Changes to Spain’s Inheritance and Gift Tax Law

Lawyer Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt examines the legal impact in Spain on matters such as non-resident taxation and inheritance tax brought about by the key ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from last 3rd of September 2014 (Case C-127/12).

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
21st of February 2015

Photo credit: Cédric Puisney / Foter / CC BY

ECJ. Photo credit: Cédric Puisney / Foter / CC BY


Continuing the trend set out last month on Succession, I think it was long overdue I wrote an article on the ECJ’s landmark ruling of last 3rd of September 2014. The legal repercussions, on the wake of this ruling, have rippled wide and deep across Spanish law; particularly regarding non-resident taxation. For this article’s sake the most prominent change is Law 26/2014 of the 27th of November which amends, amongst other laws, the Personal Income Tax Act (I.R.P.F.), the Non-Resident Income Tax Act (I.R.N.R.) and the Inheritance and Gift Tax Law (Impuesto de Sucesiones y Donaciones, I.S.D. for short). These changes came into force on the 1st of January 2015. I had already referred to them fleetingly in December’s article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property.

Law 26/2014 adapts the decision taken by the ECJ amending internal Spanish national laws. In a nutshell, amongst many other changes that escape the goal of this article, it puts an end to (fiscal) discrimination between residents and non-residents in a wide array of matters; most notably on inheritance and gift taxation. If you are looking for in-depth articles on Spanish Inheritance Tax please follow the links: Spanish Inheritance Tax for Non-residents (Part I) and Spanish Inheritance Tax for Non-residents (Part II).

For the purpose of this article, when I make reference to ‘non-tax residents’ I will always be referring to citizens which are either tax resident in another Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area (E.E.A.). Just to clarify, the below-listed changes do not benefit tax residents outside of the EU or EEA.

I will now, as briefly as I can muster, highlight the major changes.

Succession – Situation Prior to the ECJs’ Ruling

To better understand the scope and wide impact of the legal changes it is necessary for me to digress and explain what the existing situation was prior to the ECJ’s ruling.

Basically there were two sets of allowances on inheritance tax; one set out by rigid state law, which is the common regime and is applied nationwide subsidiarily, and another more indulgent regional one set out by each of Spain’s seventeen Autonomous Communities. Broadly speaking, state law applied to non-tax residents by default in all cases. Regional tax laws applied to residents by default.

State law is hands down more unforgiving and decisively less lenient than regional tax allowances which only applied to (tax) residents. Non-tax residents were forced to follow state inheritance law regardless of where the estate was located in Spain.

Spain is divided administratively into seventeen Autonomous Communities. Each of these have devolved competencies on Inheritance tax matters up to a certain point and may apply generous deductions to the point that Inheritance and Gift tax is almost suppressed in some Autonomous Communities. Making a sweeping generalisation, and just to make things clearer to understand, Spain is divided broadly in communities ruled by centre-right and centre-left wing parties. Their ideological spectrum directly impacts on taxation.

On the one hand, Autonomous Communities ruled by centre-right wing parties (i.e. Partido Popular) have generous tax provisions in place almost suppressing inheritance and gift tax i.e. Madrid, Basque Country, Navarre, Valencia, Balearic and Canary Islands. You can read further in-depth on the matter in my article Non-residents: Six Advantages of Making a Spanish Will from 2012.

On the other hand, you have autonomous regions led by centre-left parties (or left-wing) which, coherently with their ideology, not only do not apply generous regimes to succession but even penalise it furthermore as they firmly believe wealth ought to be ‘redistributed’.

This is the ideological trench warfare in which non-tax residents are parachuted in being caught in the crossfire. Non-tax residents were, until the ECJ’s ruling, unfairly barred from taking advantage from the generous regional tax allowances which were only reserved to residents and significantly improved upon those set out by state law.

A non-tax resident beneficiary of a deceased’s Spanish estate followed the general state law on inheritance and the inheritance was directly dealt with from Madrid (centrally as opposed to regionally in the case of tax residents). This was irrespective of in which of the seventeen Autonomous Communities had the deceased passed away or where the majority of his assets were held. In other words, non-tax residents were being discriminated as, unlike tax residents, they could not take advantage of the generous tax provisions which almost suppressed inheritance tax in some Autonomous Communities.

This was clearly incompatible with the founding principles and self-admitted goals of a European Union which vies to create a single economic and political space posed to compete in equal footing with the US, China and other major rising superpowers.

Post-ECJs’ Ruling – Changes to Spain’s Inheritance and Gift Tax Laws

The European Commission, through the ECJ’s ruling of 3rd of September 2014, ended all discrimination and forced Spain to amend its internal laws and accommodate the European principles on which the EU is based on.

As an example of such changes, Spain’s Constitutional Tribunal (Tribunal Constitucional) has annulled in March 2015 a part of Law 13/1997 relating to inheritance tax (ISD or IHT) from the Autonomous Community of Valencia when it states that only residents with habitual residency in said Autonomous Community can benefit from the lenient tax allowances on inheritance procedures (decisively more generous than state law as it allows an allowance of up to 99% for next-of-kin beneficiaries, Groups I and II). The Constitutional Tribunal has quashed this and stated that these allowances also apply to non-residents in the Community of Valencia (STC 3337/2013, from the 18th of March 2015). The effects of this ruling are ‘pro futuro’; going forward. It doesn’t affect closed matters.

Without further ado the changes brought about by Law 26/2014 (third final disposition):

I. Inheritance Rules

a) Deceased is non-tax resident. If the deceased was resident in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area (non-tax resident in Spain) the beneficiary will now benefit from:

• The regional tax allowances where the majority of the assets of the deceased are located in.
• If there are no assets in Spain, the rules of the Autonomous Community where the beneficiary lives apply.

b) Deceased is tax resident and beneficiary is non-tax resident. If the deceased was resident in Spain and the beneficiary is resident in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area (non-tax resident) he will benefit from:

• The regional tax allowances where the deceased lived.

II. Gift Rules

a) Immovable property located in Spain (i.e. real estate). If a non-tax resident is donated an immovable asset (located in Spain) he will now be entitled to the regional tax allowances of the Autonomous Community where it lies.

b) Immovable property located outside of Spain (i.e. real estate). If a tax resident is donated an immovable asset located in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area, other than Spain, he will be entitled to the tax allowances of the Autonomous Community where he lives in Spain.

c) Movable property located in Spain (i.e. a painting). If a tax resident in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area is gifted a movable asset located in Spain he is entitled to apply the tax allowances and gift rules of the Autonomous Community where that asset spent most of the days during the previous five years.

Consequences of the Changes in Inheritance and Gift Tax Laws

When one of the parties is non-tax resident in Spain the above-mentioned changes will bear a dramatic impact on the beneficiary’s taxation; significantly decreasing or even suppressing the tax altogether providing the estate is located in one of the Autonomous Communities outlined above with generous allowances on inheritance and gift taxation. In other words, for clarity’s sake, a beneficiary stands to pay much less now under this new law as from the 1st of January 2015.

For those who are non-tax resident in the E.U. or E.E.A. there are no changes. State law still applies to them unabated.

Changes to Spain’s Inheritance and Gift Tax Law – Conclusion

This is a welcome respite and much-needed change. Kudos to European lawmakers. It made little to no sense to discriminate against fellow EU-members. The previous regulation clearly undermined the principles in which the European Union is firmly grounded upon. Member States must all row as one if the Union is to stand. Or we all become one thing or all the other; but not both. Spain can’t have it both ways.

A house divided against itself cannot standAbraham Lincoln.

American 16th US President (1809 – 1865). He resolutely ensured a pro-union victory and brought about the emancipation of slaves.


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Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. Voluntas omnia vincit.

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About Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt

After completing his dual law degree in Madrid (ICADE) in 2003 Raymundo went on to work for prestigious Spanish and English law firms in Spain before moving to the UK for several years to work for a British multinational. He is a prolific writer of legal & financial articles in English, with well over 140 articles published and widely used in the Spanish real estate sector. Raymundo now runs his own law practice in Marbella, where he advises local and foreign clients on all legal matters with a focus on conveyancing and non-resident taxation. He is regularly quoted by the international press as a reliable source in his field of expertise.

172 thoughts on “Changes to Spain’s Inheritance and Gift Tax Law”

  1. Igurisu

    Raymundo, what taxation would apply to immovable property located inside Spain for non resident? In our case, my father owns an apartment but is a UK resident and would like to gift the apartment to my brother and myself (also UK residents).


  2. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Pete,

    The (new) law states that a non-resident taxpayer (you and you brother), whose a giftee of immovable property (i.e. real estate) located in Spain, is now entitled to the regional tax allowances of where it lies.

    As you mention both you and your brother are UK tax residents, you will both reap the benefit of this change in tax law spurred by the ECJ/European Commission. The tax residency of your father is irrelevant; he will not be tax liable for this transaction.

    Put simply, you and your bother are liable for gift tax in Spain (it follows a sliding scale). With this change in law, depending on in which autonomous community in Spain the property is located, you are now able to benefit of the regional tax allowances on gifts on par with tax residents. As I write in my article above, these regional allowances were previously reserved only to residents; in some cases they are fairly lenient as opposed to state law. Bottom line you stand to pay fewer taxes after this change in law (in Spain).

    Please take professional tax advice from the UK perspective. I can only advise from the Spanish side.

    Hope that answers your query Pete.


  3. Igurisu

    Hi Raymundo,

    Many thanks for your reply, it’s very clear. So the next thing I need to do is find out what the regional taxes are, in our case for Murcia. I’ve been trying to search but so far haven’t found where this information may be available. I’m back oput in 3 weeks so I’ll ask locally for further information about the tax rates.

    Thanks again for your reply, much appreciated.


    1. rosey_s

      Hi Pete,

      Did you ever find out what the gift tax rates are in Murcia. My husband is gifting his half of an apartment to his brother and I’m trying to find out who, if any of us are liable for tax. The apartment is worth €80,000 so the gift would be €40,000.



    1. Georgina Thomas

      Hi Raymundo,
      I have been trying to find a break-down of who ‘gifts’ or ‘donations’ apply to and have been unable to do so. Do the changes in Spanish tax laws apply to donations from sister to sister or is it only from parent to child? Regards, Georgina

      1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        Morning Georgina,

        These changes are unrelated to what you write.

        The gist of the changes is that lenient regional allowances that were once exclusive to residents are now open to non-residents as well. The allowances themselves have not been changed.

        So a non-resident can now benefit from both state and regional allowances on inheritance and gift tax.

        Spain is divided administratively into 17 mini-estates all which have competence over IHT and Gift tax. So they each have their own allowances in place besides the state ones which are common to all.

        To find an answer first you need to know in which autonomous community does you or your sister live to know what allowances, if any, are in place for Gift tax.


  4. Michael

    Dear Raymundo,

    Thank you for all that information. My wife and I own a piso in Malaga which we use mainly as a holiday home at present. We are resident most of the year in the UK where we pay our taxes. Will we benefit from the Inheritance Tax changes you’ve outlined?

    With best wishes,


  5. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Morning Mike,

    Yes, both you and your wife qualify to take advantage of these changes.

    Providing you are both tax resident in the UK, the surviving spouse will benefit of the regional tax allowances which in this case are set out by the autonomous community of Andalusia (where your property is located).

    Unfortunately Andalusia is one of those communities to which I referred in my article above which are not particularly lavish when it comes to inheritance allowances. EU-residents are now exempt from IHT in Andalusia on an estate valued at €175,000 or less. Any amount over and above will be liable for IHT following a progressive sliding scale.

    So you can expect to pay IHT or Gift tax as it has not been suppressed. Nevertheless, these regional allowances are still more generous than general state law.

    Hope that helps Mike.


  6. Michael

    Many thanks, Raymond. That is both most helpful and encouraging. With best wishes to you and yours,


  7. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Shirene,

    Your daughter, as the giftee, would be liable to pay for Spain’s Gift tax (ISD) on you donating her the property located in Javea. You would not be liable.

    As you mention she is already a tax payer in Spain then my article above does not apply to her.

    The reason is because she is resident in Spain and therefore already benefits from the regional tax allowance of the autonomous community where she lives in. You would need to request a detailed breakdown of the Gift tax to pay before you make any decision as it can be fairly high in some autonomous communities.

    Hope that clarifies Shirene.


  8. John

    Helo Raymundo

    My wife and I own a property in Villena (60km from Alicante). The house is worth approx. 150k euros with no mortgage, bought 10 years ago. We with inheritance in mind would like to gift it to our two grown up daughters (via our Spanish will if needed). What would be the implications and percentage of tax payable for our daughters.

