What is your IBI council tax in Spain?

Understanding and paying your property tax

IBI council tax in Spain

Wherever you have bought your property, IBI council tax must be paid in Spain. This is a local tax that is collected by your town hall to pay for local services. It is collected annually and failure to pay can lead to fines and interest owed.

It's the council tax equivalent in Spain. IBI or Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles, is paid directly to the town hall or the SUMA offices. Although it is collected annually wherever you might live, the IBI council tax is due at different times of the year in Spain according to your area.

The tax is calculated according to the rateable value of your property or the valor catastral.The valor catastral is determined according to the size, condition, location, title, lease details, cost of improvements and construction cost of the property. A report is compiled and a valuer assesses what the rateable value should be.

The valor catastral is then recorded at the Catastral Registry which is a central record different to that of the Land Registry. This Registry is usually based at the town hall where the property is situated. You can find out how much the catastral value is by looking at your IBI bill or receipt if you do online banking.

The tax rates charged by the town hall also make a difference to how much IBI council tax you must pay in Spain. The rates vary a great deal and can be between 0.4% and 1.17%. A factor to take into consideration when you are buying a property. Occasionally there is a review of the valor catastral in your local area and, in theory, this should happen every ten years.

Following this review you might find that your rateable value increases and you will be charged more for your council tax equivalent in Spain. This may be the case if, for example, you have completed a structural change to your property such as adding a swimming pool or building an extension. In some cases you can even be charged back tax if you have made home improvements and not informed the authorities correctly.

It is important that you keep up payments of IBI council tax when you buy a property in Spain. If you miss a year then this might not be chased up immediately but a record will be held against your property that will come to light when you want to sell or bequeath it.

In most parts of Alicante it's SUMA who are the agency appointed to collect IBI. They are also responsible for the collection of road tax and have their own website on which you can pay your bills. The process is quite simple provided you pay within the specified voluntary period and have the bill to hand.

On the SUMA bill you will find a reference number and your NIE tax number. These can be used to pay online by card. The SUMA website is www.suma.es. There is an English version on the website and it is relatively easy to navigate.  You can also pay your IBI council tax in Spain directly at a SUMA office or by telephone using a card.

Most people find that although IBI might be the equivalent of council tax in Spain, it is significantly cheaper than it would be in their home country. Some local towns have even taken the step recently of reducing this tax.

As with most charges in Spain, it is important to keep on top of the IBI and make sure that you do not let any debts build. The Spanish authorities may not contact you immediately but it will be on record and could cause problems for you in the future.