If like many people, you’ve become hooked on life in Andalucia whilst here on holiday from the UK, what is the reality of retiring here, and what considerations need to be taken when looking at it seriously?
Thinking of retiring to Spain?
By Jeremy Ferguson
This article is published on: 27th July 2023
Since Brexit things have changed somewhat with regards the hoops to jump through to obtain residency, and nearly all of the clients we work with have had to apply firstly for permission to live here full time if they are UK passport holders.
The most common route is to apply for a non Lucrative Visa, and all of the information you need for this can be found at www.upsticks.es Essentially you will have to make your application through a Spanish Embassy in the UK, supplying them with financial information, criminal record checks and proving you have the necessary private health care in place amongst others. This can take a few months and having someone like Upsticks do this for you takes away nearly all of the pain.
This is just the first part of the jigsaw, and you will need to make very careful plans with regards the timing of your arrival if you are selling assets in the UK, typically this is your home, as well as thinking about whether to take pension benefits and what to do regarding your other assets. The most obvious is making sure you take your pension commencement lump sum as a UK tax resident by nature of the fact this is tax free when living there. If you did this after moving to Spain and becoming a tax resident, this would no longer be tax free and would attract income tax here, so it makes perfect sense to deal with this as part of the overall planning for your move.
Then there is the issue of selling your UK home, as if you are deemed a tax resident of Spain in the year in which it happens, there can be Spanish capital gains tax applied to the ‘profit’ you have made when selling. If this is your main home, and you sell when a tax resident of the UK then we all know this doesn’t attract capital gains tax, so to get the timing wrong when moving here and falling into that trap is normally the most important element to plan.
If you have ISA’s in the UK and they are in profit, then again realising these whilst a UK tax resident is tax free. If you held onto these investments and sold them after becoming tax resident here, the profits will attract capital gains tax. In many circumstances it can make sense to realise the profits before leaving the UK, and then make alternative arrangements when you get here. There are options available for tax efficient in- vestment products here, but it is important you are fully versed in the pros and cons of these be- fore doing anything.
Nearly all of my time at the moment is taken up with helping people plan their relocation carefully, so when they get here everything is done in the most tax and cost efficient way possible. With anything like this, my favourite expression is ‘relocating is like eating an elephant, it has to be done a mouthful at a time’.
We have a useful guide on our website which deals with relocating to Spain in more detail, and this can be downloaded at www.spectrum-ifa.com, If you are considering a new life in Spain, please do not hesitate to get in touch so we can help you every step of the way. For most people the reason they want to move here is for a less stressful life, so making sure you take the right advice is critical to helping this happen.