THE BLOG

26
Apr

Two day metro strike causes commuter chaos in Barcelona

Metro workers in Barcelona are striking on Tuesday, causing disruption to travel for thousands of commuters.

Commuters in Barcelona were expecting delays on Tuesday as metro workers called a two day strike that is set to hit travellers particularly hard during rush hour.

Only 50 percent of trains will be running during rush hour in the city – from 8am to 10am and from 5.45pm to 8pm and 30 percent of trains will be running between 8pm and 9pm.

The strike comes at a particularly awkward time; the city is currently playing host to the Alimentaria food trade fair – many attendees could be affected by the transport strike.

Fira de Barcelona, where the trade fair is taking place, is running extra buses from the city’s main hotels and has made available more parking spaces for people attending the fair.

Metro workers staged a similar strike during February’s Mobile World Congress trade fair, which took place in the city.

metro

Metropolitan Transport Barcelona (TMB) has advised people to take alternative modes of transport if necessary.

Workers will strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, when transport officials estimate that only one in three trains will be running for much of the day.

TMB has also announced that the strike could affect the Montjuïc cable car, a popular tourist attraction that is run by the city’s metro.

Source: The Local

25
Apr

What is Equity Tax and what should Barcelona tenants be aware of

The Spanish government has announced a number of important changes to the Spanish income tax rules. Therefore here an explanation of the new rules of taxation and what the effect is for tenants. 

  1. Transmissions and real rights on urban properties:
    – 10%, accrued taxable events from August 1, 2013.
    – 8% between 1 July 2010 and 31 July 2013.
     
  2. Transmissions and real rights over officially protected homes:
    – 7%.
  3. Transmissions and real rights on rural property:
    – 10%, accrued taxable events from August 1, 2013.
    – 8% between 1 July 2010 and 31 July 2013.
  4. Transfers of securities and subscription rights of Article 108 of Law 24/1998, the stock market:
    – 10% for taxable events accrued from August 1, 2013.
    – 8% between 1 July 2010 and 31 July 2013.
  5. Transfer of a property that has to be the residence of a large family:
    – 5.00%.

Requirements to apply the reduced rates:

  • The taxpayer must be a member of a large family. A large family that is composed out of three or more children, or one that has two children and at least one of them has been diminished or is incapacitated for work.
  • The sum of the total taxable income, minus personal minimums and family members of the household on the income tax of individuals must not exceed 30,000 euros. This amount must be increased by 12,000 euros for each child exceeds the number of children that the law requires to have the status of large family.6. Transfer of a property that has to be the residence of a young:
    – 5.00%.

Requirements to enjoy the reduced rate:

  • The taxpayer must be 32 years or less.
  • Your total taxable income, minus the personal and family minimum, in its latest tax return on income of individuals can not exceed 30,000 euros.7. Transfer of a property that has to be the residence of a person with      physical, mental or sensory decrease: 5.00%.Requirements to enjoy the reduced rate:
  • The degree of disability must be equal or greater than 65%.
  • The sum of the total taxable income, minus personal minimums and family members of the household for the purposes of income tax of individuals can not exceed 30,000 euros.
  • The fact must attend handicap the taxpayer or any member of your household.
  • You have to prove the alleged disability and their degree with a certificate of ICASS. It also has to produce documents describing the income of the household.

8. Transmissions and movable real rights, except means of transport:
– 4.00%

9. Means of transport:
– 5%

10. Administrative concessions:
– 4.00%

11. Security rights, pensions, bonds, loans and obligations and conditions                      subsequent: 1.00%

Leases of urban or rural properties:

  • For taxable from 1 January 2015 made 0.50%
  • From January 31, 2014 to December 31, 2014: 0.30%
  • Until January 30, 2014:
Base en euros
Euros
Hasta 30,05   0,09
De 30,06………. a…………. 60,10   0,18
De 60,11………. a…………120,20   0,39
De 120,21…….. a…………240,40   0,78
De 240,41………a…………480,81   1,68
De 480,82………a…………961,62    3,37
De 961,63…….. a ……..1.923,24    7,21
De 1.923,25….. a…….. 3.846,48  14,42
De 3.846,49.. a……….. 7.692,95  30,77

De 7.692,96 en adelante, 0,024040 euros por cada 6,01 o fracción.

