved to Spain, it is now a secondary property.
- You bought it for £48,000. You are selling it for £600,000. As this is no longer your primary residence, Spanish capital gains tax is due on the sale.
- Even with indexation (which only applies to pre-1994 purchases), the tax bill is over €50,000.
Example 2 – Property Purchase 2004
- You bought a property in the UK in 2004 for £150,000 and are selling it now for £250,000.
- The Spanish capital gains tax on the sale would be over €20,000.
- Unlike the UK, there are no capital gains tax allowances in Spain.
The same principle applies to shares, investment bonds, and ISAs.
You have to pay Spanish capital gains tax on the difference between what you paid for them and what you sell them for, again with some indexation for pre-1994 purchases.
Plan early: Before you move to Spain to help avoid Spanish Tax
You need to draw a line under your asset values now so that you can take advantage of the more beneficial capital gains and property tax rules in the UK and start afresh in Spain without the fear of unavoidable Spanish taxes in the future.
Contact me today to find out how we can help you make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at email@example.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.
DETRACTIONS FOR INCOME TAX PURPOSES IN ITALY
By Gareth Horsfall
This article is published on: 4th December 2019
I am often asked which expenses can be detracted from income in Italy. These serve to reduce your potential tax liabilities.
Unlike a lot of countries where allowances are offered on a certain amount of income each year (e.g. the UK and the first £12500), Italy does not offer any such allowance, but instead uses a complicated system of detractions and deductions of certain living expenses. That list covers a multitude of items, such as eco bonus for re-construction work to your home, funeral expenses and medical expenses.
A new criteria that has been imposed as of 2020 is that a number of these must now be paid only by traceable means of payment (bonifico, bancomat or credit card). If they are not paid with one of these methods then they are not deductible.
The following table, taken from an article in Sole24Ore is a good reference tool to see which expenses can be deducted, at what % of the total cost and whether they can be paid in cash or not.
I hope you find it useful. If you are not claiming for any that you might be eligible for then I would advise you have a conversation with your commercialista about them.
Tax breaks in Italy
By Gareth Horsfall
This article is published on: 7th October 2019
I have been writing these articles for 10 years this year, after sending out my first one in 2009. Looking back at the very first one just the other day, I saw how it had developed and how the concepts I discuss have changed dramatically. This got me thinking about the way that the world has changed as well during this time. Last Friday I joined the Global Climate Strike in Rome. There were about 250,000 students, protesters and concerned people; marching to spread our concern for how we treat the world we live in. It certainly got me thinking about how politics is going to have to change significantly in the coming years to meet the needs and desires of these disgruntled voters.
Which leads us nicely to the new coalition government in Italy and their changes in the Legge di Bilancio which were approved on the 30th September. In the Legge there are many new rules that will come into force from 2020, some eco based (but not enough) and a number which may affect you. Below I have selected a few of the changes in the tax law which might interest you.
1. If you are in the market for a new car, then incentives will be given, up to €6000 for purchasing a new electric, hybrid, small gas or small diesel car.
2. BUT, if you buy an SUV or an ‘auto lusso’, then you will taxed up to €3000.
3. Anyone who is working online might be caught in the trap set to try to tackle evasive tax practices by the big tech companies. Italy is following the French lead and introducing a tax of 3% on web based business revenues generated in Italy.
4. The flat tax of 7% for retirees moving to, and getting residency in Italy is fully approved from January 2019. The main caveat is that you must move to a village of no more than 20,000 inhabitants in any of the following regions:
Sardinia, Molise, Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia
Other terms and conditions apply, so check carefully before assuming you automatically qualify.
5. Income tax deductions will be available for anyone who carries out invoiced home renovation, purchases eco domestic appliances, completes seismic work on their house, purchases sun curtains for balconies or buys mosquito blocks for doors, amongst other property related deductions. The following article (in Italian) provides a nice summary (once again conditions apply, so make sure you check the small print or speak with a commercialista before going ahead).
However, please remember that this work must be ‘invoiced’ work and paid for by electronic means. If you pay for it in the black or in cash (even if invoiced), then it is not deductable. Although paying in the black is illegal, it will often mean you can negotiate a discount on the full price. Whilst this might make paying in cash may seem attractive, it won’t afford you any income tax deduction so may turn out to be more disadvantageous.
6. The canone RAI (TV licence fee) has been reconfirmed as €90 per annum. No price increase will be applied, at least for this year.
7. And the pièce de résistance … if you thought that IMU and TASI were hard enough to get your head around, the latest news is that they are going to be unified. No prizes for anyone who can come up with the new acronym. TASIMU???
Do you know if you are overpaying Spanish tax?
By John Hayward
This article is published on: 9th May 2019
Thousands of Spanish residents could be overpaying tax due to their lack of knowledge of the most tax efficient way to hold savings. People overpay income tax, savings tax, capital gains tax, and even inheritance tax, because they are holding their money in inappropriate savings and investment accounts. However, there are often simple solutions to what seem like complex problems. With the correct professional advice from people experienced in Spanish financial matters, savers could see more income and pay less tax.
Often, residents of Spain will turn to their bank to give them advice on what accounts and investment vehicles are best suited to them. The choice in Spanish banks is limited and the risks are often not explained. Many people are stuck in what they thought were deposit accounts, when in fact they are investments, the performance of which could be based on stockmarkets.
There are also those who hold “tax free” savings in the UK, such as ISAs, National Savings Certificates and Premium Bonds. All of these are NOT TAX FREE IN SPAIN. For Premium Bonds especially, there appears to be better returns, when compared to most other options which are paying close to zero interest. However, any interest or gain is taxable in Spain and needs to be declared.
