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Are there ISAs in Spain?

By Chris Burke
This article is published on: 14th January 2024

When living in Spain it shouldn’t take too long to discover that personal finances work very differently from many other European countries, particularly the UK. Independent advice is hard to find – most people talk to their bank and are told that their main option is to invest in the bank’s own standard products and solutions, which for many people are not suitable or appropriate.

Many people from the UK are used to a more sophisticated way of investing, maximising tax efficiency and mitigation through solutions such as ISAs and pensions. These can greatly reduce the tax you pay making a big difference to the amount of money you end up with, in some cases incredibly so.

Is there a Spanish equivalent of a UK ISA?
In short, there is something very similar. It can greatly reduce the tax you pay as your investment grows and can even be set up for your children to benefit independently.

Are there Spanish equivalents of a private pension in Spain?
Yes, there are, however these are vastly different to in the UK. In the UK you can contribute up to £60,000 per year to a private pension. In Spain you can only contribute €1,500 per year. A self-employed person can contribute an additional €4,250 per year. Very few employers in Spain have their own pension schemes and those that do have a limit of €10,000 per year that can be jointly contributed to.

Reducing the tax on your investments

How does the equivalent of the UK ISA in Spain work?

As your money grows any gain you make is not taxable until you receive this money (achieving compound growth). When you access this money, any gain is offset proportionally against the original investment amount, and as such removing this proportion of the gain. For example, if your investment grows by 50%, any partial withdrawals you make have this portion deducted against the gain you have made. Over the years this can make an incredible difference to the tax you pay, particularly as this investment income falls under Capital Gains tax (savings tax) and not income tax, which can become VERY important when paying tax on your monies (pension income falls under income tax).
As a reminder, the tax rates are:
Capital gains tax ranges from 19-26%, income tax from 24-47%.

Many people use this option for their mid-term and retirement planning because they have some flexibility, are portable should you move elsewhere and are also highly tax efficient and compliant in Spain.

Important note on UK ISA’s

Whilst UK ISAs are tax efficient in the UK (all gains are tax exempt), as a Spanish tax resident this is not the case – any gains that arise in your UK ISA must be declared annually and tax paid on these even if you do not access the money. This makes UK ISAs as a Spanish tax resident very inefficient and why many people look for alternatives.

UK ISA Tip when moving to Spain
Before you become a Spanish tax resident, if you encash your UK ISA you realise any gains that would be taxable when you become a Spanish tax resident. This not only includes any annual gain, but more importantly the gain from inception, which as a Spanish tax resident you would be liable for when you encash.

If you would like any more information regarding any of the above, or to talk through your situation initially and receive expert, fact based advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris.

Click here to read independent reviews on Chris and his advice.

Article by Chris Burke

If you are based in the Barcelona/Costa Brava area and would like to have an initial, complimentary face to face video call or arrange a time to visit Chris in his office in central Barcelona, contact Chris on or whatsapp +34 689915730.

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