Tenants should be aware of the following:

  •   The general flat rate will decrease from 24.75% to 24% from 2015 onwards, and to 19% if the taxpayer is a resident of an EU Member State or of a European Economic Area country.
  •   A 60% reduction on the net rental income will only apply in respect of positive net rental income, and the 100% reduction in respect of tenants under 30 years old is eliminated.

Source: Generalitat de Catalunya & EY

18
Apr

Man stayed in 14 luxury hotels in Barcelona without paying

The 26 year-old Portuguese man, who has not been named, was arrested last week after a five star hotel in the tourist centre of the Catalan capital reported that he left without paying a bill of around €1000.

He was discovered staying in another upmarket hotel nearby and was arrested for fraud by officers from Los Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force.

It emerged that he had in fact stayed at a total of 14 hotels in Barcelona, running up bills amounting to €7525.44.

He always followed the same modus operandi, checking into several hotels simultaneously using maxed out credit cards, according to a statement from the Mossos d’esquadra.

He then enjoyed the facilities, including gyms and restaurants, and charged the extras to the room before slipping away without paying.

Source: The Local

15
Apr

Becoming an expat: where to start

Unfortunately there’s a little more to it than just packing your bags and jumping on a plane. Here are some of the things you’ll need to factor in before you head for greener pastures abroad.

Paperwork

First up, visas. Assuming you have a job waiting for you on arrival, then be sure to speak to your employer as soon as humanly possible about visa support. Some businesses will take care of everything for you, including the costs; but others will leave it up to you. Find out what and how much you need to pay, then budget for it.

Depending on where you’re headed for, visas and work permits can be a complicated affair. The whole process could take months. There could be a lot of paperwork, and some countries require you to have a full medical examination (at a cost to you). This can be arranged through your local doctor.

It’s always worth making copies of your original documents too, as embassies have been known to be less than forthcoming when it comes to returning your documents.

Healthcare

Again, this really comes down to where you are going. Some countries provide free state healthcare, but not all. So look into it – before you need it.

Some companies provide private medical insurance as part of their employee benefit package options. If you are in any doubt, contact your employer, and find out the exact details of any cover they are providing. It is vitally important that you have comprehensive health insurance for you and your family.

International health insurance companies like Cigna offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance cover, in your new homeland and anywhere else you may be travelling. It’s better to be safe than sorry – find out more about Cigna International health insurance here.

But each place is different. Be sure to check the health advice recommendations (including potential vaccinations) for your new country of residence. A handy guide to some of the more popular destinations can be found here.

Travel

It goes without saying that air travel can be expensive, but it is of course a necessary expense if you are to become an expat.

That said, there are some ways to reduce the cost of air travel. Booking in advance generally results in discounts for long haul flights. Be sure to check out baggage allowances for the airlines you’re considering flying with, as some heavily restrict your weight limit, while others allow you to carry sports equipment for free.

Travel insurance is also a must. Don’t just think about the cost – make sure you’re happy with the whole package, including your travel insurance, and things like cancellation cover and baggage cover.

Shipping or Storage?

It’s unavoidable: The shock at just how much stuff you’ve accumulated. You’ve probably got a lot more possessions than you thought. So what do you take with you?

If you’re planning on renting at first in your new homeland, you could consider renting a fully furnished property and put your furniture into storage until you’re settled. You could then arrange to have your belongings shipped over at a more convenient time. Or sell it all and buy new furnishings abroad – it could end up being cheaper. But don’t get stuck, think about it in advance and decide on a course of action.

Budget

Given the logistical complexities of moving to another country, it can be easy to lose track of your finances, so adhering to a strict budget is crucial.

