After 27 years in Andalusia offering rural Spanish real estate we can help with practical advice learnt from experience.
The following are some of the more common questions we get from clients. Of course, feel free to contact us with your queries.
We do not arrange inspection trips. There are plenty of good hotels, Bed & Breakfast, small hostals and self-catering properties inland Andalucia. Car hire can be obtained at Malaga and Granada airports.
All our viewings are strictly accompanied on appointment basis by a member of our bi-lingual team who will not apply any hard sell or pressure.
The hardest part is locating your property and on your viewing day we ensure that you see properties fitting your requirements and budget.
Once you have decided on a property the next step is a reservation deposit and we suggest that you bring 1.000 euros to reserve your property and it will then be taken off the market. You will need to appoint an English speaking lawyer (we can recommend a number), who will act independently on your behalf, to carry out the searches and draw up the purchase/sales contract.
The balance of the 10% deposit must be immediately transferred to your lawyer on return to your country, in readiness for the signing of the compraventa (purchase/sales contract). Completion is normally 4-6 weeks following the signing of the private contract, and we usually find the easiest way is for you to appoint a Power of Attorney to sign on your behalf at the Notary's office.
Once completion has taken place the 7% transfer tax must be lodged by your lawyer at the Junta de Andalucia within 30 days, and then the escritura (Title Deed) is taken to the Registro de la Propiedad (Land Registry) for registering and inscription into your name, this will take approximately 1-2 months.
You should allow 11% on top of the purchase price of the property to cover all costs. 7% is payable as the transfer tax to the Junta de Andalucia, and the balance is made up of notary fees, registration of the new title deeds, and lawyers fees.
Allow extra for a calor gas contract, installation of a telephone and re-connection of water and electricity should this be necessary. If you are having a mortgage the costs involved in setting this up must be calculated for.
You will need an N.I.E. number (Numero de Extranjero), which is obtained from a main police station with your passport and a photocopy along with two photos. There is a small charge for this. Your lawyer can do this for you, either with you personally or he can apply for this on your behalf with your Power of Attorney.
A bank account is also required and utility bills can be paid by direct debit after completion.
It is no longer obligatory to have a Fiscal representative but it is advisable. The tax year in Spain is from 1st January - 31st December and the following applies.
For tax purposes you are classed as a Resident if you spend more that 183 days a year in Spain and will have to pay tax "por obligacion personal" just like a Spaniard.
Tax authorities in one country will communicate with those in another unless that latter country does not have a double taxation treaty with the first.
LEGAL BODIES & OFFICES IN SPAIN
The Gestor is the middleman between you and the bureaucracy. They are licensed by the authorities as a professional body literally to deal with red tape. They do not have any official powers but do need to pass an exam.
ASESOR FISCAL (Fiscal Advisor or chartered accountant)
If you have made any investments in Spain and need to pay income tax or you are starting a business you should consult an Asesor fiscal. They will save you money and keep you on the right side of the ever-changing tax laws. You can also use them as your fiscal representative, if you are a non-resident property owner. It is no longer obligatory to name a representative, when you have one property but if you have more than one, you must name a legal representative.
Their mission is to make sure that certain matters are officially noted and registered such as wills, purchase agreements and various other sorts of contracts. The notario receives fees for these services, but you cannot instruct him/her to act for you in the same manner as your lawyer or account. These fees are fixed by law ranging from approximately 60 euros for a will to 300 euros for a property sales contract under 60,250 euros
ADMINISTRADOR DE FINCAS
This is a licensed professional who will do the administration of your property such as seeing the taxes are paid, managing rentals and presenting you at the owners meetings.
The Spanish equivalent to a UK registered solicitor.
By now you are already beginning to enjoy your new life in Spain and there are a number of things you must do.
A. Register at the local Ayuntamiento(Town Hall). The padrón is the certificate that enables you to apply for a SIP (health card) and other local benefits within your town such as enrolling your child in a local school, obtaining a bus pass and using the local library.
