Dienstag, 7. August 2012

News on Spanish Property: IVA - Taxes (VAT) on new homes will rise from 4pc to 10pc from next year on

1. New Homes 

On 13 July 2012 the Spanish Parliament decided that the VAT on the purchase of a newly built property from a property developer increases from January 2013 (recipient) from 4 percent to 10 percent. This means that anyone who buys up to 31.12.2012, has an advantage of 6 percent ​​compared to a purchase until 2013. Of course, no good news for the spanish property market, but it might be an argument to buy a new house in the last months of 2012. The prices are currently at a lower level. 

There is another change in the applicable tax from the beginning of 2013. At the moment the purchase by the developer of a newly built property (whether house or condominium) is based on the purchase price to be paid Value Added Tax (VAT) instead of the current 8 percent, reduced to only 4 percent. The aim of the Spanish legislature was to facilitate the sale of tax of completed real estate, but nearly noone believed in it's deeper sense. This - once again - very short - lived - regulation ends in the end of 2012. In addition to this reduced tax, however, there is a stamp tax of one percent to be paid. 

Such short - living - regulations are showing that the legal frame is in a move at the moment, so that any legal advantages should be used in the last months of 2012. This regulation will have the effect that in 2012 the costs of buying new homes in Spain will increasing because of the raise of IVA (VAT) from 4 percent to 10 percent. It will add thousands of Euros to the average new home purchase in 2013 and beyond. 

2. Resales 

If one wants to buy a Resale Property instead of IVA (VAT) there is a Transfer Tax (Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales – ITP) to be paid. The general rule is ITP at 7 percent, but a number of autonomous regions raised it to 8 percent and it is to be expected that it will raise up to 10 percent in the near future. A the moment it's level varies by autonomous regions and property value. There have been lots of rate changes since 2011 in the autonomous regions. For example in Andalucía you had to pay a 7% Tax on the purchase price in 2011. As of the 1st January 2012, the Tax on the purchase of resale properties at the value level of 400.000 Euro has risen up to 8 percent. On the amount above 400.000 Euro ITP rises to 9 percent and for over 700.000 Euro it's now 10 percent. It's exactly the same with Islas Baleares (Mallorca, Ibiza). 

3. Remodeling 

The IVA (VAT) rate for the remodeling and for home repairs in real estate is located from 01 September 2012 at 10 percent, if the needed building materials exceed the percentage of 40 percent (previously 33 percent) of the total amount for the work and not the following conditions are met: 

- That the recipient either a homeowners association or a natural person who is not acting as a contractor and uses the apartment for their own use. 

- That the completion of the property, referred to by the work is completed at least two years. 

In this regard, the Council of Ministers has announced the following that the remodeling and home repairs, up to 01 September 2012 at a reduced rate of 8 percent are subject to the end of 2013 taxed at a rate of 10 percxent. From 01 January 2014 on it will at 21 percent. If the conditions mentioned before are not fullfiled IVA will be at 21 percent from 01. September 2012 on. 

4. Strategies 

At the moment it's not clear if we might see a - surely not legal - comeback in under-the-table cash payments, better known as “B money”, which had declines in the last years. Nearly no one in Spain wouldn’t be surprised if they raise less tax as a consequence as they expected under pressure of the European Union. . But we don't think that this is a serious strategy for buyers. In addition to that buyers should know that the spanish tax authorities checked the prices very often recently. Such checks take place also regarding to bequests and donations, not only with purchases and sales. The spanish Tax Office is authorized to calculate the taxes on transfers of real property of any kind to their actual market value and not according to the agreed price. This can lead to significant back taxesThe purpose of this practice is to prevent any attempts by lower securitization ("B - Money"). Is an appeal brought against the relevant tax assessment by the tax office, the payment for this period of the tax dispute is exposed.

It might be a even more an effective solution in a singular case to purchase the property into - for example - an UK Private Limited Company by Shares or a spanish Sociedad Limitada (S.L.). In such cases the purchaser's would own properties as Shareholders. Once the property has been invested into such a Company such properties can on one hand be sold independently by the Company.Just to mention it: Offshore companies as owners of spanish properties would be charged with an annual Tax by Spain of 3 percent, so this is no real solution at the moment for buyers of spanish properties.  On the other hand the shares of such a Company can be sold to the purchaser with interesting effects, which will be described in the near future. 

Every purchase of a property is an individual situation and it needs an individual solution, planed by professionells in this Business. Therefor it is always necessary to consider every case on an individual basis. 

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