adventures and misadventures


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costs of being a houseowner in Spain – part 3: “the sale”

Also in case of sale you have to distinguish between the resident seller, and the non-resident seller.

For non-resident seller the buyer is obliged to retain 3% of the sales/purchase price, this retention has to be paid to the tax office on account of the benefit tax of the seller. The seller after that has to present a tax return declaring the real benefit. This real benefit will be calculated deducting from the sales price, in the first place the original purchase price, and after that deducting any costs made for example renewing the property, transfer tax paid at the moment of purchase, etc. On the result of this calculation a formula will be applied for the devaluation of the property, reducing it a bit more. The non-resident seller will have to pay after that 24,75% (at least at this moment, may 2014, the government can change the percentage in the future), on this benefit, the 3% retained previously by the buyer will be deducted from this amount. In case the seller has had no benefit or the 3% retained is too much, the seller can apply for the money to be returned.

In case you have renewed the property but you have not included this renewal in the property register (by the “ampliación de escritura de obra nueva”), you should do this before signing any sales deed. This can be used to update the value of the property, and so pay less benefit tax afterwards.

As a resident if you sell your property, if you are over 65 years old and you have lived there for more than 3 years, no benefit tax is due. If not, the sale has to be declared in your normal income tax form, and the benefit will be taxed accordingly. But as a resident in case you reinvest the money within two years after the sale in another property, the reinvested amount will not be taxed.


costs of being a houseowner in Spain – part 2: “taxes”

Also once you are a happy house owner in Spain you start paying taxes. The amount you have to pay depends on whether or not you are a resident and whether or not you have any income from your house, renting it out.

Being a resident normally you will not pay tax on your main resident, unless you rent it out as well, in that case the rental income will be added to your normal income, you can deduct the costs you have made and the costs (for instance light and water consumption) you have paid for the period the house was rented out.


As a non-resident you have to pay for the rental forfait of the property, and/or for the real rental income. The rental forfait tax is based on the kadaster value, which has to be multiplied by 1,1% or 2% (depending on when the kadaster value was established), and you pay (for the last year) 24,75% on this amount. If you have had rental income this same percentage will be applied on your benefit. For this tax you will not receive any notification, you have to present it yourself (or ask someone else to do this for you).

Apart from that you have to count with a couple of other taxes, the IBI tax, or “Impuestos Bienes Inmuebles”, also based on the kadaster value, and paid usually in august/september. This receipt will be send to your house, and the easiest way to deal with it is to ask the bank to deal with this automatically. Same for the “basura” tax, a municipal tax, also issued (at least in the Comunidad Valenciana) by SUMA, and also for this one the easiest way is to domicile this one.


costs of being a houseowner in Spain – part 1 “the purchase”

Owning a house in Spain obviously means spending money on your house. In the first place when you buy the property, apart from the `price of the house you have to pay notary costs, transfer taxes (10% of the declared value at this moment in the Comunidad Valenciana) and the property register.

Apart from that you may choose to get professional help, a lawyer to help you with the legal side of the purchase, an architect to check the property, a real estate agent to help you find the property…


You may want to buy with  a mortgage, and even if this is not the case the bank will charge you with a fee for issuing a bankcheque….

Here I will only comment on the financial side of the purchase:

Let’s say you want to buy a nice penthouse first line beach in Javea, the house of your dreams… this property comes with a price tag, € 300.000!!!!!   WOW

You have saved some money, after all you’ve been working for 40 years and bit by bit you’ve been able to scrape together the amount of € 100.000. This means you have to get another € 200.000 from the bank, right??


Yes, the house costs € 300.000, you have € 100.000, the difference is € 200.000. But you have not counted with the additional costs. Let’s start:

  • the price of the property € 300.000
  • Notary and register costs, let’s count 1% to be on the safe side: € 3.000
  • transfer tax: 10% of € 300.000 = € 30.000
  • legal survey / lawyer: between 0,5% and 1% (let’s say € 2.000)
  • architects survey: could be anything between € 500 and € 1.000 (let’s say € 500)
  • Bank valuation: could be anything between € 300 and € 500 (let’s say € 300)
  • costs of mortgage: starting price at € 7.500 (if you get a mortgage, rather difficult nowadays, but that’s quite another story)
  • bank cheque, could be about € 300
  • commission for real estate agent normally will be paid by the seller

So more than € 40.000 on top of the € 300.000 you counted.