To obtain your three-monthly certificate you must register at the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). You will need to take with you:
Proof of where you live e.g. rental contract or Title Deed
Residencia – in the case that you apply for this first in your local area
The last water bill and electricity bill (now asked for by some town halls)
Once you are registered then the certificate you are issued with lasts for three months. After this you can return to the same office and they will print off a new one for you if you take your passport and previous padrón.
You should renew your registration on the padrón every five years in order to ensure that your name is kept on the register.
Town halls may contact people who have not had their certificate reissued for years and ask them to reaffirm their presence in the area. This is a quick process and helps them to confirm who exactly is living in the town.
B. Register at the Centro del la Salud (Health Centre), again with a copy of your passport and any documentation you have from UK.
C. Register at the Insitituto Nacional del la Seguridad y Social (National Institute of Social Security). You will need a Certificado de Empadronamiento (Certificate of Registration in the Municipality) from the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). If you are retired your documentation from the UK. You will not be able to register and claim for Social Security if you are not legally working or of pensionable age.
D. Make a Spanish Will. The Inheritance laws are different in Spain and you will need to make a will and your lawyer will do this for you for a reasonable cost.
E. Generally familiarise yourself with the area where you are now residing, i.e. hospitals, clinic, vets, bank, shops, schools etc.
F. Obtaining Spanish Residencia
This documents validates your residence in the country with the Central Register of Foreigners, on that paper card will be printed your NIE number, where you live and how long you have been living in Spain. When we say “paper card” it is actually paper. It’s important to know that this piece of paper is not an identification card, it is only to prove your residence in Spain.
After getting your NIE, if you decide that you are going to stay in Spain for a longer period of time, you will need to register the with following documents:
Download the official form (EX-18) and fill out and sign all the documentation.
Bring a copy and the original.
Make an appointment with the nearest foreigner office.
On the day of the appointment ask for a form that you need to fill and take it to the bank so you can make the deposit and pay for your registration. You will need that form stamped by the bank so you can prove that you have paid.
A valid Passport, a copy and the original. In case you’re renewing your passport because it’s expired, bring a copy and the original with the letter that proves that you’ve asked to renew it.
If you work as an employee in Spain (prove it with a copy of employment contract or proof of social security registration). If you are a student and you can prove it with the acceptation copy of the school or the university. You will also need a document that proves that you have health insurance, whether in Spain or in your country. And you will need to prove that you have enough money to pay for your studies and your residence.
If you work as a business owner (prove it with a copy of your registration with Spain’s Commercial Registry or proof of social security registration).
If you have enough resources for you and your family in all your time in Spain.
You will need to pay 10,60€ at the bank with the form filled and signed. You will need to ask for this form the minute you get to your nearest foreigner office.
You cannot purchase a car in Spain unless you have a Title Deed to a property or long term rental contract and an N.I.E NUMBER. It is strongly recommended that you use a reputable car dealership, as debts go with the car and not the person. The dealership will arrange with a local Gestor all the necessary documentation required on your behalf.
You must carry in your car reflector jackets and warning triangles bearing the symbol E9 or CODE 27-RO3, a fine of 90.135 euros is levied if not. You must also carry a spare tire and tools and if you wear glasses for driving a spare pair.
You must be over 18 years of age to drive and use seat belts both back and front at all times. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to travel in the front unless in a suitable child seat. Spain has very strict drink driving laws and there are severe penalties and automatic bans now in process.
The pink and green driving licence is acceptable but if you only have the green one you must carry a Spanish translation or International Driving Licence, and insurance must be covered for third party. If you become a resident of Spain you will need to change your British license for a Spanish one. Non-residents can expect on the spot speeding fines.
If you bring over your British plated car to Spain it is only allowed to remain on British plates for 6 months and then you must change over to Spanish plates. If you permanently export your car from UK you must surrender your registration documents to the DVLA and obtain a certificate of export to present to the Spanish authorities.
