Aug. 23, 2012
-- Without being alarmist this is part of a wider package of measures aimed at combating tax fraud in Spain and as ever expatriates are a politically soft and therefore extremely vulnerable group when it comes to being at the forefront of any new anti-evasion measures.
The idea that you can be resident in Spain and maintain undisclosed savings and bank accounts in other jurisdictions and avoid being drawn into the fiscal system is almost farcical. The financial nomad will soon become extinct if the measures currently being employed by the Spanish tax authorities are anything to go by. We have seen plenty of correspondence from Hacienda challenging non residency status claims on the strength of a regular pattern of electricity use or the disclosure of the existence of deposit interest through some stray correspondence. The government has warned that it will get tougher when the amnesty period is over. However paying the amnesty penalty and putting your affairs in order is just the beginning those savings and investments will then be brought into the system and taxed at the full rate moving forward.
Of course Spain is not alone, all jurisdictions are keen to increase their tax revenues and there is more and more co operation and exchange of information between countries. With the EU Savings Directive in the process of being amended the strategy of hiding assets within a trust or company structure is likely to fall foul of new disclosure rules.
The silly thing is it doesn’t have to be like this. There are perfectly legitimate ways as a Spanish resident to structure your savings, investments and retirement plans so that they generate growth and income in the most tax efficient manner possible. Now isn’t that a better option than facing sleepless nights wondering when the authorities are going to catch up to you.
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