All you need to know about non-resident taxes in Spain

Making sure you're property tax compliant

Taxes Tuesday, October 16, 2018
All you need to know about non-resident property taxes in Spain

As the deadline for the non-resident tax declarations (December 31st) approaches, many non-residents with property in Spain have been coming to us with their questions. Here, we summarise the answers. 

Am I a resident or a non-resident?

If you live in Spain for more than 183 days a year then you are a resident here. Any less and you are a non-resident.

As a non-resident you must pay two non-resident property taxes.

What property taxes must I pay?

You must pay two taxes:

  • IBI (Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles) or council tax
  • Imputed income tax or rental tax (in some cases a combination of the two)

What is IBI?

IBI (Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles) is a council tax that must be paid by every home owner. IBI is:

  • Paid directly to the town hall or the SUMA offices
  • Collected annually
  • Collected at different times of the year according to the area 
  • Based upon the rateable value of your property or valor catastral

When should rental tax be paid?

If you rent out your property then you will need to pay rental tax in Spain. This is collected quarterly:

  • 20th April
  • 20th July
  • 20th October
  • 20th January

Why do I have to pay income tax in Spain when I don’t live there?

The imputed income tax is payable by non-resident property owners who do not rent out their property and so do not pay rental income tax. The idea is that you could rent out your property if you wished.

Imputed income tax:

  • is paid on a second home that is not rented out
  • is declared in the non-resident annual tax declaration
  • is paid to the Spanish Tax Authority

Why haven’t I heard about imputed income tax before?

The system of collecting taxes is different to that in many other countries. For example:

  • you will not necessarily be reminded that you owe tax
  • it is your responsibility to make sure your tax is paid
  • overdue taxes must be settled before you sell or inherit

What happens on the 31st December?

The 31st December is the deadline every year by which time non-residents must have made their annual non-resident tax declaration. The non-resident tax declaration:

  • covers the previous year
  • is when your imputed income tax is calculated
  • is the means by which income of interest to Spain is declared

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you miss paying one or both your non-resident taxes then:

  • the debt is held against your property until it is either sold or bequeathed
  • you cannot change the names on the Title Deed until the debt is settled
  • you may have to pay late payment interest as well as sanctions
  • you might be caught out through one of the Spanish Tax Authority’s anti-tax fraud campaigns
  • your bank account can be embargoed leading to missed utility bill payments 

How will they know?

The Spanish Tax Authority are increasingly cross-referencing information to identify where there are irregularities. This includes:

  • monitoring electricity consumption
  • comparing your details as logged on the Land Registry with utility usage

Won’t they warn me?

A letter may be sent to your Spanish address. If you are not there to receive it then:

  • the letter will be returned to the Spanish Tax Authority
  • a notification will be placed on the BOE (Boletín Official del Estado) - you are then considered to have been informed 
  • if you do not respond to the notification your bank account might be embargoed

What should I do?

We recommend that non-residents have a fiscal representative. A fiscal representative like Ábaco will:

  • make sure your non-resident taxes are paid on time
  • represent you to the Spanish Tax Authority
  • be in a position to receive notifications
  • alert you to changes in the tax law
  • answer any queries you might have throughout the year

Download our handbook

To download our free handbook ‘All you need to know about non-resident property taxes in Spain’ visit the web page

Ábaco’s solution

Ábaco has developed two tax options to help non-resident Spanish property owners:

We provide non-resident tax assistance to Spanish property owners all over the world. We invite you to join them.

Do you have any questions?

(+34) 96 670 37 48

Please, call me back Write to us Get our handbook now


Could I have more information on taxes that non-resident home owners have to pay?

Dear Garry

You could download our free handbook 'The Ultimate Guide to Non-resident Taxes' . Alternatively you can also call us for more information. 

I have not paid my non residents tax in Spain ..I have had the property 15 years it is about to be sold..I have not made any profit and the house is being sold for 40, many years do they go back for me to pay this tax

Hi Annette

Thanks for your enquiry. They can go back four years in addition to the tax for 2018.  

As a non-resident I have just sold my Spanish property (never rented out) May 2017, at a LOSS of 220,000.00 euros.
I have had the 2 x taxes withheld (Plusvalia & NRT).
I have paid my NRT every year up to December 2016, ( assume this covers me up to the end of 2015).
Do I have to pay any additional NRT i.e. up to date of sale or is that taken into account by the tax withheld at the date of sale.


You will have to pay the non-resident tax for 2016 that is due this year as well as the non-resident tax for 2017 up to the date of the sale in 2018. This is not deducted from the 3% paid to the Spanish Tax Office. 

Can they seize your property for non payment of ibi

Yes, they can but it would need to be a large debt. First they start with the bank account, then any other asset such as a car and then the house as a last option. 

I currently spend 16 weeks a year in Spain, I pay tax and Nats ins the UK. I have an NIE number. Currently I havent registered for any form of residency. I pay all my non res taxes in time. Do i need to become a non fiscal resident? Is there a process to register? Thanks.

Hi Paul

According to the circumstances you describe you have no need to register as a resident in Spain. You are a UK resident and are registered for tax there. Do check, however, that your payment of non-resident taxes includes the imputed income tax if you don't rent out your property and don't pay rental income tax. You should make an annual non-resident tax declaration before December 31st each year. 

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