Opening and operating a business can often require the owner to obtain a license to carry-out the specific activity. Sometimes, this is passed-on to the new owner, if purchasing an existing business, or if not, it may be necessary to make an application. Where the business shall deal with the public, these tend to be quite arcane and complex. Especially if the activity or service to be provided is dangerous in any way, such as certain sporting activities.
Both individuals and companies are interested in either making strategic investments in businesses located in other countries or indeed in purchasing them outright. To be able to advise on such investments – ranging from relatively straight forward to highly complex - requires a great deal of experience and ability to carry-out due diligence, understand the impact of tax and accounting rules and corporate law in general, to ensure that your investment is safe and productive.
If you have already decided on the type of business you want to run, and where you wish to locate it, then the main decision you will need to make is whether you should set it up as a limited company or as a sole trader.
This can be extremely important as you can save a considerable amount of money depending on which option you choose. Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Self-employed is of course cheaper to set-up and less costly to manage since the reporting requirements are lesser than in the case of limited companies.
On the other hand, limited companies do limit your liability in the case of a claim against your business, which depending on the type of business could be the only reason you need to opt for this type of structure. Otherwise, a limited company is rather more flexible when there are a number of partners or when the company has other, more complex attributes.
Your are focused on your business in Spain which is why you need your tax and accounting matters to be as straightforward, cost-effective and hassle-free as possible.
When you contract Advocate Abroad to register as autonomo in Spain, our English-speaking consultants will take care of all registration and day-to-day issues relating to Spanish tax, social security and accounting matters. Which leaves you with all the time you need to dedicate to your business.
Our consultants are registered and regulated by the local Law Society and/or equivalent Accountancy body, and speak English fluently. Therefore, you can be sure that you will obtain timely answers to any queries you may have, in a language that you understand!
Our English-speaking consultants will answer your questions about how Spanish law affects your business and then make sure you comply with Spanish legal requirements relating to legally constituting a business. This will normally require at least some of the following services:
This service costs from €60 per calendar month
The Self-Employed Set-Up and Tax Service is ideal for an individual sole trader who is planning to work alone. But, should you later add employees to your expanding business then you will want to add the Fully Managed HR & Payroll Service:
This service includes the following components:
This service costs €25 per month for the first employee and €20 per additional employee.
All prices are ex-IVA (@ 21%).
With 60 individual office locations throughout the Iberian peninsula and the islands, and 6 tax specialist centres we are able to offer a truly nationwide service to English-speakers wherever they are located in Spain.
This is the most inexpensive way to set up a business. You will be self-employed and work within a simple structure implying little bureaucracy in which, basically, you are paid with the profits of your company. You will not be considered as an employee, and will have less social benefits than you would as a regular employee. You will be liable for any and all losses incurred by the business.
If you are planning to take over a bar, restaurant or other active restaurant or indeed need to arrange premises for the carrying-on of a new business, you may well need to arrange the ‘traspaso’ or transfer of the business and/or premises. This will allow you to benefit from the existing clientele or area where the premises are located and so begin your business from a privileged position. The purchaser agrees to make a payment to the existing leaseholder or owner to take-over the business or premises.
Unfortunately, every day businesses fail and as dispiriting as this is, it is vitally important to put in place a plan that will mitigate the impact of this situation on the owners, employees, clients and suppliers of the business.
Often the best strategy for a business to consolidate its position in an existing market or if wishing to enter a new market, is to purchase a local competitor. When embarking on this strategy it is of course vital to the success of the venture to ensure that local and European competition rules are adhered to.
Conducting a business requires a good knowledge of consumer law and, in particular, of a company’s legal obligations to clients. Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of consumer products need to navigate the global regulatory landscape and to comply with disclosure and reporting obligations, regulatory investigations and product recalls in order to avoid or reduce potential civil and criminal penalties and private litigation.
Each country has its own rules and regulations that determine how owners and directors may act in relation to legal entities such as limited and public companies. Owners and directors often need to know whether they may proceed with specific plans such as restructuring, issuing of shares etc. Or indeed office holders may want to know if they have committed a breach or understand their liability for prior actions. At times shareholders or 3rd parties such as suppliers and clients will often want to obtain advice and representation if their rights in relation to a company have been infringed due to the actions or omissions of the members of the company.
This service is designed both for those planning to develop their business into a franchise operation as well as those interested in taking-on a local franchise opportunity and seeking legal advice on the specific offer.
