News and information from Spain
International Edition - December 2020
Welcome to the December issue of 'The Word on the Street'. This is your monthly news and information from Spain provided by Ábaco Advisers. We hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.
Find out more about non-resident property taxes
Last call for non-resident property tax

If you haven’t made arrangements to pay your non-resident property tax yet then you just have time before the 31st December deadline. If you own a property in Spain but don’t live there then this is an annual tax you must pay or run the risk of a fine as well as paying interest on what you owe.

It’s not usually a large amount of money but it can cause you difficulties if you don’t keep up with the payments. Read more about the tax here:

Extension to driving licence amnesty
Extension to driving licence amnesty

It looks as though drivers with UK licences living in Spain will have a little longer to transfer to a Spanish licence following Britain’s exit from the EU. Your current licence can continue to be used until July 1st 2021. After this, however, you may need to take a test in Spain in order to have a Spanish licence. You can find out about the arrangements across different countries on this government site:

Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021: UK licence holders living in the EU

You can find more details about what you need to do to exchange your licence here:

Living in Spain
Latest news on proof of residency

There has been a lot in the English- speaking press about UK nationals having to carry proof of residency on their return to Spain. The latest from the site suggests that you should carry your residence document (either the green paper residencia or the new TIE) when you are travelling.

If you have applied for the TIE as a new resident but haven’t received it yet then you should carry proof that you have started the registration process. You might also want to carry some form of proof that you are a resident in Spain such as a tenancy agreement or a utility bill that has your name on it and dates from 2020.

The site has the most up-to-date and reliable information:

ÁbacoClub latest

We’ve been busy thinking of new ideas for you to try over the festive season. Everyone knows about Spanish tapas and most people have sampled it if they are frequent visitors to or live in Spain. However, do you know how the Spanish tapas originated or the traditions and practices around it? In this ÁbacoClub article we delve a little more into the history of tapas as well as giving some advice on how best to enjoy these little plates of food. How many different tapas have you tried? Tick off from our list of typical tapas:

Spanish tapas, the temptation in a single bite

Moving on from a typical Spanish food to a typical Spanish drink. Sangría is perhaps the most famous Spanish tipple and a favourite amongst holiday makers and residents alike. But there’s more to it than just fruit and alcohol. In this article ÁbacoClub tells us more about this popular drink, its origins, how it’s made and where to find the best varieties:

Winners across Spain celebrate results of ‘El Gordo’ Christmas lottery
Not a cold Christmas for somebody

Following the 22nd December ‘El Gordo’ numbers being called, there were some people who were definitely looking at Christmas 2020 in a rather different way. El Gordo is Spain’s most famous lottery and every year on 22nd December, school children sing out the winning numbers. This year it was the number 72897 which heralded the first prize followed by 06095 in second place and the third prize belonged to lottery ticket number 52472. To find out more about this world famous lottery and the prizes you can win, read this article from El País in English:

Alicante breaks Guinness World Record for largest nativity scene figures
Alicante scores a GWR!

Alicante has found itself in the Guinness World Records for having the largest nativity scene in the world. The three figures of the Virgin Mary, Joseph and Jesus have a combined total of 56,025 meters and are hoped to become a major feature attracting shoppers to Alicante town centre. You can find out more about the figures here and perhaps why not make a Christmas trip to Alicante yourself and also take time to enjoy their artisan market in Plaza Séneca:

Two-way street: how Barcelona is democratising public space
Barcelona thinks again

Barcelona is rethinking its urban planning following the impact of COVID on its population. Like many Spanish cities, most of those living there inhabit small flats and apartments which provided particularly difficult living conditions for their owners during lockdown. As restrictions lifted, the need to look again at Barcelona’s public spaces came to the forefront of planning and development. The Guardian tells us more about the reasons behind the change of heart and what the city is preparing for its citizens.

What are the Christmas traditions in Spain?
What is Christmas usually like in Spain?

No doubt, people will do their very best to continue some of the traditions normally associated with this time of year. Some will still be possible, but others will have to be put on hold until next year. The cabalgata – the procession bringing the Three Kings into towns across the country as they leave their gifts for children - is one of the casualties of the virus this Christmas.

However, as a reminder, and in preparation for next year, Idealista gives us a summary of some of the main events and activities usually practised over the Christmas period.

Ten traditional delights that make a real Spanish Christmas feast
Ten traditional Spanish festive foods

Like most countries, Spain has some special party food to trundle out at Christmas. Some of these suggestions from The Local are common to Spanish cuisine all year round but others are specifically eaten at Christmas time. If you’re in Spain over Christmas why not try incorporating these dishes into your usual Christmas menu?

Winter Sales in Spain 2020: Your Consumer Rights
A good time to shop

If you’ve not be in the shops recently in Spain you might be surprised at some of the discounts that are available Many shops are offering blanket 10,20,30 even 40% discounts across all their goods. If you usually wait until after Christmas for a bargain you might find that even now you can pick up that Christmas frock at a fraction of the price it was on offer for.

However, if you do find that something isn’t quite to your liking you should be reassured that your normal consumer rights remain the same during the sales. Money Saver Spain has some reminders here about the sale-time rules and what you should do if you need to complain:

2020 is second warmest year in the Murcia Region since records began
Blessed with the weather

Anyone who has been in Spain during the autumn and now into winter can vouch for the fact that we’ve definitely had some warm weather when we should be cooling down a little. Any difficulties with confinement or reduced movement have been alleviated by the fact that you can resort to your balcony or patio and enjoy the Spanish sun.

It’s also got to be healthier. In Spain the option of eating and meeting outside has continued long after it can’t be tolerated any longer in some other European countries. In this article from Murcia Today, they tell us that 2020 has been the second warmest year in the Murcia region since records began:

A very Happy New Year from everyone at Ábaco
A very Happy New Year from everyone at Ábaco

Needless to say, it’s been an unusual year. We would like to thank all our clients for their loyalty, encouragement and trust in us over the past twelve months. We sincerely hope that, little by little, during the following weeks we will all start to see evidence that 2021 is going to be a better year in every way for everyone.
What interests you?
What interests you?
We would welcome any suggestions for future themes you would like us to cover either in the newsletter or in an article on Spain Explained.

Please let us know by email at

Thank you!
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