    Kind regards

    John Cottam

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning John,

      Your legal query requires more information to be replied to. The Valencian Community takes into account the age of the beneficiaries as well as their pre-existing wealth. Gift tax in Spain follows the same sliding scale as Inheritance Tax but it doesn’t have associated its generous tax allowances.

      If the property is worth 150k and you plan to gift them 50% each and they are 21 years old or less no tax would be payable in Spain (Valencia). If they are over 21 years old the capped tax-free amount is 100k each. Their individual pre-existing wealth must be < €2mn to qualify. From a UK perspective, taking for granted your daughters are fiscal residents there, you should take professional advice as they may be liable for taxes. The donation needs to be done with a Notary Public as witness in a public document.

      These generous allowances were reserved to residents in the Valencian Community. But as I write in my article above the ECJ's ruling has allowed non-residents to take advantage of these when the real estate being donated is located in Spain.

      Hope that helps John.


  9. Elaine

    Hello Raymundo
    We will move to Andalucia next month. Before leaving the UK my husband and I are going to a solicitor to have new UK Wills drawn up. We are aware of the new succession law coming into force in Spain in August 2015. After we complete on our new Spanish property we will have Spanish Wills drawn up too. Our problem is we are worried we will make an error somewhere having 2 Wills and our UK solicitor is not familiar with Spanish law. Our understanding is that we have to state on our Spanish Wills that a) we wish our assets to be disposed of according to the laws of our nationality and b) the Spanish Will is only in relation to our Spanish assets. By doing this we believe it allows our UK Will to be our last Will & Testament. We have also read that we should NOT have the clause on our UK Will stating ‘This Will makes all other Wills invalid’. Our appointment is Friday 27 March with the UK solicitor and we are getting concerned that we are doing things correctly. I really appreciate any advice you can give us. Thank you very much. Elaine

  10. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Morning Elaine,

    Deary me, if all my clients were as diligent as you I would soon be out of business! I think you have almost self-replied your own queries.

    I suggest you read my new article on Spanish wills as there have been some changes in European legislation. It is very important to mention in your Spanish will that you want the laws of your own nationality (England & Wales or Scotland) to apply in lieu of Spanish ones. Please read the my article below for more in-depth details.

    Spanish Wills and Probate Law In Light Of European Regulation – 8th January 2015

    It is highly advisable for British nationals to have two wills drawn up. A UK will and a Spanish will which is exclusive to your Spanish assets. The advantages on following this are numerous and I have taken the time to collate them in this other article of mine:

    Making a Spanish Will – 21st August 2012

    Your UK solicitor cannot make any errors on a Spanish will because he will not be drawing it up. This can be done at a Spanish consulate (London, Manchester, Edinburgh) or else when you come on over to Spain before a Spanish Notary Public witnessing it.

    The only error a UK solicitor can make is when he adds a clause to a UK will, such as the one you mention yourself in your query, which would preclude a Spanish will (or any other foreign will for that matter).

    Hundreds of thousands of British nationals own property in Spain and have dual wills covering both their UK and Spanish assets without any problems. These wills act separately and don’t clash with one another. Spanish Notaries and their officers are well-trained and familiarized with UK law, don’t worry.

    Hope that helps Elaine.


    1. Elaine

      Thank you very much for your response Raymundo. We had read both those articles. Are you based in Spain? It would be nice to use your services (paid) at some point when we get there. Regards Elaine

        1. Elaine

          Whereabouts are you located Raymundo? Also another quick question if you don’t mind. How does Capital Gains Tax work if we sell shares we own in a company that is listed on the UK AIMs stock market once we are resident in Spain. Thanks again. Kind Regards Elaine

  11. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Morning Elaine,

    I’m based in Marbella (Andalusia, Southern Spain).

    Regarding share selling:

    Fiscal resident in Spain

    You’re liable for CGT as per Spain’s Personal Income Tax (IRPF)

    If selling shares in 2015:

    Up to €6,000 20 %
    Between €6,000 and €50,000 22 %
    As from €50,000 24 %

    If selling shares in 2016:

    Up to €6,000 19 %
    Between €6,000 and €50,000 21 %
    As from €50,000 23 %

    Hope that clarifies Elaine.

    Best regards

      1. Elaine

        Hello Raymundo
        I have been trying to find your contact details online (email or landline phone no), but haven’t been successful. What is the website for your company? I would like to find out your charges for advising on Inheritance Tax Planning before we make our Will which we need to do as soon as we arrive in Spain (about 6 weeks time) and general tax issues (capital gains). Unfortunately we are based near Baza (Guadix area) so it is quite a long trek to see you, but were very impressed with the articles and information you have given on here. Thanks a lot Elaine

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Hi Elaine,

          Until recently I was working in the UK. I still have not set up my practice as I’m organizing the move.

          I’ll be opening it this fall.

          I hadn’t realized you needed a service so soon.


          1. Elaine

            Hi Raymundo
            Yes, we need someone within the next few weeks. That’s a shame you’re not set up yet. Can you recommend someone else? We need advice on inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and whether or not to purchase the property in Spain in the name of a company. Thanks and Regards Elaine

          2. Elaine

            Hi Raymundo, Sorry for another question, really wish you had your practice set up so we could use your services to assist us with our upcoming move to Spain. We are currently trying to find an advisor to help on lots of questions and who we can engage, are you able to recommend anyone? Meanwhile, can I ask you another question please? Our understanding is that once we are resident in Spain that Spanish IHT is payable on our worldwide assets, so including any assets in the UK. Our only UK assets will be a life insurance policy (finishes in 2020) but if one of us/both of us were to ‘go’ now it pays out £250000. Add that to our Personal Penion plans then there would be approx £500000 of assets in the UK. As this figure is below what we both can have in the UK i.e. £325000 each, we haven’t put either the life assurance or pension policies into trust, however, it has just occurred to us that if we do put them into trust here that it might protect the money from Spanish inheritance tax. What is your opinion? Really appreciate your assistance. Thanks & Regards Elaine

          3. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

            Morning Elaine,

            Your beneficiaries, upon your death, would pay Spanish IHT (ISD) on your worldwide assets if you were resident in Spain at the time of passing away.

            Trusts do not exist under Spanish law and are not recognized by the Tax office (Hacienda).


  12. brian

    Hi Raymundo. I am UK citizen and tax resident in Barcelona. My wife is US citizen and also taxresident here. We do not have any property but savings here and in the UK. Can I, by 17th August elect to have <UK succession law in the event of my death and would that mean that we can use the UKpnds325000 allowance against 50 per cent of my cash assets.(All our savings are in joint names) I assume that I would have to make a UK and Spanish will declaring that. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Brian,

      The £325,000 inheritance tax allowance you mention only applies to the UK’s IHT. I’m afraid you cannot take advantage of a UK nil rate band on being tax resident in Spain.

      All things equal, when you pass away the joint bank account will be immediately frozen until Spanish IHT is settled (6 months on average).

      Any assets you hold in Spain (i.e. cash in bank) will be taxed following Spain’s Inheritance Tax; not the UK’s IHT regardless if your Spanish will indicates you want your estate to be disposed of following your own national law (England & Wale’s or Scotland’s as you don’t specify which is your nationality within the UK).

      Your spouse is liable to pay Spain’s IHT as beneficiary. She may take advantage of the tax allowances set by the autonomous community of Catalonia. But at no time can she benefit from the UK’s £325k threshold for the surviving spouse.

      Both you and your wife are, following your own words, tax residents in Spain. You may not take advantage of any UK tax allowance.

      My article above, on dealing with Spanish wills, explains you may choose your own national law to dispose of your estate; this does not refer to choosing the UK’s generous IHT provisions. If you are both tax resident in Spain, the surviving spouse will pay Spanish IHT. When in my article I mention choosing your own national law in a Spanish will I refer to actually being able to bequeath, for example, 100% of your estate to your American wife following England and Wale’s law. Spanish law for example may not allow this as in Spain we have the legal figure of compulsory heirs (parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren) which take preeminence over any surviving spouse on inheriting.

      Please let me know If I have clearly addressed your query Brian. It is very important the ideas above are clear.


  13. Mr G.Tearle

    Dear Raymundo,
    My Father passed away last year, covered by Alicante. He had only an English will.
    We have had the will translated and apostiled plus the deeds etc.
    It is only going to my Mother who lives in England now due to age and ill health.
    Rather than a new escatura arriving this morning, we received a request for a letter of probate ?.
    We had already paid all of the fees at the notary.
    What on earth is going on, the E.U. Was set up to make this easier, not harder.
    Thank you for helping, we are at the end of our tether.

  14. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Morning Mr Tearle,

    I’m sorry to hear your father passed away last year.

    Unfortunately, as you write, he only had an English will – no Spanish will made. This creates problems and serious delays. I highlight the advantages on having two wills drawn up for British nationals (and other nationalities) in my article Making a Spanish Will:

    In said article I specifically mention that if the deceased only has a UK will then probate is required which is a lengthy procedure that in my experience can take up to a year. Meanwhile the limitation period to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax has elapsed as it’s six months as from the time of the demise. You can however request a one-time extension to pay after the six-month deadline.

    Bottom line, the mistake your father made was not to have two wills; a second will (a Spanish one) exclusively for his Spanish assets (which does not preclude in any way his English will).

    On having only an English will you, as beneficiary of his late estate, incur in more time, expenses and overcharges as I care to explain in my article above.

    Notwithstanding the above, EU lawmakers created in 2012 what is known as a ‘European Certificate of Succession’ which will come into force on the 17th of August 2015 streamlining the procedure in EU cross-border successions:

    You can also read my article on the matter and how it impacts beneficiaries: Spanish Wills and Probate Law in Light of European Regulation

    Hope that helps


    1. Me G.Tearle

      Knowing how busy you are I cannot thank you enough for such a well researched and insightfully written reply.
      We acted on advice from Spanish Solicitors in Spain,
      We had all of the documents that we were told were required, all translated and stamped at our expense.
      Should we await the 17th or try to slog through probate, waiting would suit us as it has been presented before Notary already.


      Mr G.Tearle

      1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        You are welcome Mr Tearle.

        I think waiting is no longer an option as your father passed away last year, well before this law comes into force.

        I am afraid you will have to slog through probate. I am sure your solicitors have already requested an extension to file & pay Spain’s IHT. The problem with probate, as you point out, is all the extra time, having everything translated, apostilled etc at your own expense. All this aggravation could have been avoided if your father had drawn up two wills: one for his English assets, one solely for his Spanish assets.

        That is basically the gist of my article on Making a Spanish Will so as to avoid beneficiaries of Spanish estates all the extra hassle and expenses you are now enduring. All this could have been avoided through careful planning.

        Come August all this cross-border succession procedures *should* be simplified and the associated costs significantly reduced.


  15. Linda Martin

    Hi Raymundo,
    I have a house in canary islands that I donated to my daughter 5/6 yrs ago. we were both resident for many years there,(she was born there) but now we live in the UK, I had thought she would go back to the canarias, but she has settled in the UK, and now wants to sell the house in the canarias. I am a tax payer in the UK now and she is about to be,(she is 18) (But I also have a S.L. company in canarias and pay tax) Is she able to sell the house and if so what % of inheritance or gift tax would she be expected to pay as she wants to use the monies to buy a property here in the UK. Appreciate your comments.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Linda,

      I’m a tad confused by your legal query. You mention both Gift tax and the taxes associated to the sale of a property. You also mention some S.L. you own.

      If you already donated the Canary property to your daughter 6 years ago, she is no longer liable to pay Gift tax (‘Donaciones’); specially after 5 or 6 years have elapsed. I assume you paid those taxes in her name at the time, otherwise the property could not be under her name at the Land Registry and therefore she would not be the registered owner.

      When she attains 18 years old, majority of age in Spain, she can freely sell the property – providing it is indeed lodged under her name. She is liable to pay for for both Capital Gains Tax and Plusvalia tax. You have a nice little article written by me that describes in much more detail the taxes she will face on selling:

      Taxes on Selling Spanish Property

      Hope that answers your query.


      1. Linda Martin

        Hi Raymundo,
        Yes excuse my ignorance, but so many things are said about inheritance tax, I was there last month and was told by a property agent that she would have to pay at least 25%! She will be pleased that this is not the case as I did pay all taxes at the begininng.Thank you so much for your information I will look at your link.
        Kind Regards

        1. Linda Martin

          Hi Raymundo,
          Yes excuse my ignorance, but so many things are said about inheritance tax, I was there last month and was told by a property agent that she would have to pay at least 25%! She will be pleased that this is not the case as I did pay all taxes at the begininng.Thank you so much for your information I will look at your link.
          Kind Regards

  16. Ron Biggs

    Hi Raymundo, I have neighbours here in Tenerife who are non tax residents and own a house locally. They wish to leave their house to the son of a local neighbour on their death. How should they proceed to minimise his tax liability, ie, should they become fiscal residents etc?