Try to plan ahead as much as possible, including the little things as much as the big expenses. Be sure to factor in things like hotels (if your new abode isn’t ready yet), local transport prices or the cost of a vehicle, local utility costs, legal documentation costs on arrival, and import tax on anything you may be taking with you.

Yes, moving abroad takes planning and research, but by following the handy steps above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a fully-fledged expat. But wait, there’s more…

Things you won’t have thought of…

Yes folks, there’s yet more to consider.

Becoming an expat isn’t just about ticking all the boxes laid out above. It also involves a mental, emotional, and behavioural shift in your lifestyle. Living in a new country means adjusting to a new culture and new attitudes.

Remember, culture is not a case of right and wrong. The conventional ‘have-a-nice day’ attitude popular in places like the USA, may not be replicated in your new home country, so be prepared for something a little different – and be open to it.

One of the biggest struggles for new expats is the adjustment to more alone time. Whether you’re just leaving a large group of friends behind, or moving to accompany a partner’s new employment venture, you may find yourself with more free-time, and more alone time.

There’s no quick fix for this. It’s part of the package and it takes some getting used to. Be sure to look up expat communities and support groups. Over time, through  daily life, you’ll settle in just fine.

Much like any other big life event, moving abroad can be downright stressful, so a sense of humour is of paramount importance. Be willing to laugh at the situation – and yourself when you get things wrong.

Becoming an expat is very much a marathon, not a sprint. The struggles that you face initially will diminish over time. It’ll be an exciting time, so take it all as it comes, don’t expect miracles overnight, and enjoy starting a fantastic new chapter in your life in a new country.

Source: The Local

11
Apr

Do you have an apartment published on Idealistic or Airbnb? The tax offices knows this and will ask you to declare

Dela Renta 2015 campaign began today and will last until June 30. Among the novelties of this edition, the Tax Agency takes a step to try to encircle the rentals for both long-lasting and tourist travelers. Meaning, when the taxpayer will do their transactions through the website of an Agency, if you have an article posted on any online platform, you will receive a warning that reminds you that “in case of receiving rental income, it  should be given in the statement that any type of income needs to be taxed by and not recorded in the fiscal data. ”

The Tax Agency does not give names on the websites where the ads are advertised and which the agency has tracked but at the press conference presenting the campaign, the managing director of the Agency, Rufino de la Rosa has said that the focus is lying on both “short term and long term.” “These are our actions, not data supplied by the platforms,” he answered to the media. The Tax Agency has noticed the ads on platforms although at first they do not know whether they are rented or not.

De la Rosa added that the data includes homes that are for rent and also “have a number of procedures to verify whether the home is rented.” A statement  included in the Annual Plan Tax and Customs Control 2016 which are among the activities held by the agency includes the “implementation of actions in the service sector focused on the discovery of activities and hidden income in business services sector that totally or partially participate in the underground economy. ”  As well, he notes that “among others, any act on individuals who provides totally or partially homes by internet or other means will need to act with respect to those regular tourist companies that do not fully meet their tax obligations. In addition, proceedings for detecting irregular rentals with no declaration “.

The other new Rents of 2015

In the campaign of 2015, the Tax Agency estimates that nearly 80% of the declarations shall be able to confirm, modify and submit via the Web with a Rent platform. This is an online tool that combines the traditional draft declaration of the program PADRE. Thus, a greater number taxpayers can be performed through the web. Taxpayers who can not make the declaration through this platform are those who are receiving income from economic activities.

Generally speaking, you are not required to declare  taxpayers who have earned income to a maximum of 22,000 euros per year. A limit is reduced when these come from more than one payer or when compensatory pensions or annuities received for no privilege. In these cases, the limit increases from 11,200 to 12,000 euros per year.

Within the new legislation, we must bear in mind that this season there are changes in the applicable tax bases types. In addition, in the year 2015 a new tax saving, which establishes three types of 19.5%, 21.5% and 23.5% from 50,000 euros applies. Among the changes there is also an  introduction of the uniform percentage reduction of 60% of the net rental yield declared from the previous percentage depended on the age of the tenant housing.