Once your business begins to achieve success, you will normally have to deal with a whole host of issues, including but not restricted to: employee matters, relationships and agreements with suppliers, landlords, clients and other interested parties such as government and local authority’s contracts for the development of the business, internal roles and director’s responsibilities and company liabilities etc. At some point, having a go to lawyer who can understand you and provide advice and knowledgeable support can become vital to your future success.
When seeking growth through acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures and alliances, receiving strategic advice is crucial. Getting the deal accomplished is dependent on whether a notification to a competition authority is required. Understanding the merger control landscape at the national and EU level is key to successfully structuring transactions so as to minimise the risk of competition law enforcement challenges or private litigation.
Any company operating in the field of financial services for individual consumers must comply with a whole host of consumer protection laws at national and European level. Our experienced lawyers can assist firms on the development of policies to ensure ongoing compliance with existing regulations.
Over recent years, many companies have demonstrated an unlikely agility to hit the publicity self-destruct button as a result of errors that begin as poor corporate governance. Our team of experienced corporate law specialists are able to guide client firms in the areas of corporate governance and social responsibility, helping to avoid self-inflicted own goals that can destroy a firm’s reputation and impact its bottom line.
Both borrowers and lenders require expert advice and safe guidance in an ever more complex environment that demands expert knowledge of the current market and deep technical understanding of current debt instruments
We provide advice and support in the areas of national and European licensing and supervision to a wide range of banking and financial services companies including banks, payments companies, investment companies, investment funds and insurance firms. With the introduction of MiFID II and PSD II, compliance with European regulations are set to become vital for firms in this arena.
For those that are either bound by an arbitration clause in a commercial contract and are therefore, obliged to follow arbitration proceedings instead of court proceedings, or those who wish to resort to out-of-court dispute resolution.
Contracts are drafted in so many different scenarios that it would be impossible to provide a definitive list. Contracts arise in the most personal of affairs (prenuptial agreements, organ donation), everyday situations (leases for dwellings and commercial offices) and in the most important of matters (purchase of properties and businesses). When living in other countries, local laws can impinge on how a contract may be drafted which makes it even more important for a local lawyer to advise you on how to ensure that your rights are protected.
Before signing an agreement, it can be extremely beneficial to have an experienced lawyer cast an eye over the agreement. Once you sign, there is seldom any way to row-back and so it is highly advisable to have a wise and experienced professional - used to negotiating agreements and representing parties who are in disagreement - on a regular basis, to review the contract before proceeding to sign.
Both in business and in personal relationships, we undertake to abide by contractual terms all the time. Whether related to the provision of a service by a company, or a private agreement between individuals. Unfortunately, the parties to agreements do not always abide by the terms and as a result the other party to the contract may need to take legal action to protect their interests.
Non-disclosure agreements arise in many varied situations such as between employers and employees and companies and consultants, and basically any scenario where privileged information is held by one party that will become known by another party as a result of some type of relationship between the two. Non-disclosure agreements require very careful drafting to ensure that all possible scenarios are considered and provided for.
As soon as anyone makes a substantial claim against an insurance company, they realise that insurance companies do tend to make life difficult for claimants and sometimes reject a claim for the most spurious of reasons. Rather than just accept that, you can pursue the matter with a specialist lawyer who can take on the claim, initially by negotiating with the insurance company and later via legal proceedings, as required.
Product liability may arise when a customer suffers loss or damage as a result of a defective product. The problem occurs thousands of times each year across Europe and the wider world and it is imperative to obtain a successful ruling to avoid the possibility of severe financial consequences.
In general a claim may arise where loss, damage or injury has been suffered as a result of an action – or failure to act – by a professional providing a service to the person who has suffered the loss, damage or injury.
Anyone with experience running a business will have unfortunately been forced at some point to chase debtors for failing to pay for goods or services supplied. Or perhaps a loan has been made and never repaid. Hopefully, a formal legal demand will be sufficient to ensure prompt repayment. If not, other measures can be taken to enforce your rights, around the world.
At it's root, litigation involves the assertion of - or alternatively, the defence of - certain rights or obligations as between two parties. It covers a wide spectrum of situations involving individuals, companies and often both, where customers are involved.