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Ron,

      Your query is professional and exceeds the purpose of this article. You require a tailored answer.

      In short they can do little to nothing to mitigate his tax exposure because it is him who will be liable for Gift tax, not them. They hold no sway over his tax position. Gift tax is ruled by where the real estate is located, unlike movable goods.

      The Canary Islands along with Andalusia, Murcia, Extremadura and Asturias has one of the most onerous (read punishing) Succession and Gift taxes in all of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.

      As he is no kin to them, he would be classified in Group IV for tax purposes which has no associated tax allowances and would attract the highest tax band. Gift tax follows a sliding scale.

      Where he kin to them, he would benefit from generous tax allowances on Gift tax.


  17. David Kimber

    Hello Raymundo,
    I am UK resident and our son is resident in Madrid.
    We are gifting some UK assets to him and believe we should receive exemption from ISD unless there is a change of local government.
    What documentation would be required to support the gifts?
    I believe this has to be witnessed in front of a Spanish notary.
    Would our son be entitled to exemption on an inheritance from UK residents of asset based in the UK.provided the is no policy cal change in the meantime?

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning David,

      As you correctly point out a Gift deed needs to be organised before a Spanish Notary Public. Let’s say in Madrid.

      Only your son is liable to pay Gift tax, not yourselves. As he’s resident in Madrid, this autonomous region has some extraordinarily lenient Gift tax allowances which almost suppress payment of Gift tax altogether.

      The following excerpt of my article would apply to your particular case:

      “II. Gift Rules

      a) …not applicable…

      b) Immovable property located outside of Spain (i.e. real estate). If a tax resident is donated an immovable asset located in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area, other than Spain, he will be entitled to the tax allowances of the Autonomous Community where he lives in Spain.”

      The Notary Public will let you know what documents are required to sign the transfer of ownership/Gift deed. Chiefly the UK Title deed, UK Land Registry document that proves the property is lodged under your name and copies of UK passports plus your son’s.

      Hope that answers your query David.


  18. Joanna Brown

    Dear Raymundo

    Thank you for your very interesting article.

    My mother (UK tax resident) drew up a Spanish will many years ago, the beneficiaries of which are myself (UK tax resident) and my brother (tax resident outside the EU). She owns a property in Andaucia worth about €200,000. Who is liable for the IHT? Is it my mother’s estate or are my brother and I liable separately for the tax calculated for each of us?

  19. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Joanna,

    You are welcome.

    Unlike the UK, it is not the estate that pays for IHT in Spain, it is the beneficiary; in this case both yourself and your brother.

    You would both be liable for Spain’s IHT or ‘Impuesto de Sucesiones’ separately. I take it for granted you both inherit in equal shares; please correct me If I’ve made the wrong assumption.

    Your legal positions are different due to your tax residency. As you are both next-of-kin you are classified for inheritance tax purposes in Group II.

    1. Yourself: as you are a UK tax resident, Andalusia’s inheritance allowances kick in. Whereby if you inherit less than €177,000 and your pre-existing wealth (your net wealth in the UK or elsewhere) is below €402,678 you are exempt at 99.99%. In other words you wouldn’t pay any inheritance tax in Andalusia. However, you still have to file the tax within a six-month period after her death. You can request a one-time extension of a further six months if necessary (your lawyer does this on your behalf). If your pre-existing wealth exceeds the €402k then you would pay following a sliding scale; the more assets you pre-own in the UK or elsewhere, the more you pay for IHT.

    2. Brother: as his tax residency is outwith the European Union or the E.E.A. he does not qualify to benefit from regional tax allowances, unlike yourself. He would follow the state allowances which are less forgiving and decisively less lenient. Notwithstanding he doesn’t have to pay much or even nothing given he would be inheriting €100,000. There is also a personal allowance of almost €16,000 (tax-free). Depending on age, this allowance is increased but you have to be 21-years-old or less. The younger the beneficiary, the less he pays.

    Funeral expenses in Spain are tax-deductible and may be offset against IHT liability. Further allowances apply in case of physical disability etc.

    So bottom line you would both stand to pay almost nil for Spain’s ‘dreaded’ inheritance tax.

    Hope that helps Joanna.


    1. Joanna Brown

      Dear Raymundo

      Thank you for your prompt reply to my query.

      Can you tell me whether capital gains tax would also apply?

      Please let us know when you get set up in Spain. I am sure that we will have other issues to talk to you about in due course!

      Kind regards


      1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        Morning Joanna,

        You’re welcome.

        CGT would apply only if your mother was gifting you the property (whilst alive).

        She would then be liable for CGT and you (and your brother) for Gift tax.

        If we are just talking of inheriting property, as per your first post, then it’s only Spanish IHT. Mind you, you may be liable to pay for Inheritance tax in the UK as well on inheriting a Spanish property.

        Now if after inheriting the property you plan to sell it, then indeed you’d be liable for CGT and plusvalia tax. You can read this in more detail in my article: Taxes on Selling Spanish Property

        At some point early next year I’ll set up shop. You’ll know because I’ll start placing links to my company as well as contact details in all my articles.

        Thanks for your kind words Joanna.


        1. Robert Vandeven

          Hello Raymundo,

          My 5 year old daughter who was born and is resident in Spain Fuengirola, Andalusia is about to receive a gift of 100,000 euros from her Grandmother who is a Canadian resident. My daughters mother who lives with her in Fuengirola would in turn like to invest in a property there with this money buying in the daughters name.

          Can you give any indication of what the taxation might be and if using the money in the above mentioned way is allowable under Spanish law?

          We would very much like to use your paid services but I understand from a previous post that you won’t be set up until sometime in the fall. Is this still the case?

          Many thanks in advance.

          Kind Regards,


  20. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Robert,

    As she’s the niece then she would be classified in Group III for Gift tax purposes.

    She would have a tax liability of approximately €20,000.

    As long as the tax is paid there would be no problem in buying a property after. I don’t advise lodging property at the Land Registry in the name of under aged children as it causes practical problems. You may need a judge’s permission to sell the property at a later date, whilst she is a minor, and this may take some time.


    1. Robert Vandeven

      Hi Raymundo,

      Actually she is the grand-daughter, it is my Mother who wants to gift my daughter the money. Is this still in the same group?

      Yes I did wonder about the ability to re-sell the property.

      Thanks very much for your help.

      Best Regards,


  21. Robert

    Hi Raymundo,

    In regard to our previous correspondence over the last few posts:

    I am still a bit confused as to what group my daughter falls into. My mother wants to gift my daughter (born and living in Spain). Does that not make my daughter a direct descendent as opposed to a collateral descendent based on the categorisation as outlined here?:

    Group I consists of natural and adopted children, grandchildren and so forth in direct (ie not collateral) line of descent who are under the age of 21

    Group II consists of the same descendants listed above in Group 1 but of the age of 21(+), ascendants in direct line, and spouses. As mentioned earlier, spouses are not favoured beneficiaries and are treated in no way differently from adult children or, indeed, parents and grandparents.

    Group III consists of those in the next degrees of kinship out to first cousins. (For the technically inclined, that is to say including the collateral third grade).

    I am also confused as to whether any regional ISD allowances on inheritance tax equally apply to gift tax.

    Thirdly, I can’t seem to determine if the fact my mother lives in Canada and therefore outside the EU and EAA has any bearing on any allowances that might apply?

    Once again many thanks.

    Best Regards,


  22. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Robert,

    1. As grand daughter she is classified in Group I as she’s below 21 y.o., correct. What changes is that a coefficient is not applied. Her liability would then fall to €12,500 approx following this change.

    2. Gift tax follows its own specific allowances as the transmission is ‘inter vivos’, not ‘mortis causa’. So Andalusia applies its own (regional) allowances on Gift tax in addition to the state ones. What Inheritance tax and gift tax mainly have in common is that they follow the same sliding scale. Were she inheriting this amount from her grand mother she would be tax exempt.

    The only allowance that comes close applies to ascendants gifting money to descendants on acquiring their primary abode. But I believe this may not be thought for under aged children; I am not certain to be honest. The regulation does not really specify it other than stating the beneficiary must be below 35 years old and the amount gifted is capped at €120,000. The tax exemption would be 99%.

    3. It doesn’t really matter if she’s Canadian, What matters is where her grand daughter has her residence in Spain, in what autonomous region following recent changes from last year as explained in detail in my above article. This is something new. This impacts on which Gift tax allowances are applied.


  23. John dempsey

    Hello Raymundo,

    I own a property in Andalucia and I am currently looking to Gift the property to my 2 adult children (ie both older than 21). The property is worth euro 250,000. I understand that both my children will have an individual Gift Tax liability but what I am not sure on is what reliefs or allowances they can claim to minimise the tax. Are you able to provide some guidance.

    Kind Regards

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Afternoon John,

      You are correct.

      Both of your children would be liable for Gift tax as giftees.

      And you will be liable for both CGT and Plasvalia tax as giftor. More on your tax liabilities as giftor here:

      Regarding your children, they are classified in Group II for tax purposes. Andalusia has a generous allowance which allows a 99.99% exemption (no Gift tax is paid) for each child so long as the following criteria are met:

      1. The amount gifted is below €120,000 per child (this threshold is increased to 180k for those children with a medically accredited disability).
      2. Descendants are < 35 years old.
      2. The money/property is destined as main abode (and be able to prove it!) i.e. a holiday dwelling would not do. Has to be all-year-round.

      As presumably you would gift in equal shares, they would each stand to gain €125,000 which is above the allowed threshold. I'm confident something could be done to circumvent this minor problem…

      And you in turn would have to pay the above two taxes I'm afraid which, as you've noticed already, are the same two that apply on selling a property.

      The allowance your children could benefit from was previously not available to non-residents. This was quashed by the ECJ last September as per my above article.

      Hope that helps.


      1. John dempsey

        Thanks Raymundo for your detailed and prompt reply. As both my children are +35 years old it would indicate that paying IHT is preferential to Gift Tax from a pure financial and tax liability perspective – unless I am missing something?

        Thanks again.

        Regards John

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Morning John,

          You are welcome. You are correct once more.

          In your particular case, from a tax mitigation point of view, it’s best they inherit.

          Group II have a 99.99% tax exemption in Andalusia, per child, of up to €177,000 providing their individual pre-existing net worth is below €402k. Following your query, your children may benefit from it so long as their net worth falls within the parameter.

          In line with the gist of my article above they would benefit from this regional allowance whether resident or non-resident; it no longer matters to take advantage of regional allowances which improve upon those set by the State.

          Hope that helps.


  24. Lloyd

    Hi Raymundo,

    I plan on Moving to Spain in the next few months, but am worried about a tax implication that might arise.
    I plan on gifting my brother a sum of money around €200 000 in 3 years when my money is freed up in a Swiss account. He is in the USA and i understand if i gifted him the money while still in the UK i understand there would be no gift tax, but am concerned about what the tax would be if i did move to Spain this year and gifted him the money in 3 years.
    I would be a permanent resident of Spain as my Wife is an EU Citizen and i would be there as a spouse of an EEA Family member and then get Permanent residency.

    Kind Regards,


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Lloyd,

      I cannot advise on UK law.

      Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions which have passed their own laws on this matter. You don’t mention where in Spain you will become resident.

      Gift tax in Spain is normally high. I cannot give you a straight answer as I would need to spend time studying the double taxation treaty with the US.

      Also take note of my comment in my article above: “For those who are non-tax resident in the E.U. or E.E.A. there are no changes. State law still applies to them unabated.”

      As your brother is resident in the US, he would not benefit from regional allowances making any gift of money very onerous.


  25. Katie

    Hi Raymundo,
    I’ve really appreciated your interaction with your readers and your willingness to help us make sense of everything. Do you mind helping with our situation as well? Our family (my husband and me, and our children) are American citizens who now have residency in Galicia. We would like to buy a home here, and my parents would like to gift us, and the kids, the maximum gift allowable by US law. We would then wire the funds over to Spain in order to buy the home. All gift and bank transactions would take place between bank accounts in the US, though, before the lump sum was wired over. Do you know whether we need to pay gift tax in Spain, since all financial transactions (except the final one) would occur in the US?

