Beckham’s Law Explained (Spain’s Non-Domiciled Tax Scheme)
Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, November, 1. 2023
Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt explains to us one of four legal ways to bypass the pesky 90/180-day rule that now affects all UK nationals post-Brexit.
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Article copyrighted © 2023. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
1st November 2023
In 2015, Spain introduced a special tax regime for wealthy EU expatriates who relocate to Spain. Following in the footsteps of other countries’ successful non-domiciled tax schemes, namely the United Kingdom, the self-declared goal of this programme is to attract high achievers to relocate to Spain on the back of a job offer. The typical taxpayer profile that qualifies would be a high-profile artist, techy, high-ranking corporate employee, etc. Over 10,000 foreigners settled in Spain have benefitted from this special tax arrangement.
In a nutshell, this tax scheme allows EU nationals to make spectacular tax savings on paying Income Tax in Spain (IRPF). If you opt into this scheme, you stand to benefit from substantial tax breaks on both income derived in Spain as well as worldwide income.
On opting into this special tax regime, a legal fiction takes place whereby EU expats are treated (for admin purposes) as if they are a resident taxpayer in Spain. Albeit in practice, for tax purposes, the taxpayer is regarded as a non-resident. Meaning you in fact get the best of both worlds; you get all the perks from being legally resident in Spain, yet you pay a substantially lower tax bill as you are deemed in practice as a non-resident taxpayer.
Who can apply?
- Any European Union national relocating to Spain as a result of a professional contract. You need to be hired by a Spanish company or else by a foreign company with a permanent establishment in Spain. The contract is the core requirement to opt into this tax scheme. Non-EUs may also apply but may require a visa to live and work in Spain. Non-EUs are advised to benefit instead from a Digital Nomad Visa, which offers almost identical tax benefits and is also a visa permit.
- Not to have resided in Spain on the previous 10 years.
- No earnings derived from a permanent establishment in Spain.
The tax benefits
- Spanish income. The first €600,000 earned from a source within Spanish territory will be taxed at a flat rate of 24% (in lieu of the standard top marginal rate of 47%). As can be surmised, even for earnings whose source is derived exclusively in Spanish territory, the tax savings are huge.
- Worldwide income. However, it is here where this tax scheme truly shines and comes into its own. Spanish Tax Authorities only tax you on your income derived within Spanish territory. Meaning, any other source of worldwide income is tax-exempt (just like with the popular UKs non-dom tax scheme). Needless to say, this unique tax advantage offers a hugely attractive prospect for those taxpayers with substantial earnings, assets, and interests overseas. The only exception is any income derived abroad from working.
- Exempt from submitting tax return 720
- Exempt from submitting wealth tax *
- Five years plus one. Because of its outstanding tax advantages, the government time gates the tax benefits. It applies on the fiscal year of relocation as well as on the following five years (total up to six years).
*contingent on the value of your Spanish estate.
- As written above, a legal fiction applies whereby you are regarded as a non-resident taxpayer (non-domiciled). The implication of this is that as you are not regarded as a tax resident, you may not benefit from lenient tax allowances on personal income tax as would be standard practice.
- This tax scheme only works out if the taxpayer's country of origin has a double taxation treaty in place with Spain.
Beckham’s Law addresses a gap for high-end professionals who wish to relocate to Spain (on the back of a job contract), alone or with their families, and enjoy all the country has to offer, including ultra-low taxes, regardless of where they settle down in Spain i.e. in Mallorca.
If you are a high-flyer, don’t fancy paying many taxes, and wish to relocate to Spain (legally), this is the tax scheme for you. Give us a call!
In effect, this blue-ribbon tax scheme allows you, and your family, to get the best of both worlds; you get to enjoy all the perks of being legally resident in Spain albeit you are fiscally treated as a non-resident taxpayer, paying little to no tax. In my book, that’s a win-win.
At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we offer the following immigration service: Beckham's Law
“I don’t do anything unless I can give it 100%.” – David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham (1975). OBE. Born in a humble background, from a young age he became a footballer, quickly rising through the ranks given his innate talents, becoming England’s captain. He retired after a very successful 20-year career, during which he won 19 major trophies. He married a spicy posh businesswoman, and they’ve had four children. He’s a known philanthropist who has created several football academies to benefit children who come from deprived backgrounds. Surprisingly – and most annoyingly – he hasn’t been bestowed (yet) the title of ‘Sir’, despite others attaining it with half of his accomplishments.
Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. Ní neart go cur le chéile. VOV.
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