It can be difficult to know whether any particular claim would be valid and whether it is likely to be successful - two different things entirely. In general, a claim may arise where loss, damage or injury has been suffered as a result of an action – or failure to act – by another party (individual, company, local authority etc.) who has a responsibility - either in contract or in law - towards the party who has suffered the loss, damage or injury.
We have all suffered from the effects of nuisance, normally caused by thoughtless individuals living in our local community. The types of nuisance that may be suffered are many and varied. Most common nuisance complaints would be noise – be it from exuberant parties held by neighbours at unsociable hours of the night or constant barking from pets left at home all day long. While there are many examples, typically a nuisance must amount to an unreasonable interference with the peaceable enjoyment of one’s property.
Negligence claims arise in a wide-range of scenarios in modern law. In general a negligence claim will arise where loss, damage or injury has been suffered as a result of an action – or failure to act – by another party (individual, company, local authority etc.) that owe a duty of care towards the person who has suffered the loss, damage or injury.
With the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679, businesses across the world have been forced to scramble to ensure they are compliant. While currently emphasis is being placed on the management of personal data by large multinational tech companies, companies of all sizes are required to comply.
The data of individuals is the subject of the GDPR protection and consequently the impact is felt across an organization who processes their personal details: identifying who is the data controller, how data is obtained and its lawfulness of processing, technical and organizational measures to be taken in order to ensure data security, the DPO role within a company, how to manage a right request from the data subject, how to protect the confidential data managed by a processor, data protection impact assessment, how long data records can be retained, identifying special categories of data, etc.
Clearly some of the most valuable assets in the world today are apps, software and associated algorithms. In fact often these are the only products of multinational companies. Accordingly, it is essential for any business producing software products to scrupulously protect and defend the creativity and know-how intrinsic to such products.
While the least tangible, a company’s brand is often its most valuable asset and accordingly it requires protection – just like any tangible assets owned by the company.
Copyright is a protection afforded to the authors of original works- be they of the written word, art, music or film. This area has come under intense scrutiny in recent years due to the emergence of digital media, making easier illicit transfers and accordingly the likelihood of copyright infringement.
Often the most valuable asset retained by a company, is its Intellectual Property. This is typically the case where a company provides solutions to other businesses or individuals which require the provision of a solution or service that has a design element at its core. This might mean the design of a new product that is differentiated from other similar products by its unique design.
Often the best or only way to derive benefit from an intellectual property right, such as a copyright or patent, is to licence its use by another party. To ensure that your rights are protected effectively, such licenses need to be drafted carefully by experienced Intellectual Property lawyers.
A patent may be distinguished from a trademark or copyright by the fact that it relates to inventions – this does not necessarily mean that it has to be a physical machine or device – though often that is the case. No, a patent also applies to industrial processes or the precise combination of existing chemicals or products to make a mixture that is itself unique.
Any business may wish to apply to create a trademark that will protect the usage of – and accrue benefits from - aspects of their business which might involve specific logos, words or other distinctive features of their business. In short, a trademark can protect those features which together form a brand. Often, this can be one of the most valuable intangible assets of a company and it is vitally important to protect and, on occasions, defend.
Being accused with carrying-out an assault can result in a range of offences -from relatively minor charges to the most serious on the country’s statute books. In any case, the presence of an experienced criminal lawyer, who speaks your language, can be absolutely vital in determining the severity of any sentence or indeed receiving an acquittal
A common offence among young people can be the possession of drugs. Such legal convictions can impact later life opportunities and it is important to deal with them with the appropriate level of seriousness. More serious offences involving the production and/or trafficking of prescribed drugs can result in the deprivation of liberty for considerable periods of time in a remote country, without local language abilities. Representation by an experienced criminal defence lawyer is absolutely vital to obtain the best result possible.
Depending on the amount of money involved, and the impact on any victims, this offence can attract a wide range of potential sentences, ranging from fines to long terms of imprisonment. A lawyer who can understand you and your role – if any – in the events that you are accused of undertaking is crucial to ensuring the best possible defence.
A common offence among young people abroad is to be charged with possession - or the more serious offence of 'trafficking' - of drugs. Such legal convictions can impact later life opportunities and it is important to deal with them with the appropriate level of seriousness. More serious offences involving the production and/or trafficking of prescribed drugs can result in the deprivation of liberty for considerable periods of time in a remote country, without local language abilities. Representation by an experienced criminal defence lawyer is absolutely vital to obtain the best result possible.