Road worthiness certificates for right hand drive vehicles are now generally available from the ITV (MOT) centres although headlights may need to be adjusted to comply with EU regulations.
In order to prevent fraud in the sale of vehicles, all consumers who have acquired goods via organised groups specialising in VAT are obliged to pay VAT under the new legislation. Likewise the Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport requires that a visa be issued before a second hand car is registered in order to verify the declared value, and prevent vehicles being registered at a lower value.
If you should have an accident most importantly STAY CALM. If the other person is aggressive call the police to assist. Make sure you note down the registration number of the other vehicle. This is VITAL as without it there is no way of tracing them. DO NOT assume that they will be honest and put the correct details on the form.
Even with the smallest of bumps make sure that you fill in the accident declaration form. NEVER simply leave the scene as this is a criminal offence.
Fill in the accident declaration form at the scene of the accident. If due to injuries this is not possible then get the reference number from the police. You fill your details on one side of the form and those of the third party on the other side.
Put in all details that you feel relevant and try to complete the form as much as possible. At the bottom there is a section to note damage to the vehicles, version of the events and a box to make a diagram of the accident.
If there are witnesses put their names and contact numbers on the form. NEVER sign the form if you disagree with what has been written or you do not know what it says. If you admit liability on the form then it is almost impossible to argue the case afterwards.
If possible take photos of the position of the vehicles and the damage, try to include the registration in the photos.
Your form should be sent to your insurance company as soon as possible. A copy can be faxed or e-mailed but the original should be sent by post. It is also a good idea to write a description of the accident on a separate sheet of paper.
NEVER alter the accident declaration form once it has been completed as this could invalidate your claim. Most insurance policies include a 24-hour assistance number. Contact this number if you need a tow truck, transport home or substitute vehicle. DO NOT call your own tow truck, you must use the service provided by the insurance company. Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible and they will explain how the claim will proceed.
IMPORTING A CAR INTO SPAIN
This must be done within the 30 days of the arrival. If you’re part of the EU but you’re still not a Spanish Resident, you can drive the vehicle for only the first 6 months. After that time you will need to register in the “Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico.” In the case that you are now a resident and you have spent more than 183 days here, you will not be able to drive with a foreign plates.
STEP 2 - INSPECTION
In Spain you will need to follow the process of the “Inspección Técnica de Vehículos”. This is equivalent of an MOT in the United Kingdom. To do so, you will need to visit the following page:
All the technical specifications documents that is provided by the vehicle manufacturer, but translated in Spanish.
An existing ITV or MOT card.
Receipt of purchase (original & photocopy).
Receipt of payment of duty (original & photocopy).
Insurance document of the vehicle.
Identity document for validating foreign ownership paperwork.
Unic Certificate (You can obtained this in the Traffic Department).
If your car is coming from other EU country, you will not need the Unic Certificate.
The documentation required for used vehicles:
All the technical specifications documents that is provided by the vehicle manufacturer, but translated in Spanish.
Previous ITV or MOT card.
Receipt of purchase (original & photocopy).
Receipt of payment of duty (original & photocopy).
Insurance document of the vehicle.
Classic cars will required a special ITV, as well as an authenticity certificate from the regional government.
After your vehicle passes the ITV test, a TTCC (Technical Test Certificate Card) will be issued.
STEP 3 - THE REGISTRATION
It’s time to get the Spanish number plate.
You will need a NIE (Identification Number for Foreigners), this is for all the outstanding importation taxes so they can be assigned only to you. The Traffic Department will need the following to be submitted:
Confirmation of payment of the registration tax.
Proof that VAT (IVA) has been paid in the country where the vehicle was purchase.
An application form available in the local Traffic Department.
Personal Identification (Passport or resident card - original and photocopy).
Proof of address, such as a rental agreement or title deeds.
