Up to 90,000 expats who sold a property in Spain at some point over the past 12 years may now be entitled to significant refunds as a result of a landmark ruling.
A recent ruling in the European Court of Justice has found the Spanish government guilty of illegally implementing Capital Gains Tax (CGT) between 1997 and 2006. While Spanish natives paid CGT of just 15%, sellers from other nationalities were charged up to 35%. The ECJ has ruled this practice to be “unlawful and discriminatory”, thus opening the door for non-Spanish residents to seek a refund for some of the tax previously paid.
Foreign currency specialists HiFX anticipate that the ruling could cost the Spanish government up to $329 million, with the average payout per claim estimated at $21,500. In addition to this, successful claimants will also be eligible to interest at a rate of 6% per year on the money paid.
However, legal representatives in Spain warn that the procedure for claiming back the due money may be far from simple. Speaking in an article published in UK tabloid the Daily Mail, lawyer Emilio Alvarez commented, ‘There is a conflict between the European Court and our domestic procedure, which has a statute of limitation of four years.
‘The Spanish legal procedures are complex. We are concerned that the authorities will reject claims. They may force people to go to the Supreme Court to uphold their claims.’
Those who may be interested in making a claim should seek suitable legal assistance in order to optimize their chances of successfully claiming back tax paid warned Mark Bodega of HiFX, “You need to seek proper legal advice as it’s not simply a case of filing a claim with the Spanish tax authorities.
If you feel that you may have been affected by the European Court of Justice ruling further information can be found at www.spanishtaxreclaim.co.uk, or through contacting the Spanish Tax Reclaim Helpline on Spain 93 550 9208.