The Spanish Government has extended once again, for the year 2015, the requirement to pay Wealth Tax applicable to both residents and non-residents in Spain

9 October 2014

After the National Budget Law for 2015 was presented in the Lower House of the Spanish Parliament, it was revealed that the tax would be maintained for the year 2015.   

Created as a special tax, and therefore as a temporary measure, the Wealth Tax’s regulatory regime has undergone changes in the last ten years.   
After elimination of the tax in 2008 and its temporary re-imposition for the years 2011 and 2012, the measure was extended for the years 2013 and 2014 due to the economic crisis and public sector deficit.
Until now, the Executive was expecting to apply a 100% exemption from payment of the Wealth Tax for the year 2015. However, the Government has decided that in order to continue to contribute to maintaining the consolidation of public finance, the application of the said exemption to both resident and non-resident taxpayers in Spain will have to wait for one more year.
The National Budget Law for 2015 contemplates this measure in its article 61 a new amendment to Royal Decree Law 13/2011, which for practical purposes implies the requirement to pay the tax for the year 2015 and the application of the 100% tax exemption with effect from January 1st 2016.     
Nevertheless, as this is a tax that has been ceded to the Autonomous Communities, the said Communities are responsible for collection of the Wealth Tax, and therefore, have the power to establish tax exemptions. Such is the case, for example, in the Community of Madrid, which allows a 100% tax exemption, and therefore, Madrid taxpayers do not pay any Wealth Tax at all.  
Payment of this tax also affects natural persons (individuals) who are not residents of Spain. Hence, by way of example, since the entry into force of the new Double Taxation Treaty between Spain and Germany, the Directorate General for Taxation has ruled that a non-resident is a person liable to pay Wealth Tax by virtue of a real obligation where there is indirect participation in the ownership of real estate located in Spanish territory.
This interpretation is reflected in the binding decision V1452/2014 of the Directorate General for Taxation, which establishes that ownership by a German resident of shares in companies having at least 50% of their assets constituted, directly or indirectly, by real estate located in Spain, creates an obligation to pay this tax.  

For further information, please contact José Blasi