Receipt of payments.
Technical Test Certificate Card
Vehicle receipt of purchase
Certificate of Conformity from the vehicle manufacturer or certified
representative: EC certificate (valid throughout the EU) or National Certificate.
Step 4 - PAYING IMPORT DUTIES
New vehicles have a 21 percent VAT to be paid.
For the second-hand vehicles the tax is based on the level of CO2 emissions and the market value.
0 percent tax for vehicles with emissions of less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre
4,75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions from 120 to 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
9,75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions from 160 to 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
14,75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions of more than 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre
12 percent tax for vehicles which are not rated for CO2 emissions.
Non - EU Vehicles
Taxes for vehicles from non – EU countries include the following:
10 percent import duty based on the original market price with reductions based on age of the vehicle, payable at customs offices.
21 percent VAT (IVA), payable at customs offices.
Registration Tax of 0 to 14,75 percent based on the vehicle´s CO2 emissions.
To register, Application Form 576 from the Spanish Customs Office should be completed
online at the Agencia Tributaria.
The advantage for children going into the Spanish school system is that they will learn the language and culture fast. You can choose from a variety of public, private and even international schools.
You can in fact, home school your child, if you prefer, something that was simply “out of the question” before.
State schools are free in Spain from pre-school until students turn 18, but in some regions parents must pay for books and extra-curricular activities. Remember that depending on where you live, some state schools in País Vasco, Cataluña, Galicia and even the Balearic Islands teach most subjects in their language or dialect.
School is compulsory for all children living in Spain (ages 6 to 16 years old) and although schools have an obligation to help foreign students integrate and must provide specific programs to their daily activities, the majority of foreign families prefer to send their children to an international school, at least until they dominate Spanish and are familiar with life in Spain.
Enrolling in a Spanish School
If you are enrolling your child in a Spanish school from the UK, there is a chance they will need to have an interview and a medical. Local schools are filled on a first come, first served basis with the enrolment period happening early in the year, around March, and lasting for two months.
To enrol a child in school, you will need to have:
•Child’s birth certificate and passport, as well as parent’s passports with photocopies of each.
•Medical card showing proof of immunisations.
•Proof of registration with the Padrón
•Passport photos (x4).
There are three stages of schooling in Spain. These are pre-primary, primary and secondary, which is split into lower and upper secondary.
Educacion Infantil (Infant Education)
From the age of nine months to three years, children are looked after at guarderías (nursery schools). Class sizes here are very small and the focus is more on ‘looking after’ the child as a form of childcare as opposed to education.
At age three, children move to educación infantil(pre-primary school). Here, from the age of four, they will start learning numbers and letters. Until six years old, education is not compulsory but it is free of charge above the age of three and almost all children are in school by this age.
Educacion Primaria (Primary Education)
This goes from six to 12 years with three two-year periods if children have not reached the required stage after each period, they might have to repeat a year, which is not uncommon practice in schools in Europe. Maximum class sizes are 25 with most teaching done by a class tutor except for sports, music and languages, which are taught by specialists.
Educacion Secundaria (Secondary Education)
Lower secondary (ESO)
This runs from ages 12-16. The maximum class size is 30. As in the UK, teachers at this stage are split into specialist subject areas, but children still have a personal class tutor. Compulsory subjects include science, sport, social science, geography, history, Spanish language and literature, a foreign language and maths. Again, assessment is continuous and based on exams’ with poorer achieving children having to repeat a year. Spain has the highest rate of repeat year performances in Europe. If they pass, the student is awarded a Certificate of Compulsory Secondary Education.
This is non-compulsory schooling from ages 16-18. Students can take Bachillerato, the equivalent of A-Levels and similar to the International Baccalaureate. Students usually take 10 subjects in the first year and eight in the second. Beyond the core subjects, students can choose to specialise in the Arts, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences or Humanities. There are regular exams, usually once a term, as well as final exams. If students pass their exams throughout the course and at the end, they are awarded with a Bachiller. The Bachiller, along with an oral exam in a foreign language, are the qualifications needed to go to a Spanish university.