    Thank you!

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Katie,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You would be liable to pay Gift tax in Galicia payable to the ATRIGA (Galicia’s Tax office) as you are tax resident there. I don’t believe Gift tax is part of Spain/US Double Taxation Treaty.

      To benefit from a 95% tax allowance you need to comply with the following requirements;

      1. Gift must be formalised before a Notary Public in a deed. You will require a lawyer to organise this.
      2. Giftee must be below 35 years old or else have been gender victim.
      3. Money must be used to acquire main home in Galicia
      4. Property must be acquired on the following six months from the gift signing the gift deed at the Notary.
      5. Capped amount of €60,000.
      6. Your income must be below the €30,000 threshold to qualify.

      There are other tax allowances but this one is the closest match following what you write above.

      Any amount over and above 60k will be taxed. Your pre-existing wealth will be taken into account for tax purposes. Gift tax in Galicia is not very high when compared to other autonomous regions.

      You are welcome Katie.


      PS. Disqus ‘crisis’ averted.

  26. Katie

    Dear Raymundo, thank you so much for your quick response. Just a few follow-up questions before I take this to our accountant (it’s great we can ask you in English!):

    For requirement #1 above, would this be before or during the actual signing for the house (when we close on the house and the keys are handed over to us)?

    For #2, do our kids count as giftees? They’re under 35, whereas my husband and I are over 35.

    For #5, is this a 60k cap for each giftee?

    And finally, if my parents decided to loan us the amounts instead of gifting them to us, would we still need to pay taxes or make a declaration to ATRIGA? And I assume from your answer above that we don’t deal with Hacienda at all, just ATRIGA?

    Lots of questions. Thank you so much!
    Take care.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Katie,

      The gift deed should be signed before completion, yes.

      The kids may count if the property is to be put under their name (inadvisable as it creates issues). This is not really thought for kids (under aged) but for young adults seeking to get a footing on the property ladder.

      60k is global, not for each giftee.

      Any significant loans must be reported to the ATRIGA, yes, as well as the rate of interest on the loan. Otherwise it will be regarded as a gift and be taxed accordingly.

      Just ATRIGA.

      You are welcome.


  27. Tara Grayson

    Hi there Raymundo

    I wonder if you could myself and my brothers our father died in January 2013 whilst holidaying with us in England. We were left his property in Manilva Spain which was valued at 170,000.00 euros.

    We were ordered to pay approx 24,000.00 euros within 6 months are we now in a position to reclaim these monies

    Kind Reagrds


  28. Jo Hinton

    Hi Raymundo

    Thank you for your informative article.

    My father (age 76) owns a modest property in Mojacar (Andalucia) and wishes to gift the property to me (his daughter aged 36). Can you direct me as to how much ‘tax’ would needed to be paid on the transfer? The house has a fiscal value of 101.600 Euros.

    Many Thanks

      1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        Morning Jo,

        Thank you for your kind words. You are better off inheriting than being gifted the property from a fiscal point of view. Inheritance tax is almost negligible in your case.

        If your pre-existing wealth is below €402,000, your tax allowance is 99,99% in Andalusia meaning almost no tax is paid for the amount you quote.

        You still need to file the Inheritance Tax but, as I write, your tax bill is negligible. You have six months to file and pay the tax as from his death. You may request an extension of six months more if you need it (if he did not have a Spanish will probate takes that long).

        It no longer matters whether you are UK resident following my article above.


        1. Jo Hinton

          Thank you for your response Raymundo. We do not want to wait until my fathers death, as we would prefer to do the transfer immediately.

          Would you be able to give me a rough idea of what we would be looking at tax wise?

          Also, is it possible to do the transfer remotely….. Ie: without us both having to go to Spain to complete.

          Thanks again for your help!

  29. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Jo,

    I would need to know a number of things to make an accurate assessment. I can only give you an estimate. The cadastral value needs to be multiplied by the applicable CMVC to attain the current ‘real’ taxable value.

    You: Providing your pre-existing wealth (in UK or elsewhere) is below €402,000 then you are looking at approximately €13,000 tax bill on the amount you quote for Gift tax.

    Your father: is liable for both Capital Gains Tax (20%) and Plusvalia tax. If this is the main abode of your father (must be resident in Spain) he qualifies for absolute relief on CGT as he’s over sixty five years old. If the property was bought before 1994 allowances may kick in. You can read my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property for more details:

    Yes, exchange may be arranged through lawyers by granting a Power of Attorney.


  30. Anna Stone

    Hi Raymundo

    Thanks also for this article which was very helpful.

    My Uncle owns a flat in Valencia but lives in England and is thinking whether to sell/gift to my brother and I or. It seems from what you have said in the article that inheritance is preferable from a tax point of view, but I wanted to check whether that applies to us as niece and nephew (UK tax residents)? My Uncle has no dependents and no wife, and my Mum (his only sibling) and Gran and Grandad (his parents) are all dead.

    Thanks for any advice you can give,


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Anna,

      Not necessarily, it’s case dependent.

      Not every autonomous region has the same allowances for inheritance or gift tax. Some are more lenient than others. Generally speaking inheritance is treated in a more favourable manner than gift tax.

      There are no general answers one-size-fits-all.


  31. neil

    Hi Raymundo,
    if i own a property in Spain and a property in England am i required by Spanish law to appoint someone to represent me in a financial capacity. .By not having a representative could it result in heavy fines. Many Thanks

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Neil,

      Short answer is yes.

      There are four cases in which a fiscal representative must be appointed. On owning property in Spain, as a non-resident, you have to file and pay annually Non-Resident Income Tax. All four cases are listed below:

      As for the fines being “hefty” on non-compliance, I don’t believe they can be labelled as such.


  32. Richard

    Hi Raymundo
    I have found the information you give on this web site to be well explained and very informative and certainly highlights the many different possible scenarios that exist regarding individual circumstances and property transfer.
    We were wondering if you may be able to provide some guidance regarding what the likely tax liabilities would be to transfer a Spanish property, located in Andalucia, from a sister to a brother (as a gift). Both are resident in the UK and UK tax payers. The value of the property is around 75,000 Euros although the valor catastral is around 35,000 Euros. Both the sister and brother are over 50. We are not clear what taxes would apply (or how much) to either party in Spain or the UK (Gift tax, succession tax, Inheritance tax, Capital gains tax, Plusvalia tax, etc.). The property is just used as a holiday dwelling. Any guidance you could provide on what taxes would apply would be much appreciated. Are there any options to reduce the costs of transferring the property? Are there any other costs that we need to consider? Who should we engage with to formalise the transfer? Yourself? Apologies for the many questions.
    Thank-you Richard

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Richard,

      Apologies for the belated reply, I was on holidays.

      Giftor: liable for both Capital Gains Tax and Plusvalia tax (exactly the same as if if were selling the property). For more details please read my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property:

      Giftee: Liable for Andalusia’s Gift tax. Approx €8,500. This amount may be increased depending on her pre-exisiting wealth which would have to be disclosed on filing the tax.

      Hope that helps.


  33. Ann

    Hello Raymundo,

    My husband and I are debating whether to buy a holiday home in Spain. If we do and the property is purchased, either in joint names or in my sole name, can our Spanish Will declare me or my husband as sole inheritor or does it also have to inlcude his two children, both of whom are in their 50’s.

  34. Dave

    Hi Raymundo, we are a uk couple living in the Valencia region and have been in a UK civil partnership since 2006. We have lived in Spain full time for over two years and jointly own our house here. I am getting conflicting information as to if we will be recognised the same as a married couple in terms of tax and inhertence law as I have been told we will not. Any advice would be appreciated
    Thank you

  35. Liz

    Hi Raymundo
    Apologies if you have already answered this question.

    My husband and I live in the Communitat Valenciana and we are both tax residents here in Spain. We have redone our wills, although I’m not sure we needed to as neither of us have children, parents or grandparents living.

    My question is; will Spanish inheritance tax apply to our worldwide assets in view of the fact that we had to declare them in April this year or will assets outside of Spain be taxed in the country in which they are held?

    Many thanks.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Liz,

      No need to apologize.

      The UK has no double taxation treaty with Spain regarding IHT.

      Any asset located in UK will attract UK IHT.

      If your husband is resident in Spain, and he’s the beneficiary of your late estate, he will pay inheritance tax on all assets, yes.


  36. Lyndsey

    Hi Raymundo
    I have just stumbled across your amazingly informative and clearly written articles and have realised that I have probably been given some very bad advice by a lawyer here in Spain, which is about to cost me a lot of money.
    Knowing that there had been a change in to the law regarding wills, I went to a lawyer in Spain to seek advice regarding my parents wills. My parents are resident in the UK but own a property in Spain. They have made wills in Spain, but without a reference to UK national law. If I am right, reading your articles, the fact that they are not Spanish resident and not likely to become resident means that it doesn’t matter that they have not specified UK national law. Property would in any case go to myself and my sister, so not be a problem with Spanish law.
    I sought advice from these particular lawyers who immediately advised that rather than making new wills we should in fact transfer the property into mine and my sister’s names now as a ‘gift’. I was told that the Valencian community, where the property is based was allowing this with no gift tax for a period of time. They said this would mean we would save a lot of money as otherwise we would have to pay 18% inheritance tax.

    Having read this article, it would seem to me that this advice is completely wrong as you state

    “a) Deceased is non-tax resident. If the deceased was resident in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area (non-tax resident in Spain) the beneficiary will now benefit from:

    • The regional tax allowances where the majority of the assets of the deceased are located in.”

    The majority of my parents assets are in the UK, so does this mean UK tax inheritance tax allowances would apply. If this were the case, the estate would not be of high enough value to fall into inheritance tax in any case – so there would therefore be no advantage in transferring the property as a gift now. Could you tell me if I have understood this correctly.

    If not, as the house in Spain would be inherited by the children of the property owners, what inheritance tax liability would there be? And is there any advantage to transferring the property now?

    Thank you

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Lyndsey,

      Thank you for your kind words. I try to convey complex legal matters in a clear and concise manner to reach as wide an audience as possible.

      Regarding the legal advice you have been given I must disagree as I find it correct. Your parents are UK tax resident. The UK (nor the RoI or Denmark for that matter) are parties to this new law; they opted out. In which case their wills, Spanish or UK, will be ruled by their own national law (England and Wales presumably in your parent’s case). My article is only aimed at expats who are (tax) residents in Spain.

      Regarding the excerpt you quote, I believe you have misunderstood what I wrote. This article refers to a legal change spurred by the ECJ through a new bold ruling which now allows non-residents to benefit from regional lenient tax allowances (by ‘regional’ I mean Spanish Autonomous Communities, I’m not referring to the UK which is a Member State) in equal footing as Spanish tax residents. The gist is basically that all EU and E.E.A. Member Countries citizens are entitled to equal rights; there can be no discrimination as we are trying to build a common financial-political zone.

      So back to your case this translates into you being a UK tax resident. Should your parents pass away, post the ECJ’s ruling, you are NOW entitled to benefit from a broad array of regional tax allowances (i.e. Valencian Autonomous Community which is where the asset is located).

      Additionally you may benefit from their tax allowances which, as you have been correctly advised, hold generous tax provisions when it comes to Gift tax from parents to descendants (offspring). In some cases the tax amount is nil for that region. So it makes financial sense to gift the property to your next-of-kin rather than waiting to inherit it which would attract higher taxes. It’s just forward tax planning. This advice is exclusive to the Valencian region and not extensive to other parts in Spain unless I mention it.

      So long story short, you are doing what’s right to mitigate your tax exposure; don’t worry.

      Hope that clarifies Lyndsey. You are welcome.


      1. Lyndsey

        Hi Raymundo, thank you very much for your reply.
        This has reassured me.
        My only thought is if there is so little inheritance tax to pay, is it really worth spending quite a few thousand now to transfer the property. I don’t seem to be able to get a straight answer from my lawyers about what inheritance tax would be payable if we did not do the transfer.
        Situation is parents own the house – they are both non-resident (resident in the UK)
        Myself and sister would inherit – I am Spanish resident and she is UK resident. Are you able to tell me what percentage would be payable currently in IHT in our circumstances in the Valencian Community?
        Thanks again. Shame you are not working in my area. Is your practice up and running in Spain yet? If so please give me details as may be very useful in the future. Let me know if it would be helpful for me to write a review for you anywhere.

  37. John

    Hi Raymundo,

    I wonder if you would be kind enough to clarify the following for me?

    A retired married couple live and jointly own a €1,500,000 home in the UK. They also jointly own a €100,000 flat in Malaga, which they use for three months each year. Each has made a UK will leaving everything to the other.