Anyone may be detained pursuant to a warrant for their arrest issued by another country – most commonly in Europe under the auspices of the European Arrest Warrant. A successful defence can arise where the specific offence does not existing in the country where the individual is detained. Success can therefore require close collaboration between lawyers in both states.
One of the most common situations for English-speakers abroad is being stopped by the police for some type of infraction of the rules of the road. Such offences range from speeding to death by dangerous driving, so the sentences that can result are equally varied. Most important is having a lawyer who understands you and who will know how to mitigate any sentence that may be levied.
There are now a wide range of sexual offences on the statute books and the way local courts handle such cases will vary from country to country. Obviously, it is important for anyone facing such charges to have an experienced criminal lawyer defend them and not only that, but a lawyer who can understand them, and explain their situation clearly to them and their legal options going forward.
A common offence in Europe is that of smuggling. The authorities are of course more and more keen to police national borders - especially as a result of the recent refugee crisis. Accordingly those who either are not aware of allowances relating to tobacco alcohol, or who flout the rules regardless, or who are in possession of more illicit contraband, will be increasingly subject to stop and search, with predictable results.
This is a specialist service aimed at anyone who is the subject of an investigation by the tax authorities for non-payment of due taxes. An experienced, specialist tax lawyer is required to be able to navigate this complex area and to be able to explain the options and consequences to their client.
In certain countries victims have a statutory right to be represented in the trial of the person(s) accused of committing a crime against them. In this regard, an English-speaking lawyer can be a great help in liaising with the court and keeping you up-to-date with progress and information regarding the trial.
You are covered by EU Passenger rights – and subsequently have a right to receive compensation - if your flight is internal to the EU, lands in the EU and is an EU airline, or departs the EU on either an EU or non-EU airline. Compensation is available for cancelled or delayed flights (over 3 hours), denied boarding, over-booking and lost luggage.
Our firm offers a full range of legal services to ship owners, charterers, ship managers and ship financing institutions.
Companies transporting goods across Europe can find themselves in difficulties if their lorry is stopped and impounded for an alleged infraction. This can occur simply when crossing a bridge over the weight limit or some other infraction. Of course, speed is of the essence in order to get the goods back on the road and delivered as soon as possible.
For those businesses who do not have the benefit of an internal legal or HR department, it is necessary to have an expert draft effective contracts of employment ideal for the nature of your business and your individual circumstances.
Both employers and employees can sometimes require expert advice on their legal position following an incident in the labour relationship between the two parties. Labour law traditionally has an enormous number of rules and regulations and requires a lawyer who specialises in the area and who is up-to-date with any recent developments in legislation and jurisprudence.
When it is impossible for an employer and employee - who are parties to an internal employment dispute - to reach agreement, generally the next step is to have the matter heard before an employment tribunal. This of course requires the assistance of experienced local lawyers who can protect and defend your interests. The ability to speak your language is of course crucial to following developments at the tribunal and ensures that you understand how you are being represented.
Due to the very nature of their position, employers tend to need advice on employee relations now and again. Accordingly, the ability to have an English-speaking expert in the area, able to provide advice at a predefined cost is vital to the smooth running of your business and can reduce concerns about potential liabilities, as well as advise on how to avoid incurring such liabilities.
Following a split between the parents of a child, whether by divorce or not, an agreement must be drafted to detail any financial responsibilities held by the non-custodial parent. Since the circumstances of the non-custodial parent may change over time, it is possible to petition the court to have any previously agreed to financial arrangements amended.
For anyone who wishes to initiate, or who needs to respond to, divorce proceedings or other family law proceedings including separation and annulment.
Your lawyer will be able to offer any of the following services as required:
Today there are many variations of the old ‘marriage’ concept – many people live together and have a family without ever formalising the arrangement. Some couples prefer a civil union and in some places this is only available to same-sex couples. The old certainties have long since disappeared and this can lead to a level of confusion regarding rights and obligations to partners and any children born as a result of the union.
An order may be made by a family law court to alter the living arrangements of a family, such as conferring the custody of the children on one or other parent, or indeed any other such order as it considers necessary to protect the interests of the children. Either of the parents may wish to challenge this ruling – either at the time the Court Order is made or later, upon a change in circumstances of any or all of the parties involved.