Depending on the teaching faculty at the school French may be offered and music, art and PE are included in the EGB (Educacion General Basica), Religious instruction is optional.
If your child is entering Secondary School, you will also need to have proof of convalidation. This is the process of having your child’s educational records verified by the Spanish Ministry of Education. This requires filling in an official form called the Modelo Oficial. Once you have filled it in, you will need to send it to the address below along with your child’s birth certificate and records of any exams passed and school record book. This process can take between three and six months, so it would be wise to start proceedings prior to leaving the UK, because your child will not be allowed to start school without it. That said, a receipt from the Ministry will come much more quickly and should be sufficient.
Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia
•C/Alcala 34 28014 Madrid
•Telephone: 0034 917 018 000
Students planning to go to University must take entrance exams and this will be taken into account together with the results of "bachillerato".
The School Week and Academic School Year
Secondary school hours are from 8:30am to 5:30pm. The academic school year begins mid September and ends towards mid June with a 2 week break for Christmas, 1 week break for Easter or Spring holiday.
The PET TRAVEL SCHEME (PETS) introduced on 28th February 2000 allows cats and dogs who have a Certificate of Origin and Good Health signed by a licensed veterinarian from the originating country of travel, to enter Spain and her islands, but not Ceuta or Meilla.
All dogs and cats must:
1. Be fitted with a microchip that meets ISO standards so that it can be read by a standard microchip reader.
2. Be vaccinated against rabies with an approved vaccine and have booster vaccinations as recommended. Pets must be at least 3 months old and have the chip before they can be vaccinated.
3. Be Blood tested about 30 days after vaccination. If the pet fails the test it must be vaccinated and tested again. A period of at least 6 months after a successful blood test result is required before being allowed entry or re-entry into the UK. (Unless your pet was resident in UK and micro-chipped, vaccinated and blood tested before February 28th 2000)
4. Documentation needed. Certain countries including Spain require an EXPORT HEALTH CERTIFICATE issued in the UK to allow your pet to enter the country. It is different from the PETS scheme and your pet may be refused entry if you do not have the certificate.
Use a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs E.F.R.A) approved pet transporter/shipper. They will arrange for all the necessary paperwork and a passport will be issued for your pet. An ordinary book of vaccinations is not sufficient. You will need to buy an airline approved carrier if your pet is travelling to Spain by air.
Pets should NOT be tranquillised before travel unless your vet advises otherwise.
If you are travelling by car you must have a screen between dog and driver. Small dogs and cats should stay in a cage. Provide fresh water and stop every 2 hrs. If you decide to go to Morocco leave your pet in a kennel as the return procedure is very complicated.
Animals are remarkably adaptable to climate change and will soon get to love the weather in Andalucia just like us humans do.
Impuesto Sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (Transfer Tax)
A transfer tax of 7% is payable on all property unless you buy from a promoter when the tax will be IMPUESTOS SOBRE EL VALOR ANAIDO (IVA) (VAT) instead at 7%. Land is taxed at 16%.
Impuesto Sobre La Renta De Las Personas Fisicas (Income Tax)
Non-residents must still make an annual declaration derived from activities in Spain not worldwide. A typical example is interest on money you have on deposit with a Spanish bank or income from letting your property(properties).
As this income is part of a worldwide income it will be declared to the British tax authorities but double taxation relief does not exist as a result of treaty between 2 countries. This tax is declared between 1st May - 20th June.
Impuesto Sobre Patrimonio (Wealth Tax)
Non-Residents must show the value of all assets located in Spain. Normally the persons' house, car and balance in bank account. The value to be used when declaring the house is the official catastral value and the amount of bank balance is taken as the average cleared balance over previous years.