    They are considering emigrating to Spain and living in the flat in Malaga all year round. They plan to keep the property in the UK and rent it out for an income of around €30,000. They would make Spanish wills with the same terms as the UK wills.

    If they remain resident in the UK there is no IHT liability as transfers between spouses are exempt. In contrast, once they become fiscal residents in Spain, on the first death, the surviving spouse would have a Spanish IHT liability of around €800,000, which is taxed at close to 40%, so would face a tax bill of around €300,000?

    Have I got this right? If so, would there be any way to move to Spain and avoid this tax?

    Many thanks for any help,


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning John,

      Excellent question.

      The tax liability of the surviving spouse would actually be closer to just under two-thirds on the figure you quote.

      Andalusia has a tax exemption of 99.99% on the main dwelling if the surviving spouse lived in it for the prior two years (for deaths post 01/01/2003). The property needs to be kept for the following ten years to qualify for the allowance. So basically no tax would be paid on the Spanish property (50% of 100k flat in Malaga). The main problem are your UK assets; these tip the scales, making the tax bill (too) high.

      To (legally) avoid paying any inheritance tax you could set up residence in a tax-friendly region within Spain i.e. Madrid, Balears, Navarre. The surviving spouse would pay almost nil Spanish Inheritance tax as opposed to paying just shy of €200,000 in Andalusia.

      You could always spend quality time in Andalusia so long as your main residence is in Madrid – and you can prove it. The catch is that a five-year residence is required for this allowance to kick in prior to the death in the region of choice. Detailed prove of residency will be required. And when I write ‘detailed’, I mean it. That’s why if you look at a map with Spanish HNWIs they are mostly concentrated in a triangle spanning Madrid, Navarre and Balears.

      Regarding setting up a trust, I would not recommend it in your case. This is an option for (very) affluent people as running annual expenses can be high.

      To close, bear in mind that tax planning is dynamic. Fiscal laws change frequently, specially with general elections looming on the horizon, so any advise given now may well change in the future.

      You are welcome.


      1. John

        I wonder if I might push my luck a bit and ask a supplementary question. The couple have two sons who are resident in the UK. Let’s say that they each change their UK wills so that they leave their UK property to their sons (instead of to each other). The couple then move to Malaga. Would I be right in thinking that the sons would not be liable for IHT in Spain on the value of the UK property? (please ignore any UK IHT concerns, as I believe I understand those fully).

        Many thanks again for all your help,


        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Not at all John.

          Unlike the UK where it is the estate that is taxed, in Spain it is the beneficiary who is taxed.

          On you becoming resident in Spain, along with your wife and two children, Spanish Inheritance Tax will tax appointed beneficiaries on your worldwide assets (including those located in the UK).

          Spain has double taxation treaties in place on Succession with only with three countries: France, Greece and Sweden. There is no double taxation treaty between UK and Spain regarding inheritance tax.

          Meaning your beneficiaries (children) would be liable for both Spanish Inheritance tax on your UK assets AND they would also be liable in the UK for the same reason. In other words, double taxation.

          However, as outlined above, both resident and non-resident beneficiaries of a Spanish estate (i.e. your children) may now benefit from the regional tax allowances in Spain where the deceased lived. If you take residence in a tax-friendly region in Spain the Spanish Inheritance tax paid by your children on the UK assets would be nil i.e. Valencia.

          From my article above:

          I. Inheritance Rules

          a) …

          b) Deceased is tax resident and beneficiary is non-tax resident. If the deceased was resident in Spain and the beneficiary is resident in a Member State of the European Union or else in the European Economic Area (non-tax resident) he will benefit from:

          • The regional tax allowances where the deceased lived.

          Some people may be tempted in simply concealing the UK assets from Spanish authorities once they take up residence in Spain. However, Spanish residents must comply with what’s called ‘tax model 720’ on holding assets abroad in excess of €50,000. Fines are stiff on non-disclosure and/or non-compliance. Spain and the UK have signed and initiative where they are sharing quite a bit of fiscal information. You may want to read this:

          Buying and Owning Spanish Property through Companies: Pros and Cons (Dispelling Spanish Inheritance Tax Myths) :

          Additionally, and more worryingly, inspired by the US’s successful FATCA agreement, five European countries – including the United Kingdom and Spain – signed in April 2013 a pilot initiative enabling an automatic exchange of fiscal information which overall impact still remains to be seen…

          Following up on what I’ve written in the first line of this post, you may consider leaving assets to three beneficiaries: wife and two children and viceversa. As stressed, it is the beneficiary that is taxed in Spain, not the estate, unlike the UK. Each one would inherit €266,666. Your spouse would in Andalusia pay approx €40,000 in inheritance tax. And your children, depending on their age (as under twenty-one-year-olds qualify for generous tax allowances) would pay under €40,000 in Andalusia as well or even nil (in some tax-friendly regions). Additionally should the surviving spouse pass away within the next ten years after the first spouse died, the beneficiaries do not pay any inheritance tax at all on what was inherited from the first spouse.

          Bottom line, the fact that it is beneficiaries that are taxed allows room to ‘play’ with tax residence (within Spain) to mitigate tax exposure to Spanish IHT. So even if you choose Andalusia as the region to live in your beneficiary’s tax bill can be dramatically reduced the more beneficiaries there are as the overall tax base is split among them.

          Hope that clarifies John.


  38. John

    It does. Many thanks again for taking the time (and effort) to reply. Please excuse my confusion, which is being caused by articles like the following:

    “To put it another way, Spanish inheritance tax is not payable if assets are outside Spain and the recipient is also not resident in Spain.”

    So is this article (and others like it that suggest the same thing) wrong / out of date?:

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Apologies, my bad.

      I misunderstood the second query thinking your two children had also become resident. Resident beneficiaries pay inheritance tax on ALL worldwide assets, hence my reply.

      To clarify my reply above to your extended query, your two children, if non-resident in Spain, would only pay Spanish Inheritance tax on assets located in Spanish territory (i.e. flat in Malaga). Any asset located outside of Spanish territory (i.e. UK house) would NOT attract Spain’s Inheritance tax as long as they continue being non-resident. Concretely they would each pay nil for the flat located in Malaga as there is a nil-rate band on taxable bases of < €175,000 in Andalusia.

      I'll edit my reply to avoid further confusions and please excuse my blunder John.


      1. Ian

        This site is a real find, clear and concise…un like my current advisor. Briefly, the changes take into account property or assets in SPAIN being left to beneficiaries either in Spain or the UK. Our situation involves a UK RESIDENT (Mother) leaving about 150,000 euros to my wife (Daughter) in their will, solely in respect of UK assets ONLYl. We live permanently in Andalucía, and are tax residents in Spain for 2015 tax year. My Tax Advisor INSISTS that as the money has been inherited from the UK and is not in respect of any Spanish asset etc. we would have to pay ‘Spanish National’ (i.e. Madrid rates 15 odd thousand allowance, and IHT on the rest) on the inheritance, rather than Andalucian rates (far more generous, up to 175k before any IHT I believe) . She says this is because:
        1. We have not been resident in Spain for more than 5 five years. (I read that this does NOT now apply after the ECJ ruling.)
        2. Its from a UK estate only.
        I believe that is the WRONG advice on both counts!!

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Morning Ian,

          Your wife is liable to pay Spanish Inheritance Tax as she is Spanish resident, following your words.

          As she lives in Andalusia these regions’ laws apply.

          She can benefit from a regional tax allowance which has a nil-rate band on the first €175,000; providing her pre-existing wealth is below €402,000.

          Additionally she may be liable to pay IHT in UK as well as double taxation applies. Please seek legal advice from a UK solicitor on this point.

          Hope that helps.


          1. Ian


            Thank you so much. I hope that there is so form of ‘Register’ and Professional body for Advisors in Spain, as if we would have followed the advice given, all sorts of problems would have arisen. I can only say that I would feel sorry for anyone who is given similar ‘advice’ and does not question it or at least ask someone who knows. (i.e You).

            Thank you once more, I hope that anyone else in a potentially similar situation sees this.


  39. Sharon

    Dear Raymundo

    I came across your extremely helpful website while looking for some guidance on how best to take forward my late father’s affairs in Spain. My parents own a house in the Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa area worth approx €130,000. My father, who was an Irish citizen, passed away last August and I have been advised that my mother needs to register the death with the Spanish authorities within 6 months. Both my parents have Spanish wills leaving everything to each other and the house deeds are in both my parents names. My parents were/are normally resident in Ireland and spent approximately 3 months per year in Spain. I wonder if you would be kind enough to advise if my mother (also Irish citizen) would have to pay inheritance tax as a spouse and if yes, whom would she have to notify and pay it to, could this be done online? Does this have to be done in person. If she has no liability, does she still need to register the death within the six months?

    Thanking you in advance. Kindest regards Sharon.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Sharon,

      Your mother, as appointed beneficiary, may have to pay Spanish Inheritance Tax, yes.

      She will definitely need to file this tax whether she has to pay anything or not.

      Your starting point is hiring a lawyer. This tax is much too complex to be self-assessed. You cannot pay it online.

      This tax needs to be filed and paid within six months of his death. A one-time extension of a further six months may be requested. The steps to follow are described in my article: Making a Spanish Will.

      Once a heir has all three documents:

      1. Original death certificate
      2. Certificate of Last Will
      3. Notarised copy of the testator’s last will

      They may now obtain what is known as a Deed of Declaration of Acceptance of Inheritance (‘Escritura de Aceptación de Herencia’) before a Spanish Notary. With this deed they are now able to file, pay and lodge the death duties.

      Only once IHT is paid and lodged – never before – will the property be registered under the beneficiaries’ name at the Land Registry where the property is located. Once registered, the property can be disposed of freely i.e. they can sell it on. Heirs cannot mortgage or sell any of the estates’ assets, such as the Spanish home, to pay IHT as it still doesn’t belong to them legally. This is something that escapes many as they are banking on the Spanish estate itself to foot the tax bill – won’t happen.

      In Spain it is the beneficiary (your mother) who gets taxed, not the estate.

      Hope that helps Sharon.


      1. Sharon

        Dear Raymundo

        Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your excellent, concise guidance, it is very much appreciated. Things are much clearer now and I will take forward with a local Spanish solicitor.

        Kindest regards

  40. Keith

    Hello Raymundo,
    I am not sure whether you can help me. We live in Catalonia, have residencia and pay tax in Spain. My wife and I each have one third of the shares in a UK company which we founded in 1990 and our eldest son, who lives in the UK, has the remaining third. In 2013 we were informed that each third was worth about GBP200,000. This valuation was for the purpose of asset declaration here in Spain. We still have an apartment in the UK and the company still pays me a salary which is taxed in the UK.
    We have been told that we must pay capital gains tax of over 20% in Spain if we gift our shares to our son. Are you able to tell me whether this is correct?

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Afternoon Keith,

      In Spain a giftee (your son as beneficiary) is liable for Gift tax either as a personal obligation or else as a real obligation.

      i) Personal obligation requires your son to live in Spain – and clearly he is a UK tax resident.

      ii) Real obligation requires the asset or right to be exercised is located within Spanish territory. Following your words, the company was incorporated in the UK and and is registered – presumably – at the Company’s House.

      So really I cannot see how Spanish Tax Authorities can lay claim on you gifting the shares to your own son following the above premise.

      Another matter is what the HMRC is entitled to. I believe you/your son should be taxed back at home (in the UK) for Gift tax. I recommend you seek legal counsel from a British solicitor on this matter as I believe it is a ‘domestic’ issue which is no concern of the the Spanish Tax Authorities.

      Had this company been based in Spain, in lieu of the United Kingdom, there are instances where your son would be tax exempt of up to 99% on being gifted the family company’s shares. But this doesn’t seem to be your case following your own words above.

      Moving on to yourself, you as giftor, will be liable for Income Tax in Spain as you are Spanish tax resident. Capital Gains Tax would be taxed at 19.5% as the law was amended on the 12th of July 2015. An exact calculation surpasses the format of a simple forum question. You can read my article on Taxes on Selling Spanish Property which deals with CGT (the same principles are applied on calculating the tax):

      Hope that clarifies Keith.


  41. Gavin

    Hi Raymundo,

    Many thanks for providing such a useful and well informed resource on line. I’m sure many of us would welcome the opportunity to take advantage of your services in a professional context so please let us know when you start your practice in Spain.

    In the meantime I have a couple of questions which I hope you may be able to shed some light on.

