Taxation in Spain

The sections below provide the basic information on taxation in Spain.

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Local information

  • Tax Authority Agencia Española de Administración Tributaria (AEAT)
  • Website www.agenciatributaria.es
  • Tax Year 1 January to 31 December
  • Tax Return due date 30 June
  • Is joint filing possible Yes
  • Are tax return extensions possible No

Tax rates

2019 Income Tax Rates

Taxable Income Band € National Income Tax Rates
0 - 12,450 19%
12,451 - 20,200 24%
20,201 - 35,200 30%
35,201 - 60,000 37%
60,001 + 45%

Total tax liability consists of the tax liability computed under the general rates plus the tax liability computed under the autonomous community rates. Consequently, the final maximum marginal rate depends on the marginal tax rate of the autonomous community where the taxpayer resides.

Income derived by non-residents is generally subject to a final tax of 24% (or 19% for residents of other EU member states and EEA countries). However, other rates may apply depending on the type of income. Dividends and other income derived from holding a participation in a company, interest and other income obtained from assigning capital to third parties are subject to tax rates of 19%, 21% and 23%.

Additional information

Who is liable?

Individuals performing activities in Spain are subject to tax based on residence and source of income. Residents are taxed on worldwide income. Non-residents are taxed on Spanish-source income and on capital gains realised in Spain only. Several tax exemptions may apply to expatriates.

Income subject to tax

Employment income - Taxable employment income includes all compensation received for personal services, including salaries and wages, payments for certain business-related expenses, pensions, housing allowances and other allowances paid in cash or in kind.

Spanish residents with overseas duties may apply a foreign earned income exemption of up to €60,100 if certain conditions are met.

Irregular employment income (earned over a period that is longer than two years) may be eligible for a limited 30% reduction if certain conditions are met.

Self-employment and business income - Taxable self-employment and business income includes income from all industrial, commercial, professional and artistic activities carried on by a taxpayer.

Residents are subject to tax on self-employment and business income at the applicable rates.

Non-residents are subject to a flat 24% (19% for residents of other European Union [EU] member states and European Economic Area [EEA] member states) tax on gross self-employment and business income after deducting certain expenses related to the business and the activity performed, such as salaries paid, materials purchased and miscellaneous expenses.

Relief for losses may be available, subject to the limits and conditions established by law.

Directors' fees - Directors' fees are considered ordinary income and are taxable to residents at the applicable rates.

Non-residents are subject to tax on directors' fees at a flat rate of 24% (19% for residents of other EU member states).

Investment income - Resident individuals are subject to tax on rental income and other consideration derived from the lease of rural or urban real estate at the applicable rates. For tax residents of Spain, net income from the rental of property may be reduced by 60% if the property is destined for living.

Non-resident individuals are subject to tax on such income at a flat rate of 24% (19% for residents of other EU member states and EEA member states).

For urban real estate used by the owner as a permanent residence, deemed income does not apply. However, for urban real estate used as a residence or not leased, the law presumes an income of 2% of the cadastral value (1.1% if the cadastral value of the real estate was increased in the last 10 years). If the cadastral value is not determined, then presumed income is calculated by applying 1.1% to half of the value assessed in accordance with the principles of valuation for purposes of the net worth tax.

Income from movable property includes dividends, interest, profits from copyrights and industrial property, and the return in cash or in kind on capitalization transactions and life insurance policies.

In determining net income from personal property, limited administration expenses are deductible.

Spanish tax residents and non-residents are subject to tax on dividends, interest and capital gains (regardless of the holding period) at the following rates:

  • The first €5,999.99 at a rate of 19%
  • Amount from €6,000, up to €49,999.99, at a rate of 21%
  • Amount from €50,000 at a rate of 23%

Income from public debt or non-resident bank accounts and income derived from the sale of shares or reimbursement of participations in investment funds in official Spanish markets are not taxable if Spain and the country of the taxpayer's residence have entered into a double tax treaty that includes an exchange-of-information clause.

Interest income and capital gains derived from bonds and securities issued by resident entities or individuals are not taxable if the taxpayer is a resident of an EU member state.

If members of a family unit elect to file separate tax returns, the income derived from property must be attributed to the members who own the property. For spouses under the community property regime, 50% of the income must be attributed to each spouse.

Taxation of employer-provided stock options - Employer-provided stock options are taxed at the time of exercise on the difference between the exercise price and the fair market value of the stock at the time of exercise. This income is also subject to social security contributions.

Income derived from employer-provided stock options up to an annual limit of €12,000 may be exempt from tax if certain conditions are met.

Double tax relief and tax treaties

An individual resident in Spain may use foreign tax credits to avoid double taxation (imputation method).

Spain's double tax treaties apply both the imputation and the exemption-with-progression methods. Spain has entered into double tax treaties with 89 countries.

