Real life example posted on the 1st December 2007 Manilva life website:
I would like to pass this on to you all so you are aware of what can happen once you have bought and settled into your property. I sincerely hope this does not happen to anyone else, but here goes.
My family and I bought a property back in August 2006, at a cost of 252,000 Euros. It had been advertised for 300,000 but the owner dropped the price as we could afford no more and the buyers were not exactly queueing up. We made the whole purchase fully legally, with a lawyer and paying the relevant fees and charges (reluctantly, as they added up to around an extra 10%).
Firstly, a few weeks ago we received a tax bill (plusvalia) for over 3000 Euros. Apparently it was unpaid by the previous owners and has to be paid. My lawyer is looking into this and expects the previous owners to pay but as yet they have not and it has our name on it. We were still sweating over that when…
This week, we have been hit by a second tax bill. It appears that the tax office think the property is worth more than we paid, so want more of a chunk in tax, (an extra 5,000 Euros). I think they believe we paid more “under the table”, though this did not happen, we merely got a bit of a bargain due to the dip in the housing market. My lawyer is not hopeful that we will be able to get away with this and it will probably have to be paid. By the way, no instalments – paid in full. It will take me around 6 months’ work to earn this (after paying income tax) as I have a low-paid job. I also have a wife and 2 kids to support.
This seems so unfair, but it appears we can only pay. If not, the tax authorities can take the house and sell it to pay the bill.
Just another illustration that for all its good points, this country is run very differently to the UK.
PS. If anyone wants to reply that this is somehow OK, or fair or that yes, we are living somewhere so much better than ‘home’ and these little problems are a price worth paying, please put yourself in my shoes for a moment and don’t bother. Things like this have taken the shine off our move here and made us seriously consider moving away. We are almost scared to look in the letterbox each day, for fear of more surprises.