    My mother and father (UK residents) have jointly owned an apartment in Fuengirola for the last thirty years. They have recently been advised that it may be beneficial to have my fathers share of the property transferred to myself and my brother given his state of health, neither of my parents currently have Spanish wills.My brother and I are both above 35, both probably have assets just over over or near 402k Euros.

    From reading your advice it would appear that there may not be any financial benefit to this as he would have to pay C.G.T plus the Plasvalia tax and my brother and I would have to pay the Andulucia Gift Tax which i believe is 8,500 euro.

    Would we be better off financially if we simply inherited a share of the property on his passing and were able to claim Andalucia’s regional allowance? (is it likely to be more financially generous than the Andalucia Gift Tax? (i’m not sure if this is capped at 8,500 euro or is likely to be more)

    The situation is also complicated by the fact that I act as Power of Attorney over my father’s estate and, whilst this is a legally valid document in the UK, I have been told that, for it to be valid in Spain it must be notarised in the UK, apostiled then translated into Spanish (all of which we have done) but also now a ‘ceritficate of law’ issued by a UK lawyer to establish its legal credibility in Spain.

    Any advice would be most welcome.



    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Afternoon Gavin,

      Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated.

      What’s the value of the Fuengirola property approx if you don’t mind me asking? I need to know it.

      Do I gather you both have pre-existing assets over and above €402k? Is this correct?

      As you have read above, there is a regional tax allowance which applies only in the region of Andalusia where your parent’s property is located (Fuengirola). If your pre-existing wealth is under €402k and your share of the property that is inherited is under €175,000 you wouldn’t pay any Spanish Inheritance Tax. You would still need to file the Succession Tax in Spain (obviously) in a timely manner assisted by a lawyer.

      If you or your brother’s pre-existing assets/wealth exceed the €402k threshold you cannot benefit from this regional tax allowance of Andalusia and will be taxed from the first euro.


      1. Gavin

        Hi Raymundo,

        Many thanks for your reply.

        As to the value of the property in Los Boliches, I’m not sure. I have had a look on line at similar properties for sale (a three bed appartment in a block in Los Boliches) but the prices seem to vary substantially. I’m pretty certain that it would not be greater than 700,000 Euro (ie less than 175k for 25% for each share that my brother and I would inherit)

        Regarding the 402 Euro asset allowance. Can you advise on how this is calculated and how evidence of wealth would be presented to the Spanish Tax Authorities (for example my wife and I own several properties jointly which are still mortgaged).

        It is possible that my father could ‘gift’ his share to my brother and I now but I assume that this would attract CGT and Plasvalia tax. Are the allowances for ‘giftees’ (my brother and I) the same as for succession tax?

        Finally, the situation is complicated further by the fact that I hold a ‘lasting power of attorney’ for my father which gives me authority over his assets and estate (he is mentally incapacitated). Although I have had this document notorized and apostilled in the UK i have also been advised that I would need a ‘certificate of law’ issued by a UK solicitor to make it valid in Spain.

        Once again, thank you for your help



        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Hi Gavin,

          Pre-existing (net) wealth in Spain. It refers to any and all assets you may own (including legal rights etc) in Spanish territory before the death. If you are joint owner with your spouse of assets (in Spain) then 50% is yours for tax purposes. Any liabilities (i.e. outstanding mortgage repayments in real estate) must be deducted from your wealth so we have a net figure (art 22.3 ISD).

          Yes, you assume correctly. If your father gifts the property, or part thereof, as giftor he is liable for Plusvalia and Capital Gains Tax (more on both taxes in my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property

          The giftee would be liable for Gift tax.

          Also, frequently forgotten, is art 20.3. Which states that if the same property is inherited twice (i.e. once from your father and a second time from your mother as surviving spouse) within a time frame of ten years, the Spanish Inheritance Tax paid on the first transmission is fully deductible on the second, and subsequent, transmissions. Meaning almost no tax would be paid in your case; providing the second death is in the following ten years.

          When you talk of 700k you mean current market price. The value used for tax purposes is the updated or ‘real’ cadastral value which is always well below the current market value. As a rule-of-thumb up to 1/3 less on average. More on how this is calculated in my article La Complementaria or Bargain-Hunter Tax:

          So inheriting 50% of your father’s 50% is 25%. 25% of a value that is well below 700k (as cadastral value) means you wouldn’t pay Spanish Inheritance Tax in Andalusia providing your pre-existing (net) wealth is below the 402k threshold. Mind you, you would still need to file it before the Tax Office, needless to say. Otherwise there will be no transfer of ownership at the Land Registry.

          And no, you cannot make further questions! You are welcome.


          1. Gavin

            Ha, no further questions I promise! once again many thanks for your detailed responses and please let us know when you open a practice, best regards

  42. Pamela Happé

    Hello Raymundo,
    I’m impressed. Your knowledge is vast.
    I’m belgium and residing in belgium. I own a small appartement in catalonia in Palafrugel which I’ve had for over 20 years.
    It’s value would probably not exceed 250000 euros. I have 4 grown sons to whom I would like to donate the appt.
    The appt having never been rented has generated no income.
    Can you help? What must i do? What papers are necessary? Can this all be done from Belgium? ( I don’t travel much these days!)
    Thank you and have a great day

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Pamela,

      Thank you for your kind words but you are giving me way too much credit.

      Gifting the property can all be arranged from Belgium by means of a Power of Attorney (PoA).

      1. You retain (hire) a lawyer in Spain (preferably local).
      2. You sign a PoA.
      3. A Gift deed is arranged to be signed before a Notary Public acting as a witness. The lawyer, acting on your behalf as proxy, will gift your property in four equal shares to your four adult children.
      4. You, as giftor, will be liable for both Plusvalia and Capital Gains tax. More details on this in my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property:
      5. Your four children, as giftees, will be liable for Gift tax. Following new European Regulation they can benefit from lenient regional allowances (Catalonia) even if they are non-resident. I have analysed the tax allowances and I believe they qualify for none so they would have to pay Gift tax.
      6. After all taxes are paid the property is lodged under their name at the Land Registry.

      That answers your question on gifting the property.

      However… should they inherit the same property in Catalonia, in four equal shares, they would pay no Spanish Inheritance Tax at all. Mind you, they still need to file the inheritance tax within six months of your death (even if they are liable for no tax; that is a different matter).

      Perhaps it would be wiser for you, read tax mitigation from your and their perspective, not to gift the property but rather to have them inherit it when you pass away. Providing you do not hold more assets in Spain. If you have more assets then they may have to pay Spanish IHT.

      Hope that clarifies.

      Pas de quoi.


  43. Marcus

    Thanks for the excellent information, Raymundo. Some guidance if possible.

    My father has assets in Spain (investment accounts and homes{Madrid and Valencia}). The total value is approx 1m Euros. He is a Spanish national but resident of the US.

    He is quite ill and considering his condition would happily gift, donate or liquidate any or all of these assets provided it would assist the beneficiaries (3 children, residents of US) in avoiding taxes, probate etc.

    He’s agnostic as to what he should do, but wants to achieve the highest net yield. Any advice you can provide would be appreciated.

    Best – Marcus

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Marcus,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      The main problem is that he is not resident in Spain and neither are his three children, including yourself.

      Were he, for example, resident in Madrid on the previous five years before passing away you would pay little to no inheritance tax, if at all. That’s because the Autonomous Regional law that would be considered would be that of Madrid which is fairly lenient as opposed to State law.

      Unfortunately, as I write in my article above: “For those who are non-tax resident in the E.U. or E.E.A. there are no changes. State law still applies to them unabated“.

      Meaning that as your father in a non-EU/EEA resident then State law will apply to you on inheriting his assets.

      My whole article above does not apply to your case as neither he nor his three appointed beneficiaries are resident in Spain. You cannot take advantage of lenient regional allowances I am afraid. You need to find another solution to mitigate Spanish Inheritance Tax.


  44. Keith Cooper

    Hello Raymundo,
    Apologies for not replying sooner but thank you very much for the most useful information that you sent on the 27th November.
    Kind regards
    Keith Cooper

  45. Nikola Cotter

    Hi Raymundo

    I wonder if you could advise me please. My father lives in Mollina in a house he inherited from his partner (they were not married). Upon inheriting it he paid inheritance tax but he is now being told that he needs to pay capital gains tax as well. Is this correct? He is a Spanish resident (lived there since 2002) but is a British citizen. He is retired and a pensioner and the prospect of paying a further 21% tax is very distressing to him. He has no plans to sell the house and the house has only decreased in value due to the slump in the property market. Any advice would be most welcome.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Nikola,

      I deeply apologise for my belated reply. I have just noticed you posted your query back in December.

      Your father, on inheriting assets in Spain, needs only to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax.

      Capital Gains Tax is payable only when you either sell or gift a property you own as per my article: Taxes on Selling (Gifting) Spanish Property:

      Hope that clarifies.


  46. Brad Wiletts

    Hello Raymundo

    My wife and I will be moving over to live permanently in the Murcia Province of Mazarron.
    We will become resident in due course and wanted to know about inheritance tax should one of us suddenly die. Our major asset will be the house we will own in Mazarron which will be in joint names and worth around 180,000 euro.
    As the house and indeed all our assets are in joint names would we be liable to Spanish Inheritance tax or would we be excempt as we are married and our assets are in joint names

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Brad,

      Residents and non-residents alike are liable to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD) on inheriting assets located in Spanish territory (tax model 650).

      Owning assets in joint names does not exempt you from paying and filing this tax. You are probably thinking of the UK tax exemption between spouses. We do not have an equivalent in Spain (unfortunately).

      If your main asset is this 180k property, I understand you stand to inherit circa 100k.

      Murcia has been very busy eliminating personal allowances but has introduced interesting ones for family companies as of the 8th of August 2.015. Unfortunately Murcia values properties at market level; that is at pre-recession levels which are substantially higher than current market values post-credit-crunch.

      In your particular case you are looking at a tax liability of 4k or less on inheriting your wife’s share. You still need to hire a qualified lawyer to file Spanish Inheritance Tax on your behalf. So you must also budget his legal fees. To this you must also add Land Registry fees to amend the ownership of the quota. Inheritance tax can be requested to be made in deferred payments.

      Hope that helps.


  47. Andy

    Morning Raymundo

    My parents have a property in Guardamar near Alicante worth roughly 140000e which they would like to gift to me and my wife. Can you let me know what the costs for doing this would be for all parties including fees and taxes. We are all UK residents although my parents were Spanish residents for the last 10 years up until last year.

    Many thanks


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Andy,

      I am more than happy to answer general legal queries relating to an article’s subject but yours isn’t really one.

      You want me to give you a full breakdown of associated taxes and expenses on gifting a property which would require me to ask you for a host of information to ascertain for which allowance you qualify and make the necessary calculations. Supplying a tailored tax breakdown, which is not legal advice, on a given matter is not really the purpose of me providing voluntary legal support on these forums, sorry. You’d need to hire a lawyer for something so specific.

      You would be exempt from paying Gift tax if you are below 21 years old as you are their son and the amount is below the 150k threshold. If you are over 21 y.o. then a 75% tax reduction is applicable provided certain criteria is met.

      Your wife would have to pay a significant sum on the 70k for gift tax as she is not next of kin to your parents.


  48. Mary

    Hello Raymundo
    My partner (British citizen and Spanish resident and taxpayer) has recently inherited from his mother (British citizen and British resident with properties only in the UK). The amount he received is just above €140,000 in total, although “officially” his part of the estate is above €150,000 (there was an agreement to compensate one of the siblings who was looking after their mother for two years beofre she died. This compensation was agreed informally and there is no mention of it in the Will or anywhere else). We live in Asturias, where there is a threshold of €150k for IHT exemption. There were no taxes to be paid on the estate in the UK. Is there any way my husband can avoid paying taxes considering he did not actually receieve more than €150k?
    Thanks a lot in advance for your help.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hello Mary,

      You are going to put me out of business knowing so much!

      You are correct, the Community of Asturias has an allowance of up to €150,000 as a nil rate band. Any amount inherited lower or equal to said threshold does not attract inheritance tax.

      Any excess, even by just by one cent, and you become liable to pay on the full amount inheritance tax. So if on paper the taxable base exceeds €150,000 your husband does not qualify for this exemption and pays Spanish Inheritance Tax on the full amount. It is a shame you did not do some forward tax planning on this one as you would have saved yourselves a tidy amount. Sometimes what lawyers charge is a paltry amount compared to what they can save you on the long run…

      It is unfortunate that this ‘informal’ agreement with his sibling has gone undocumented. Were it, somehow, reflected on paper then, providing the amount is below or equal to the 150k, no inheritance tax would be paid (you’d still need to file the tax mind you). I gather this may prove rather challenging given the fact that Probate did not reflect this in any manner (presumably). Also the pre-existing net wealth of your husband must be below the 402k threshold to comply with this allowance.