This information is supplied by you bank and the tax is payable between 1st May- 20th June.
Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles (Previously known as Contribucion Territorial Urbana)
This is the main local property tax affecting property owners and the amount is calculated by referring to the "Valor Catastral" (official value of property) registered in respect of all property in Spain,.
The % of that valor catastral charged as tax varies from area to area and is payable between September 1st - 31st October at either the Ayuntamiento(Town Hall) or via your bank. There are fines levied for late payment.
Impuesto Muncipal Sobre El Incremento De Valor De Los Terrenos (Plus Valia)
This is a local tax rather than a National one and as a result in some areas of Spain it is simply not charged. The amount to be paid is worked out on the theoretical increase in value of land you are buying since the date it was last disposed of and is normally paid by the seller.
If you are purchasing from a non-resident the retained 3% must be lodged with the Hacienda within 30 days of the transaction on account of the vendors' capital gain. At present the tax is 18% on the profit the vendor has made.
This is normally paid by the lawyer handling the conveyancing. As there is a disparity between Non-Residents and Residents the EU have obliged Spain to regulate this, and by 2007 should then be 18% for both. This now applies.
If you are resident you have the same fiscal obligations as a Spaniard and Income Tax is payable in January.
These taxes are only guide and you are advised to contact a specialist for professional advice.
The National Health System provides free or low cost health care for those contributing to the Spanish Social Security System and their dependants. The system also caters for pensioners and includes those from other EU COUNTRIES. If you are not contributing to the Social Security you will need Private Medical Insurance.
The medical care provided in Spain equals any available in Europe, and the Spanish are among the worlds' healthiest people, with a life expectancy for women of 80 and men 74. The incidence of heart disease in Spain is among the lowest in the world, a fact attributed to the Mediterranean Diet.
There are many English speaking medical staff but these will be found mainly in tourist areas and inland will be limited.
It has been noted that rheumatism and arthritis sufferers frequently note a huge improvement in their conditions and mobility after moving to Spain, and people with stress often note a marked improvement as the pace of life is slower than many European countries, and the climate and lifestyle generally makes people healthier.
Dental care is excellent with a number of American and Scandinavian dentists having practices on the coast.
HUNTING, SHOOTING & FISHING
Spain has some 35 million hectares of hunting land including national parks, hunting reserves and preserves as well as numerous private game reserves. The hunting season for game is strictly controlled and there are large fines for anyone caught hunting out of season. The season for small game runs from mid-October to early February and such birds as quail, red-legged partridge, pheasant, duck, geese, bustard and pigeon are included in this category, along with hare and rabbit.
There are several kinds of hunting land, ranging from free zones-where only a general license is necessary-to the municipal-owned local, private and national reserves, where a special license is required. To hunt in a national reserve you need a hunting permit, issued by the provincial or regional office of the Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). Special permission is also required to hunt in a private reserve and white halves. Where hunting is prohibited it is usually denoted by a square sign divided diagonally into black and white halves.
Hunters need a medical certificate obtainable from special clinics, firearms permit and third party insurance. Guns must be broken and bagged when transported on public land and they may not be used within 500 m of a house or in any urban zone.
Non-residents may import their own firearms although they must obtain an import certificate from their local Spanish consulate abroad. Take your current firearms certificate to the consulates with a photocopy and your passport. On arrival in Spain the import certificate and gun must be taken to the local police station who will issue a Spanish gun permit. For more information contact the Federacion Espanola de Caza in Madrid on 91 553 9017 www.fecaza.com
In Andalusia as in any other region of Spain it is required to have a license to fish in the sea from the sea or land and in the rivers and lakes. To get a license for any fishing activity contact the Junta de Andalusia, Conserjeria de Agricultura y Pesca for sea fishing and the Junta de Andalusia Conserjeria de Medio Ambiente for a license for rivers, lakes on land. However there are some areas protected where you cannot fish.
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