This is a crime relating to the removal of a child or children by one parent from their current country of residence, to another country, without the approval or consent of the other parent. In such cases time is very much of the essence and it is critical that the authorities are notified if a child is believed to have been removed from the jurisdiction by one of the parents.
With the modern tendency to get married later in life or indeed to marry more than once, individuals are nowadays more likely to want to protect any inherited and/or acquired wealth to ensure that it is received by their children, for example. The laws relating to enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements vary from state to state and anyone concerned about their vulnerability to losing substantial amounts of acquired wealth, should be resolved in advance by speaking with a lawyer specialised in the field.
If you have divorced in another country, and plan to remarry in your new country of residence, you will need to have that divorce recognised and inscribed in the civil registry of your new country of residence. If the divorce took place in an EU state, a simple process is followed, however in the case of divorces outside the EU, a more complex process is required
Domestic violence can be especially difficult when it occurs in a foreign country since the victim may not have the support of extended family or understand the system of state support due to language difficulties. A consultation with an English-speaking family lawyer will provide immediate information and peace of mind as well as beginning the process of resolving the problem.
Spanish banks were penalised by the Courts for making their customers sign unfair contracts that allowed the banks to benefit from increased mortgage repayments on variable rate mortgages when the European Central Bank rate increased, but limited the extent of any reduction – and subsequent benefit to customers – when the ECB decreased
Many of our clients need to establish premises in order to do business – this can by either a store, for retail operations or an office for other types of business. In either case we can help you to organise the relevant real estate professionals as well as the legal aspects of such operations including lease review.
If you own a property abroad that you rent long-term to a tenant who has breached the terms of the lease either through failing to pay the specified rent, within the specified timeframe, or by breach of some other term of the lease, you may be entitled to initiate legal proceedings to recover vacant possession of the property.
A common problem faced by separating couples is, what to do with the foreign holiday home. Sometimes the couple decide to put the property in the name of one, while the other takes an equivalent property elsewhere. On other occasions, agreement is not possible, and one co-owner wishes to divest themselves of an asset that they maybe they no longer use. However, without the agreement of their co-owner, this is complex. A forced sale is possible, but expensive.
Given the central importance of maintaining a roof over one’s head, it is hardly surprising that it gives rise to one of the most common reasons for resorting to legal advice. While it can surely be claimed that tenants are typically at a disadvantage in the negotiations, at times landlords suffer and are left out of pocket due to activities of their tenants.
This is a service that is aimed at both tenants and landlords, since both parties can benefit tremendously from a review of the contract that will regulate their relationship and any disputes for a reasonable period of time. For the landlord it can be an important source of income and for the tenant, it is the very roof over their head.
Buying property abroad is a very popular activity but can be fraught with dangers. Given that the purchase of a property is one of the most important investments that most people will make in their lifetime, it is crucial to be advised by an independent expert.
Selling property abroad may initially appear to be a safe process, however it is important to ensure that you obtain the full proceeds you are due and that you are not ignoring any continuing liabilities that could cause problems in the future
When a non-resident owner of a property in Spain sells their property, the purchaser is obliged by law to deposit 3% of the purchase price directly with the Spanish tax authority (AETA) in lieu of payment of all taxes due on the property ownership. So, this is the Spanish government’s way of ensuring that vendors pay Capital Gains tax and also any non-resident property tax. While this service is frequently offered by unqualified individuals in the property sector, it can often be a mistake to rely on them as the procedure is rather more complex than they may have anticipated and requires a good understanding of taxation and of course a high level of Spanish.
For those who wish to terminate a co-ownership – either as a result of the termination of a personal relationship or the end of a commercial buy-to-let business partnership, the ownership of a property must be dealt with carefully to ensure that no inadvertent costs are incurred. Usually if the reason for the need to transfer the title of a property is a result of a divorce, then following the appropriate procedure, this can be achieved without attracting taxation and other costs. This may not be the case where an unmarried couple separate, or in the case of the termination of a commercial partnership
Unfortunately an all too common occurrence in Mediterranean countries is for unscrupulous landlords to refuse to return a deposit paid by a tenant in good faith, for some spurious reason relating to supposed damages caused to the property during the tenancy.
Renting a property abroad can be rather more complex than the same operation in your home country since the local laws will be different and, often, as a result of language difficulties, it becomes necessary to rely on strangers who may – or may not – have your best interests at heart. A lease is a contract that creates long term obligations and so should be reviewed by an expert before considering entering into them.