      Unless this agreement with his sibling is documented and justified somewhere I am afraid the Asturias local Tax Office will turn down your request and demand its pound of flesh; apologies, I meant tax.

      I am sorry I can’t be be of greater assistance on your matter. The rules cannot be bent on this instance.


      1. Mary

        Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. It is what I thought. We are putting together a family statement signed by all siblings and whatever other “proofs” we have (mainly an annuity purchase as part of the compensation) to document the agreement and justify the amount taken from the estate and not given to the inheritors. I’m not too hopeful but we have to try.
        Another problem we have is that one of the documents they ask for is the certificate of “Últimas Voluntades”. The most similar thing in the UK is, I imagine, the Probate, but the Probate doesn’t state specifically which Will it refers to (i.e. it doesn’t say “this Will dated on xxx”) and, according to our accountant, that could pose a problem as, in theory, one could attach any Will to the probate. Have you had any experience on this matter?
        Thanks a lot again!

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Morning Mary,

          The certificate you mention is described in detail in my article Making a Spanish Will (scroll down to the end):

          Following your own posts, as no Spanish will was made, this certificate will yield a negative result (as in no Spanish wills were made). You have a detailed explanation, in English, on how to attain it here:

          Probate must specifically state the will it is referring to, which must be his last will.

          As I explain in my article it is very advantageous to make a Spanish will on having assets in Spain as UK Probate, in my experience, takes over a year to sort out. In Spain there is a deadline of six months to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax. You may request a one-time extension of six months (total time to pay 12 months). After said deadline you will start accruing delay interests which mount higher the longer you take. You should request an extension ASAP unless you want to pay penalties for late payment of the tax.

          You should hire a Spanish lawyer to request said extension and file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax on his behalf. You cannot achieve this on your own as it is far too complex and technical.


          1. Mary

            Thanks again, Raymond, but I am confused. The deceased (a UK citizen and resident) had no assets in Spain, only in the UK. Is it necessary (and possible) to get a Spanish Certificate of Last Will?
            Also, the grant of probate was issued without any clear reference to the Will it relates to. It only says “…the last Will and Testament of the said deceased (a copy of which is annexed) was proved and registered…”. As far as I can see, there is nothing we can do about it, or can we?


      2. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        Hi Mary,

        Obviously not, sorry. I had overlooked she only owned properties in the UK and was resident there.

        Then it all hinges on what’s stated in the Probate documents. To me the wording in English sounds fine; it specifically states it is in fact her last will and testament.


  49. Ken Povey

    Hi Ramundo

    I have recently purchased a property in Tenerife with my wife and was not aware of the inheritance tax issues in Spain. I was told by the selling agent that you just need to set up a Spanish will and in the event of my wife or myself passing away the surviving person would not be liable to pay inheritance tax. Can you confirm if this is correct in Tenerife.


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Ken,

      I confirm this is poppycock.

      Regardless on whether you are a resident or non-resident on inheriting assets in Spain you are liable for Spanish Inheritance Tax.

      Unlike back home in the UK where it is the estate that is taxed, in Spain it is the beneficiary that is taxed.

      Also, unlike the UK, in Spain there is no generous spouse exemption on inheriting Spanish assets (the famous £325,000 or £650,000 in the UK).

      That said, making a Spanish will is very advantageous for a host of reasons which I care to explain in my article: Making a Spanish Will:

      It will save your heirs money, time and hassle at a time of bereavement. But the fact you make a Spanish will does NOT mean you will pay less inheritance tax, much less be exempt from it. That’s a load of tosh.

      Now that you own property in Spain, you are liable for the following annual taxes: Non-Resident Taxes in Spain

      Hope that clarifies.


  50. Ken

    Hi Raymundo

    Thank you for your quick response and the information provided. IHT seems to be a bit of a minefield in Spain/Tenerife. Am I correct in understanding if a property is owned (valued at €200,000.00) jointly by a married couple and one of the party passes away. Would the surviving party ( the benificiary via the Will) be liable to pay IHT on €100,000.00 within 6 months of the death of the spouse ? If this is the case what would the % of tax be payable.


  51. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Ken,

    Yes, but you may request a one-time extension for a further 6 months; total time to pay would then be 12 months. Payment can be fractioned (in instalments) at your request.

    But now is when reductions and allowances come into play. You never asked me for them.

    I don’t provide exact calculations on IHT as I would need to ask a host of questions and do calculations; and I will not do that for free. You are looking at 15% approximately on inheriting 100k (without any reductions or deductions explained below).

    There is a state allowance of nearly €16,000 that reduces your taxable base.

    Additionally, in your case as surviving spouse, you also have a local reduction from the Canary Islands region of €40,400 on the taxable base. So between both of them you are reducing by 50% your IHT tax liability.

    Also, if you (or your wife) are older than 65 years old at the time of death when you inherit then you do not pay any inheritance tax for an amount of €125,000 or less. You would still need to hire a lawyer to file Spanish Inheritance Tax, mind you, but no tax would be due.

    If the partner who dies holds a life insurance, and you are the beneficiary, you get a further reduction of €23,500 on inheriting money from this insurance policy.

    Hope that helps.


    1. James

      Dear Raymundo,
      Please accept my apologies if I am raising a question inappropriately, however, I have been unable to establish how to enter your question and answer forum.My wife is Spanish and I am English and we are both English tax residents. My wife is 76 and inherited in 1994 a local which is occupied by an independent supermarket, which pays rent,and an apartment both properties being located in Tenerife, Canary Islands. She wishes to gift the properties to her 2 children in view of the recent tax changes and whilst we are aware of the need to pay plus valia we are unsure about the liability for capital gains tax in Spain. We understand that the transfer of the apartment will be capital gains tax free in view of my wife’s age but the local is quite different. Finally, my wife’s identity card was issued in Tenerife and we spend up to 5 months a year in the apartment. Thank you in anticipation. Regards James

      1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

        Hi James,

        You are good making your query here, don’t worry.

        I address the recent change in Inheritance and Gift Tax in the Canary Islands in my new article: Spanish Inheritance Tax

        Your children, which age you do not specify, are classified for tax purposes in Groups I or II (the latter if over 21 y.o.).

        To formalise a Gift it can only be done by means of a deed having a Spanish Notary Public witnessing it. The Canary Islands have just approved a gift tax change effective as from the 1st of January 2016 which reduces by 99,99% gift tax from parents to children. If you do not formalise it before a Notary Public there is no tax exemption and your children will be taxed on the full amount.

        Gift tax is paid for by the giftee (the one who receives the assets), that is your children.

        The Giftors – you and your wife – would be jointly liable for both Plusvalia and Capital Gains Tax (assuming both properties are owned jointly by yourselves).

        Why do you write your wife is exempt from paying CGT? I don’t get it. Are you confusing the rollover reliefs for over and under 65 year olds for Capital Gains Tax? These do not apply to yourselves, you are non-resident in Spain: “we spend up to five months a year in Spain (the apartment).” More information in my article: Taxes on Selling Spain property

        You are welcome.


  52. Caroline Newby

    Good morning Raymundo,

    I wont’t even pretend to understand the Spanish law on taxes but have just returned from Lanzarote after trying to sort out my late father’s bank a/c out there. He passed away last March, was a non-resident and held that a/c with me and my sister ( also UK resident). I was told by the bank that they need a copy of the will and grant of probate and I will need to contact the Spanish tax office to pay the tax first before they can transfer the rest to us in Uk. What rate tax will I have to pay please, and any further info you can give would be much appreciated.



    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Afternoon Caroline,

      The laws on Spanish Inheritance Tax are complex and even confuse professionals so there is no need to excuse yourself. There isn’t one law, there are many. For each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions has their own laws on the matter besides the state law.

      Right off the bat I’ll let you know that I don’t supply an exact figure for no one does this for free; only an estimation.

      That said, you do not provide enough details to even give you an estimate. How much do you stand to inherit in Spain (I need a figure)? Are you resident in Spain, UK? Are you over 21 y.o.? Under or over 65 y.o.?

      First thing you should do is hire a Spanish lawyer. He will guide you on the procedure. Attempting to file Spanish Inheritance Tax without engaging a lawyer is suicide.

      You should read my article Making A Spanish Will; scroll all the way to the bottom where there is a heading talking about the next step for heirs:

      If your father made a Spanish will it is going to save you considerable time, money and hassle. If he did not, then you must follow probate (assuming you are English) and attain a Grant of Probate. You will require the following three documents:

      1. Certified copy of his last will
      2. Certified copy of his death certificate
      3. Grant of Probate.

      All three documents above must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator. They must also have affixed the Apostille seal of the Hague Convention of 1.961. The Apostille seal can be obtained through the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

      On average a Grant of Probate is taking over a year. Once you have all three, only then can you start to file Spanish Inheritance Tax. Once you have filed and paid IHT can you then have access to the joint account you have with your sibling. All Spanish assets will remain frozen until the inheritance tax is paid.

      As your father passed away last March, and you are asking on this almost a year later, you have already incurred in penalties before the Spanish Tax Office for late payment.

      As from the time someone dies, his heirs or beneficiary have only six months to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax without attracting penalties and late payment interests. You can request a one-time extension of a further 6 months (total 12 months). Spanish Inheritance Tax can be requested to be fractioned or paid in instalments.

      Hope that gets you started. Again, your first step is to hire a Spanish lawyer to support you on the Spanish side; you cannot follow this procedure on your own.


      1. Caroline Newby

        Thank you very much for your very detailed response, this is quite a complicated matter, I have already sent the bank a translated will, grant of probate and death certificate several months ago as you suggest but my English lawyer has not heard back for five months, no acknowledgement, nothing. Our contact at the local branch in Lanzarote has now left, and they say they never received the paperwork etc etc so looks like we have to start from scratch… Dad didn’t make a Spanish will …… Time to instruct a Spanish lawyer I think.

        Thanks again.

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Morning Caroline,

          You sent your bank contact those three documents? A bank clerk would have just binned them; they are totally useless to him. It is tantamount to expecting a bank clerk in the UK to file and pay your income tax before the HRMC on your behalf; it is ludicrous! Whoever told you that was either wasting your time or else was utterly ignorant of our legal procedures.

          Those three documents are required by a lawyer to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax on your behalf. Once your appointed lawyer has paid it, and only then, he will hand you proof of payment which you can then take to your branch in Lanzarote. Your lender will then release the account allowing both yourself and your sibling unfettered access to the Spanish funds.

          I guess you will have to start from scratch; but this time round hire a lawyer from the onset.

          Lesson learnt – the hard way.


  53. Deborah

    Dear Raymundo

    I’m so happy I’ve discovered your website! It’s so hard to get a straight answer about how much tax needs to be paid in Spain!

    I hope you can help me…

    I live in Catalunya and my parents live in the uk. They would like to send me 100k and I need to know what tax I will need to pay on receiving this amount of money?

    I should mention that I am 41 years old and that I live, work and pay my taxes in Catalunya.

    Many thanks in advance for your time!

  54. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hello Deborah,

    If you were inheriting the 100k, you would pay zero. You would still need to hire a lawyer and file Spanish Inheritance Tax.

    If they are gifting you 100k, then you are liable for 5%, or €5,000 approximately. This must be done formally; a Notary Public in Spain must witness the Gift deed. You will need to hire a lawyer to organise it.

    If you don’t, then you pay double the amount quoted above.

    If you are going to use this money to set up a company, then you would pay zero taxes on the 100k providing ALL the following are met:

    1. You are between 18 – 40 years old.
    2. Your pre-existing net assets in Spain are < €300,000.
    3. You use these funds to set up a business in Catalonia.
    4. The gift is organized and witnessed by a Notary Public in Catalonia and takes the form of a Gift deed. You need to hire a lawyer to organize it.
    5. Amount gifted is equal to or below €200,000.

    Hope that helps.


  55. Deborah


    Thank you very much for your response.

    I wouldn’t be using this money to set up a company but as part payment of a flat.

    If I were to be given less than 100k would that make a difference to the tax? (For example, 95k).

    Also, can you tell me if the money was firstly paid into my bank account in England and then I transferred that amount to my account in Spain would I be liable to any kind of tax?

    Many thanks in advance!


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      You are welcome Deborah.

      Receiving 5k less would make no change other than paying slightly less tax.