A solution is to have money outside Spain but recognised by Spain for preferential tax treatment.
A COMPLIANT ACCOUNT AND NO WITHDRAWALS MEANS NO TAX DUE
In this example, €200,000 was invested in 2016 and the accountholder had no other savings income.
With a non-compliant account, tax must be paid each year on the growth of the account, totalling €6,260 over the 3 years. With the Spanish compliant account, if no withdrawals are taken, no tax is immediately due on the annual growth of the account.
*Click the image above to enlarge
AND IF WITHDRAWALS ARE MADE?
Again €200,000 is invested and the accountholder has no other savings income. This time the policy grows by €10,000 each year, and the accountholder withdraws this amount. With a non-compliant account tax payable is based on the full growth of the account, whatever amount is withdrawn. For a compliant account, tax is only due on the gain attached to the withdrawal.
*Click the image above to enlarge
That´s a 91% tax saving over 3 years!
To find out more about how you could benefit from quality financial planning advice and years of experience both in Spain and the UK, contact me today on +34 618 204 731 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next step for the PEPP saga
By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 4th September 2018
To date, many organisations have submitted detailed responses to the European Commission’s (EC) draft PEPP Regulation, which was published on 29th June 2017. There is strong consensus for the merit of the PEPP, both by the Trilogue participants (European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of Europe) and other stakeholders. However, potential obstacles still exist and, unless pragmatic solutions are found, there is the risk that the PEPP could be launched but the take-up may be low.
Therefore, as the PEPP enters its next stage of Trilogue discussions, it is important that the voices of the potential PEPP providers and distributors are still heard, since these stakeholders are well-placed to highlight practical difficulties that would adversely affect the success of the PEPP. A cross-section of these stakeholders came together at the FECIF European Pensions Institute’s (FEPI) inaugural meeting in June. A FEPI position paper has subsequently been produced, which provides detailed analysis, whilst a brief summary of the FEPI’s views is shown below.
It is very important that a pragmatic alternative solution be agreed by the Trilogue, rather than being left until after the Regulation has been enacted. Theoretically, a fully separate tax regime – i.e. a 29th regime – applicable across all of Europe would be ideal in terms of simplicity and portability. However, it is understood that this is not likely to be accepted by Member States.
Therefore, the FEPI recommends that sub-sections can initially be limited to EET (exempt/exempt/taxed) and TEE (taxed/exempt/exempt), as these would align with the majority of Member States’ local taxation rules. If desired, EEE & TTT sub-sections might also be created for alignment with other Member States, as demand arises. Obviously, the tax regime applicable to any PEPP participant is based on the participant’s tax residency, as is the case for all retirement products today, backed up by the rules of existing Double Taxation Agreements.
Default Investment Option: Two possibilities are now on the table:
A nominal ‘guarantee on capital’, to cover at least the contributions paid (net of fees and charges) as a minimum, which can be extended by the PEPP provider to include inflation protection.
An ‘investment strategy directed at ensuring capital protection of the saver on the basis of a risk mitigation technique’ – more simply known as a life-cycle approach
The opinion of the FEPI is that the PEPP framework should allow for both of the above, if necessary shaped at a local level, according to national rules or custom. As detailed in the FEPI position paper, the guarantee on capital should be real (not nominal). In addition, there is merit in using life-cycle investing as the basis for a default option for retirement planning, even for investors that may have a more cautious attitude to investment risk, depending upon the time horizon of the investor.
Whilst a single regime for the PEPP would be ideal in terms of simplicity and portability, it is understood that this could present issues for Member States if, for example, this resulted in the PEPP being granted a more favourable treatment than a local Personal Pension Product (PPP). Likewise, if a local PPP had more favourable treatment than the PEPP, this would serve as a deterrent for someone investing in a PEPP.
Therefore, the general consensus of the FEPI is that within the framework of the PEPP, decumulation options should be broad, covering all potential pay-out variations, allowing for PEPP providers to shape the PEPP according to local rules.
Notwithstanding the above, the more complex the product, the greater the costs of administration, which will directly impact on the investment returns to the consumer and so an appropriate balance must be found.
Distribution & Advice:
It is arguable that PEPPs should only be sold on an advised basis, even if the saver has chosen the default investment option – whether this be a real capital guarantee or a lifecycle investment option. The impact of national pension entitlements, varying decumulation options and retirement ages, particularly if the PEPP saver has cross-border accumulated benefits, strengthens the need for the PEPP saver to receive appropriate advice, regardless of the amount being saved.
At the very least, the requirement for an appropriateness test should be a pre-requisite in all situations, as a minimum level of saver protection is always necessary. Decisions concerning pension products are numbered amongst the most important that each saver is expected to make in his/her life.
The question now is will the Trilogue be able to reach a consensus on the PEPP that is acceptable to all stakeholders?
Due to the importance of the PEPP, a round table will take place at FECIF’s forthcoming Annual Conference taking place on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel, Belgium. This is a major event and, amongst other issues, will address two significantly important and relevant areas:
Personal retirement planning across the EU, not least the Pan-European Pension Plan
The rise, development, importance and future role of Fintech
The event will ask, and look to answer, numerous key questions, such as: how can we stimulate private pension provision and motivate consumers to take personal responsibility for their financial futures; can the PEPP provide a solution and is a truly pan-European pension possible; can Fintech assist in these areas and, if so, how?
Speakers and participants will be key individuals from EU regulatory bodies and consumer associations, academics and MEPs, as well as numerous major industry figures.