Property and inheritance tax increases in the Valencian Community
By John Hayward
This article is published on: 11th August 2013
As of 7th August 2013, the Valencian government has increased Stamp Duty (ITP – Impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales) and Inheritance Tax (ISD – Impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones). The ITP is more obvious an increase as it will increase from 8% to 10%.
The ISD is a little more complicated. Up until this point, residents of the Valencian Community benefited from a 99% reduction on whatever the tax bill was. Therefore, very little was due. Now spouses, descendants and ascendants will have their personal allowances on receipt of benefits increased from €40,000 to €100,000. However, the reduction is being lowered to 75%.
Example. Property owned in joint names and deemed to be owned 50/50. Spouse dies leaving 50% to the surviving spouse. There is no inter-spouse exemption in Spain. Property valued at €400,000. €200,000 (50%) inherited. Deduct allowance of €100,000 which, based on current rates, leaves a tax bill of €12,415. Reduce this by 75% and the tax due will be €3,103*. This needs to be paid within 6 months of the death. Under the old system, the tax bill would have been based on €200,000 less €40,000 allowance. This would result in a tax bill of €23,141 which, although higher than the figure above, would then be reduced by 99%, leaving a tax bill of €231*. (* Subject to personal circumstances and specific assets)
As one can see, many tax residents on the Costa Blanca can look forward to sizeable tax increases. A concern is that bank accounts can be frozen on death which could mean the money to pay this tax might not be available within the 6 months stipulated. Simply becoming non-resident, which has been seen as a solution to the recent asset declaration ‘problem’, wouldn’t work here as the inheritance tax due for non-residents is even worse.
A solution could be to have money in a low risk insurance bond, recognised by Spain for tax purposes but not based in Spain and, importantly, not frozen on the death of a policyholder. Apart from being far more tax efficient than a bank account, it could provide the money at a time when there is plenty of other expense, as well as at a time when there is the human aspect of grief.
(Detailed Valencian and Castilian versions of the law can be found on the Valencian government’s website. Click here to view them.)