      Regarding the transfer to UK and then to Spain it would not make any difference.

      As a tax resident in Spain you are obliged to submit tax model 720. If 100k suddenly pop into your UK account you would have to justify their origin and many questions would be asked. If you fail to prove it, you would get slapped a hefty fine. If you choose to keep it a secret, UK Authorities, in compliance with new tax agreements, will inform the Spanish tax authorities and you will be in trouble.


  56. Emilio

    Dear Raymundo

    My father is a Spanish citizen who was born in Turkey to Spanish parents and he has never lived in Spain. He lived in Turkey with a foreigner visa his whole life and he died recently

    I am also Spanish citizen due to my father’s nationality and I have also never lived in Spain.I am currently living in Turkey

    We have a joint house with my father in Turkey and which I will inherit now

    Considering my father and myself both never lived in Spain and considering the property I am inheriting is located in Turkey, do I have to pay any inheritance tax or any other tax in Spain?

    Thanks in advance for your response and I could’t see your email address.Otherwise I would try to direct my question to you directly or in a more relevant forum.

    Have a nice day and I look forward to hearing from you

  57. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Emilio,

    No, you do not have to pay Spanish Inheritance Tax.

    No, you do not have to pay any other tax in Spain.

    I don’t post my e-mail address to anyone – I don’t want to get spammed.


    1. Emilio

      Dear Raymundo
      Thanks for your kind advice and quick reply. I really appreciate it
      I have one last question if you dont mind
      If I rent this house in Turkey in future and generate monthly income for myself, do I need to pay any tax to/in Spain for my monthly income which I receive from renting my house in Turkey?
      I look forward to hearing from you

  58. Deborah

    Hi Raymundo

    I have a quick question regarding the money that my parents will give me to buy my first property in Spain (Catalunya). If my father inherited the money from his mother, and therefore paid inheritance tax in the uk, do we have to pay pax on this money again in Spain?

    Many thanks again

  59. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

    Hi Deborah,

    I have finished writing an article on this to be published in February.

    The United Kingdom has no double taxation treaty with Spain on inheritance matters.

    If your father is a British national, resident in the UK, and inherits money from his mother in the UK, he does NOT have to pay inheritance tax in Spain (because there is no connection with Spain).

    If your father is a Spanish resident and inherits money from his mother in the United Kingdom he MUST pay inheritance tax in Spain (because he is tax resident in Spain).

    If your father is a British national, resident in the UK, and inherits from his mother (also a UK resident) a property in Cataluna, then he MUST pays Spanish Inheritance Tax (because the asset is located in Spain).

    You are welcome. Hope that clarifies.


  60. Steve

    Hi Raymundo
    In 2002 my elderly parents purchased an illegal property in Andalucia. The property has recently become legal and the escritura has been drawn up in my name. As the original contract and all the bills are in my parents name am I liable for gift tax.

    If so, how much should I expect to pay. The property is currently valued at approx 170,000 euros. We are all UK resident. I am 60 years old.

    Kind regards

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Steve,

      I don’t really understand what your parents have done.

      A gift can only be done by means of a gift deed having a Notary Public witnessing it. It is not simply changing the deeds into your name.

      How much you pay will depend on your pre-existing net wealth. I don’t really answer these sort of questions because they require an elaborate study which escapes the purpose of this forum.

      It will be approximately 20% (if indeed you have to pay it as I still do not understand what your parents did).

      You may have to multiply the above tax rate by the following multiplicand I’ve borrowed from my next article (February).

      You are classified in Group I:

      Pre-existing Net Wealth
      (in Euros) Groups
      I & II III IV
      0 up to 402.678,11 1,0000 1,5882 2,0000
      402,678.11 up to 2,007,380.43 1,0500 1,6676 2,1000
      2,007,380.43 up to 4,020,770.98 1,1000 1,7471 2,2000
      Over 4,020,770.98 1,2000 1,9059 2,4000


  61. Deborah

    Hi Raymundo

    Thanks for your answer.

    Just to be clear, my father has inherited this money from his mother in the uk and paid the inheritance tax on it in the uk. He now wants to pass that money to me in Spain. Do I need to pay gift tax on that money? The amount is 95,000€.

    Many thanks

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Deborah,

      I believe I already answered your query, with much detail, further above on the 17th of January at 9.51am.

      Yes, you are liable to pay Gift tax. But this must be done before a Notary Public in Spain signing a Gift deed. You need to hire a lawyer to organize it and file the tax on your behalf.

      See my reply above.


      1. Deborah

        Thanks Raymundo

        I just wanted to check that as inheritance tax as already been paid there was the possibility that the money wouldn’t be taxed again. I see from your answer that this is not the case.

        Many thanks for your time.


        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          Unfortunately not. This is something I mention in next month’s article (February). UK and Spain have no double-taxation treaty when it comes to inheritance tax. They do on other taxes, but regrettably not on this one.

          You are welcome.

  62. Karen Marie

    Hello Raymondo.
    As everyone has said, your insight and knowledge has given me so much more information than anyone else before. Thank you.
    Could you help with this: My parents have been resident in Lanzarote for 20 years in a property worth roughly €220,000 and a joint savings (ISA) worth £35,000. They both had matching wills in Spain. The first spouse leaving all assets to the surviving one and then to me and my two sisters. My mother died 2011 and now my father is gravely ill. Looking through his paperwork I now believe my father failed to file an IHT in 2011, or at all.
    My question is what kind of penalties will he have incurred?
    The ISA has now been frozen because of failure to remove my mothers name from the account (my indication he hadn’t filed an IHT), how can he access this? It will be needed to pay of any penalties.
    What taxation should my sisters and expect when my father dies?
    We are UK citizens.
    We have no intention of selling the property within 10 years.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Karen Marie,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I strongly suggest you read my article dealing specifically with Spanish Inheritance Tax (which explains the penalties in detail):

      If more than 4 years, six months and one day have elapsed since your mother’s death then the statute of limitations kicks in time-barring inheritance tax. Meaning that inheritance tax can no longer be demanded by the Tax Office in Spain (penalties included). Put simply, no tax would be payable in such a case (and by extension no penalties either).

      It would be extremely useful to know the exact date of death of your mother to calculate the prescription.


      1. Karen Marie

        I can’t thank you enough for your help.
        Phew! Ok. I have read your article on ISD (IHT).
        My mother passed away 21st sept 2011.
        Just a few more questions if I may?
        My father has been severely disabled since April 2015. Would that have any bearing on his status in terms of ISD (IHT) if he is due penalties?
        Could the penalties for my mothers duties be passed on to us on my father’s death?
        We do not intend to sell their property as it was their home for many years. What will the ISD (IHT) implications be for me and my two sisters.
        And lastly, may I ask that you contact me directly and privately regarding representation?
        Many, many thanks for all your help thus far.
        Karen Marie. X

        1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

          You are welcome Karen Marie.

          There are still 37 days remaining before the inheritance tax on your mother’s death is due, so it is NOT time-barred yet…

          The fact your father was ill will make no difference; the fines, penalties and surcharges still apply in full.

          You can contact me through Linkedin’s private messaging service to discuss your matter more at length.


  63. Natasha

    Hi Raymundo,

    I have a question regarding gift tax in Spain. My parents want to send me 420,000€ to purchase a house in Alicante, Spain, in my name. I am a tax-resident in Madrid. They are both tax-residents in the UK. What would the gift tax I would have to pay on this be? I am over 21.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Natasha,

      I am sorry but I do not reply to these kind of queries asking me for tax estimations.

      The answer is not straightforward and is often elaborate which exceeds the purpose of this forum. You would have to pay for a tax estimation, as it is a legal service.


  64. jack

    Hi Raymundo
    I have been separated from my wife for 6 years and in the process of divorce, now I wish to gift the wife my half of a property in andalusia, the property has been deemed illigal but has €35,000 joint mortgage but is valued at €150,000 on the catastral though it has €200,000 on the escrutra, she would look to have the mortgage put in her name, what taxes would we have to pay, we are both UK residents

  65. Rueiro

    Hello Raymondo,
    I am a UK citizen resident in Galicia and have recently become aware of my personal obligation to declare IHT in Spain for the money that I inherited in the UK, as one of seven residual beneficiaries, from my Fathers cousin. Probate has not yet been granted in the UK and even when that happens the full amount will not be know until a house is sold but I only have 10 days or so to apply for an extension to the six month obligatory declaration period. Should I try to apply for the extension even though I don’t have all the document that that RD1629/1991 art 68.2 seems to require or would an estimated autoliquidacion be better ( In which case how do I document the fact that IHS was paid in the UK?). I feel that I getting into deep water at the wrong end of the sticks. Can you advise? Thank you.

  66. DouglasHale

    Hello Raymundo,

    First, let me say I think it is truly marvelous that you give free advice to people in regards to Spanish inheritance questions. I hope you are able to help me as you have helped others here in response to your article.

    My wife is a Citizen of Spain, but resides in the U.S. (She is not a US Citizen, but simply a legal resident and carries a Spanish passport). Her mother is a Spanish Citizen and Resident residing in Valencia for over 30 years. Her mother owns a flat in Valencia valued at say 300K Euros, and wants to leave this property to her natural daughter, my wife, upon her death with a proper Will OR as a Gift.

    It appears as a Gift the costs would be considerable for both her mother and herself. So it appears inheritance of the flat upon her mother’s death would be the least costly?

    Based on my wife’s 17 year residency in the U.S., what kinds of taxes and fees would she be looking at upon her mother’s death and how long would she have to pay them? Also, is there another methodology that could be looked at in terms of limiting my wife’s liability upon inheriting the property?

    Any assistance you can provide would be most appreciated, I tried to include all information I could in regards to residency and location for both parties and hope there is nothing lacking in this regard.

    Thank you,
    Douglas Hale

    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Douglas,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      To address your queries I think it best you first read my two in-depth articles on the matter of inheritance tax in Spain that reply your queries. The above was just an article on the changes to IHT and Gift tax.

      Please read the following two articles: (point 6 of this article covers Valencia)

      US citizens cannot benefit from the above tax allowances; only EU residents.

      If her mother gifts her the property she is liable as giftor for both plusvalia tax and capital gains tax. Your wife would be liable for Gift tax as giftee.

      You are welcome.


  67. Helvet

    Dear Raymundo,
    Interesting article. You are incredibly generous providing your expertise free of charge and I would not like to abuse of your free advice so I have just a couple of questions:

    1- Are you able to represent me or advice me all over Spain, particularly in Barcelona? Please provide your contact details.
    2- What’s the situation with regards to Switzerland? It used to be a member of the EEA but not anymore, I ask because Switzerland normally has bilateral agreements with the EU and many EU countries and a double taxation agreement with Spain. Can residents in Switzerland still being discriminated against?

    Looking forward to hear from you.



    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Hi Helvet,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      As mentioned in my article, the list of changes do not affect those who are resident in a country that does not belong to the EU or EEA. As you correctly point out Switzerland is not a EEA member.

      Therefore you could not take advantage of the lenient allowances I highlight above.

      As I happent to mention in my article on Non-Residents Inheritance Tax in Spain (Part I), Spain has only signed a double taxation agreement with three countries when it comes to Succession tax; and Switzerland is not one of them. I do not see it as a case of discrimination.

      I am in the process of setting up my own practice.


  68. Muscatman

    Dear Raymundo,

    Thank you for all the papers on Spanish tax that you have provided on the web. It is a fantastic source of very useful information.

    You focus pretty much on the situation for Spanish residents and non resident EU residents (tax payers). Understandably since these will be the majority of those reading your articles.

    Although I am a EU national, for most of my working life I have worked outside the EU and are currently resident outside the EU. Furthermore I do not know if or when we will will be resident in the EU again. I am about to purchase property in Spain and understand that on an annual basis I have to pay the higher rate of the annual taxes. Furthermore, the local allowances will not be applicable to the remaining partner if one of use would pass away.

    Since my daughter is studying in the UK, can I include her in the title deed which would obviously reduce the inherited part if it would come to that, but would that also have an affect on the local taxes to be paid on an annual basis?

    Many Thanks,


    1. Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt Post Author

      Morning Ron,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You are correct, as you and your partner are both non-EU residents you are not entitled to the allowances I quote.

      If you buy the property jointly with your daughter she would pay the lower figure for annual income tax as she’s a EU resident.

      However, the UK have opted to leave the EU so it is foreseeable that UK residents will be treated as non-EU nationals in the near future which means they will lose access to these allowances and lower taxation. It will all depend on the terms of Brexit. At this moment in time no one knows.


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