Source: El Diario

06
Apr

British buyers are leading the way in Spain’s foreign property market

One in five properties sold to foreigners in Spain is purchased by a Brit, new figures have revealed.

Foreign buyers bought 12.7 percent of all property sold in Spain in the first half of 2015, with Brits leading the way when it comes to properties bought by foreign nationals.

British buys made up 19.8 percent of all foreign purchases in the first six months of 2015, according to Spain’s Colegio de Registradores.

The most popular places for foreigners to buy a house in Spain are the bustling holiday destinations of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, followed by the coastal destinations of Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia and Catalonia.

Demand from foreign buyers saw a slight fall during the first three months of 2015, but recovered in the second trimester, rising to 12.8 percent of all purchases.

In some areas, overseas buyers make between a third and a quarter of all purchases; 33.5 percent of all house purchases in the Balearic Islands were made by foreigners. In the Canary Islands the figure was 27.5 percent and in Valencia, 25.7 percent.

Spain is one of the most popular destinations both for British tourists and expats, many seeking a new life in a sunnier, more laid-back climate.

British buyers have been flocking to Spain because of the bargains to be found thanks to the strong pound against the euro.

Source: The Local

04
Apr

7 essential steps to buying in Spain

If you are planning to invest in property in Spain make sure you don’t leave your brain on the plane but follow these essential steps.

1. Assume that you have to do all the things in Spain that you’d do back home. The most important is to keep your wits about you and don’t take anything for granted. Question all the time and ask again if you don’t understand the answer. Also ask the same questions of other people and get a feel for what’s right.

2. Set yourself a research budget. That money should cover all the costs of looking and getting reliable advice and must be treated as an investment. It’ll cost hundreds, but it will save you thousands.

3. After all the Internet research, go to Spain before you commit yourself to anything. The web is marvellous, but it can’t tell the sights just off the edge of the photo or the noise and smells, pleasant and unpleasant! The cost of a few quick weekend trips looking at different areas and repeated visits to the same area once you have decided on a place will give you a real feeling for the atmosphere of places and people.

4. Remember that not all agents are bad and not all are good. However, they are paid their fee by the seller and will only get that when you buy so don’t faff around too much or they will lose faith in you and move onto more decisive clients. On the other hand, don’t be rushed and make sure, if you are buying the property with a partner, that you both have given full and frank opinions on the property and the information you’ve been given. If one isn’t happy with it, they could make life miserable for themselves and the others by “I told you so”, at every minor future problem.

5. You need a good lawyer who can talk fluently to you in your own language and understand fully what you are saying too. Make sure that he or she has support as sometimes at crucial moments they can be away on holiday or dealing with court cases and such like. You don’t want to be left ‘hanging’ without assistance. They don’t have to be local to the property, but must give you the feeling that they can empathise with your thoughts and problems and that they have a professional conscience, by getting answers to the questions that you don’t know need to be asked. Also, the art of communication does not always come high up in the profession’s priorities, so don’t wait for a report on what’s happening, ask for it too. Often you’ll be pleasantly surprised that there has been significant progress, but somebody just hasn’t thought to tell you.

6.  Have the property inspected by a knowledgeable surveyor who again will have gone through all the situations you find yourself in and have the experience of years of finding solutions for clients problems. They too have to be able to talk frankly with you and give impartial advice, again answering those questions you don’t know to ask, as well as those you do. Remember that they are perhaps the only professional that actually visits the property and looks at the paperwork and so, whilst the lawyer can give you 100 percent perfect paperwork, it’s not much use if it only covers half the property you think you’re buying or the place is crumbling about you as you sit regretting in the sun. Being able to take a survey report into negotiations on the price of the property can easily save you many, many times the cost of the report.

7.  Last and most important is to enjoy the process and the country, while keeping your wits about you. After all that’s what you’re here for, to enjoy a better life!

Source: The local