All too often, timeshare companies fail to comply with the national regulations regarding the information they must provide clients nor include the terms and conditions in the contract for the purchase of the timeshare that are required by law. Clients are often entitled to remedies under the law including termination of the agreement and/or a return of a substantial amount of money.
Increasingly, government authorities in several countries are becoming ever more vigilant to ensure that any short-term property lets are fully regulated, with any profits being subject to appropriate taxes. Inspectors are posing as clients and trawling internet websites and classified ads in order to locate unregistered properties being let to holidaymakers. Accordingly, those planning to let out holiday homes abroad for commercial gain would be well advised to ensure they comply with the law and register with the appropriate register.
Article 1 of Spanish Law 57/1968 regarding the receipt of advanced payments towards the construction and sale of residential property in Spain, clearly establishes the legal responsibility assumed by financial institutions in whose accounts the advance payments are lodged, where the said financial institutions failed to insist on an insurance guarantee or a deposit by the developer.
So, if you have made a deposit payment towards an off-plan property in Spain that was never completed, you may be able to make a claim against the bank that received the deposit monies from the Constructor, when the bank failed to insist on insurance for those monies.
Our English-speaking lawyers and associated professionals can assist you with your claim against a bank in Spain.
This service is for those who have any general issues or problems that require interaction with local or national government. This is a common issue faced by expats who do not speak the local language to a high-level; and even for those that do, dealing with government bodies can be confusing and daunting
Some can be concerned that a previous incident – which often occurred several years ago – may leave them vulnerable to arrest, if travelling to that particular country again. Great distress can follow if an arrest takes place at an airport, causing significant inconvenience and embarrassment if travelling for work or family related reasons.
This service is for anyone who has been resident in Spain in recent years and accordinly requires a certificate of a clean criminal record, usually for the purposes of taking-up the offer of a job in a restricted sector - either in Spain or in another country.
If you have obtained a Court Order or judgement in your favour in your home country but then need to have it enforced in a foreign country, it may be necessary to go through a special procedure in the foreign country to achieve this.
Anyone who becomes resident in Spain for tax purposes, or indeed if they buy or inherit property in Spain – whether they plan to become resident or not - will need to arrange an NIE (Número Identidad Extranjero – Foreigner’s Identity Number). If you become resident in Spain, you will need this number to carry-out an almost never-ending list of activities such as arranging utilities, getting a mobile phone, registering with local authorities or health-centres etc
For anyone who needs to arrange an NIE number in Spain fast!! Whether buying or inheriting property, setting-up a business, payment of taxes etc, obtaining an NIE number oftern needs to be arranged quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
However, that's just where the problems begin. The NIE service is run by the Spanish National Police or the diplomatic services and is therefore a slow process, usually taking weeks/months to arrange. This can mean expensive delays for those who urgently need to address business or personal matters.
Anyone who has moved countries may be required to obtain a certificate from the state that they previously lived in, so that they can successfully complete a legal process, including taking-up employment that requires a clean criminal record certificate or perhaps a certificate of divorce in order to re-marry or a certificate of marriage which can be required for a number of administrative processes.
A power of attorney is a document which outlines the instructions and extent to which another person may represent the grantor of the power. A typical example is a lasting power of attorney to look after the interests of an elderly relative or a lawyer signing for the purchase or sale of a property abroad or the incorporation of a company.
Social Security is a huge area by itself and covers important sectors such as pensions, healthcare and benefits payments. Problems often arise when mistakes are made by the State and arcane and complex processes need to be followed in order to resolve them successfully
Failure to look after one’s tax affairs can result in serious charges and potentially huge fines. As always, ignorance is no defence before the law – even if understandable due to language difficulties. The sooner the matter is dealt with by a professional, the better and more likely is the possibility of resolving the issue with the best outcome.
This is a hugely important area of law in any jurisdiction, and often one which raises the greatest number of anomalies and levels of discontent among ordinary members of the public since it regulates one of the most valuable assets that most people will ever own. Over the years many people have come into contact with this area of the law due to planning irregularieties that have rendered homes they have purchased worthless. From a simple home-extension or planning application to the delivery of a motorway or rail network, this area of law deals with the full spectrum of construction and bridges the private-state sector divide.