Residence status for tax purposes

Individuals are considered residents for tax purposes if they spend more than 183 days in a calendar year in Spain or if the centre of their vital interests is located in Spain. A presumption of residence arises if an individual's family lives in Spain. Residence is determined on a full-year basis; Spain recognizes no change of residence during a fiscal year. A Spanish national who gives up Spanish tax residence is nonetheless considered a Spanish tax resident for the next four years if the new tax residence is in a tax haven.

Under the Spanish regulation, an employee assigned to Spain who meets the criteria for being considered a Spanish tax resident may elect to be subject to tax under the non-resident taxpayer rules.

This election is subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are the following:

  • The individual must not have been a Spanish tax resident in the 10 years preceding their arrival in Spain.
  • The assignment in Spain must be based on one of the following circumstances:
    • The assignment is under a labor contract (local contract or assignment letter) with the exception of a contract for a professional athlete.
    • The individual is a representative person of a company (without a participation in such company or with a participation in an unrelated entity).
  • The individual cannot receive compensation that is deemed to be obtained by a permanent establishment in Spain.

Under this special tax regime, employment income up to €600,000 is taxed at a rate of 24%, and employment income exceeding this amount is taxed at a rate of 45%.

If the above election is made, the individual is subject to tax on employment income at a flat rate of 24%, instead of at the progressive resident tax rates of up to 45%, which depend on the autonomous community in which the taxpayer resides (other rates may apply to different types of income). The election is effective for the first year of residence and the following five consecutive years.

Capital gains and losses

Capital gains are calculated as the difference between the transfer price of an asset and its acquisition price.

Capital gains are taxed at a rate of 19% on the first €5,999.99, at a rate of 21% on the amount from €6,000 to €49,999.99 and at a rate of 23% on the amount from €50,000 onwards.

For Spanish tax residents only, capital losses incurred on sales of assets may be offset against capital gains. Any excess losses may be carried forward for four years.

For filers of individual returns, capital gains and losses must be imputed to the individual owner of the property. If the spouses are under the community property regime, capital gains and losses are imputed 50% to each spouse.

Estate and gift tax

An individual resident in Spain for fiscal purposes is taxed on assets and rights acquired by inheritance or gift, regardless of where the assets or rights are located. If the recipient is not resident in Spain, estate and gift tax applies only to assets located in Spain or to rights that may be executed in Spain.

Estate tax must be paid by the legal heir, and gift tax must be paid by the donee. The taxable amount for estate tax purposes is determined by deducting certain amounts based on the beneficiary's age and on the relationship between the deceased and beneficiary. Tax payable is calculated by applying factors based on the taxpayer's net worth, age, relationship with the deceased or beneficiary and type of asset.

Estate and gift tax rates vary depending on the autonomous region.

Social security

Under Spanish domestic law, an individual must join the Spanish social insurance system if work and residence permits are received. The rate of social insurance contributions is 6.35% of salary for employees, and the rate for employer contributions is generally 29.9% of salary. For 2019, the maximum base for employee contributions is €48,841.20. For 2019, the maximum annual contribution is €3,101.42 for employees and €14,603.52 per employee for employers.

Tax filing and payment procedures

Family members may file one tax return that includes the income of the entire family. On a family tax return, the family members are jointly and severally liable for the payment of tax. If one spouse has a tax liability and the other spouse has a refund, the spouses may offset each other's amounts.

For tax returns filed by residents, any tax due is payable with the return, and interest accrues on any unpaid balance. However, 60% of the tax may be paid in June, and the remaining 40% paid by 5 November, without interest accruing. The tax due is the balance remaining after subtracting amounts withheld during the year. If excess tax is withheld, the excess is refunded to the taxpayer.

Non-residents with taxable income must file tax returns, unless they are subject to withholding tax for the entire amount due.

Non-residents must file tax returns within a month of the date when taxable income from Spanish sources is payable. In certain cases, non-residents may file quarterly returns.

Compulsory declaration of assets and rights located abroad - Royal Decree 1558/2012, published on 24 November 2012, establishes new requirements for tax residents of Spain to report details of their assets and rights located outside Spain.

Resident taxpayers who have assets or rights located abroad meeting certain conditions must file this information declaration by 31 March following the end of the tax year referred to in the tax return. Severe penalties may be imposed on non-compliant taxpayers.

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The Tax section is provided by EY in accordance with their Terms and Conditions This link opens in a new window . EY accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of this information. By using this information you are accepting the terms under which EY is making the content available to you based on the legislation and practices of the country concerned as of 1 July 2019 by EY and published in its Worldwide personal tax guide, 2019-20. Tax legislation and administrative practices may change, and this document is a summary of potential issues to consider. This document should not be used as a substitute for professional tax advice which should be sought for the country of arrival and departure in advance of moving in order to discuss your circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure you make all relevant disclosures to the tax authorities and that you are compliant with local tax legislation.

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