Anyone who has interests in another country, for example, a holiday home, will receive notifications from time to time from various government departments. Some of these may be important and/or urgent and require action on your part. For a small fee, a lawyer or accountant will provide their address as the place to send such notifications and thereby ensure that they are dealt with on a timely basis, always informing you of the situation ahead of taking any action.
The Spanish government have made it an obligation for all residents to declare any assets they hold outside Spain, in particular, but not restricted to, properties and bank accounts held in the UK or elsewhere in the world. You are obliged to declare if within any particular category, you own assets with a combined value of over €50,000: This applies to owners, beneficiaries of trusts, and those held by a company you control.
Unlike the UK, Spain requires most residents and all property owners to submit a tax return. Exceptions include those with an annual income from a single source of less than €22,000, who need not declare. However, if an individual has an income from more than one source, they are obliged to make a personal income tax return if the sum of second and subsequent sources of income is over €1,500.
Upon purchase of a property in Spain, non-resident owners are liable to pay a tax based on the rateable value of the property, once a year. The tax is payable one year in arrears, so if you were to purchase a property in 2019, the tax would be payable by 31/12/2020. The first years tax is payable pro rate the portion of the year that you have owned the property, so if you purchase on 1st October 2019, you will be liable for a quarter of the normal tax payable (with the previous owner liable for the remainder).
A common activity in Spain by non-resident property owners is to rent-out a holiday home to short-stay guests. Given the popularity of the activity, the Spanish government has been keen to ensure that the activity is controlled and – of course – any profits taxed. Tax on income must be paid on a quarterly basis.
This tax on Spanish tax residents made a comeback in recent years – after a long time in the wilderness - in an effort by the Spanish government to improve its finances. It is applied over a person’s assets i.e. not on income but on acquired wealth. The tax is devolved to the Autonomous Regions so the specific tax will depend on where you live. Typically the tax applies to anyone with accumulated wealth greater than 700,000€, though in some regions it is lower (Cataluña, Extremadura and Aragón).
The Golden Visa programme is a popular way for wealthy individuals to obtain residency rights in Western Europe. However, applications fail because they are unable to provide the detailed information that the local authorities demand to receive before granting approval.
Those who have chosen to settle in a foreign country must go through a series of legal procedures beginning with application for a Visa (in non-EU citizen) through to arranging local ID and registration for various services (for all citizens). A lot of time and money can be wasted on not knowing what you are supposed to do, and relying on information about processes that may no longer be valid, since immigration is quite notorious for changing rules and procedures. Having a local expert who speaks the language and has great experience of dealing with the immigration authorities will greatly reduce the stress and hassle involved
Business opportunities often require travel to foreign countries, and so it can become necessary to request a Visa to visit a country, in order to carry-out a business. A visa may be obtained to visit various Schengen countries, though should be applied for in the principal destination
Who is this service for?
This service is for anyone who is a citizen of the EU who is planning to live in Spain for a period of longer than 3 months. Spanish law requires anyone is such a situation to obtain a Certificate of Residency. This is possible where the applicant:
What does this service consist of?
Legislation permitting the conferral of European State nationality on Sephardic Jews came into force recently, and establishes a new process by which all those who can prove that they are descendants of Sephardic Jews and who have a special connection with the country may obtain nationality. Most popular are applications for Spanish and Portuguese nationality.
It is quite common for a Visa application to be turned down by a Country’s Consulate office. If this occurs, it will be necessary to appeal this outcome within a set time-frame – often 30 days – through the appropriate Courts in the capital of the country that has denied the Visa application. Such appeals should be made by experienced immigration lawyers to ensure the best possibility of success.
Contesting a Will can be fraught with difficulty - not to mention emotion - given that an individual may likely be asserting a right to inherit against another family member. The ability to contest a Will depends very much on the circumstances of the case and the applicable law.
This becomes more complex once again when considered in an international context. There may be conflicting jurisprudence as to which laws apply, nevermind what those laws actually state. Often the grounds for varying a Will would relate to undue influence on the intestator by a beneficiary named in the Will though in European jurisdictions, a child of the deceased may have a right to a portion of the estate in a system known as forced heirs, and any failure to inherit the minimum portion assigned by law, could give rise to a right to contest the Will.
For those who need to arrange for an estate abroad to be transferred to beneficiaries under a Will or via intestacy
For anyone who wishes to control the manner in which their estate is distributed under their own laws rather than the laws of the State where their assets are located.