About advertising, ethics and legality

Lately it has come to my attention that in the news programs, the news presentators make publicity as if it were part of the news they present. For instance Matias Prats (a well known spanish news presentator), after telling all the last news about war and political conflicts, would try to sell products of some insurance company.

I don’t know about you, but I find this rather shocking: I have always thought that these kind of programs should just give you the news, what they tell you is supposed to be true, so whatever this person tells you, when he tells you that this or that company is the best to insure your car, HAS MORE CREDIBILITY.

I’m sure that the firms who pay for this advertising do this with the intention to use this addes credibility of an advertisement within a news program. Is this bad faith? Can they use a news program for commercial purposes, using the same news presentator for this as if it were just another news item???

Obviously publicity, advertising and commercial have their own rules, and we are free to believe whatever they want us to believe, but is it admissible and ethical when they use the news program for this?


“The testament”, another one of my favourite books

by John Grisham, master in legal novels.

Troy Phelan, an eccentric elderly billionaire, commits suicide minutes after leaving his vast fortune to an illegitimate daughter, Rachel Lane, instead of his six children by three marriages. His reason is revulsion over years of fighting with, and embarrassment from, his family, as well as their greed — much of which was due to his neglect of his children and multiple affairs (both personal and business).

His lawyers are now tasked with protecting Troy’s wishes as well as finding the heiress. Nate O’Riley, a high-powered litigation lawyer and now recovering alcoholic, is sent to Brazil, where Rachel is believed to be living as a missionary.

I enjoyed this one from page one right to the end…




Justice is open…

Justice is open to everyone in the same way as the Ritz Hotel


Quote of Judge Sturgess

Recently the Spanish government approved a law of judicial or court fees, obliging anyone who wants to present a case in court to pay a certain fee.

There are two reasons for this law, one obviously is financial, the spanish government is desperately trying to get money anywhere; the other reason is that the spanish government would try to stop people to litigate for nonsense reasons.

But whatever the reason, justice seems to be a luxury now, only available for who can afford it…

about law and justice

People usually think they are not involved in the legal and judicial system; HUGE MISTAKE!!!

Law and justice is everywhere, and almost everything you do has or may have legal consecuences.

Buying bread at the bakery means consenting in a purchase contract. You buy and pay a price, and the baker sells you bread. If you don’t pay the baker has the legal right to claim what you owe him, if he doesn’t give you the bread you also may claim that he fulfills his part of the contract; and if the bread he sells you somehow is not up to the current standard you also have a legal basis for a claim…

You cannot escape from the legal system, you’re just in the middle…

Obviously 99,99% of comercial or legal operations don’t go to court, but everyone at some point in life needs legal assistance.

This is where we or other lawyers may help you. Find someone you feel comfortable with, whom you feel you can trust.

Ask around and follow your instinct.


the brethren

of John Grisham, one of my favourites.

Three former judges (known as “The Brethren”) incarcerated at Trumble, a fictional, federal minimum security prison, develop a scam to blackmail wealthy closeted gay men. With the help of their lawyer, Trevor Carson, they transfer their ill-gotten money to a secret bank account.

Meanwhile, Teddy Maynard, the ruthless and soon-to-retire director of the CIA, is orchestrating a scheme to control the USA presidential election. Aaron Lake, a strongly pro-defense expenditure candidate has been identified and Maynard is determined to control him – and then get him elected.

A fantastic book totally recommendable; what I don’t understand is why this one has not been turned into a movie yet!


lawyer movies

Just a list of the best lawyer movies ever (not necessarily in this order, and not complete):

  • To kill a mocking bird
  • 12 angry men
  • Chicago
  • Anatomy of a murder
  • Philadelphia
  • Erin Brockovitch
  • Primal Fear
  • A few good men
  • My cousin Vinny
  • The firm
  • Presumed innocent

Which one is the best?

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once”

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once

Quote of  Charles Lamb  Read – Yes, I was a child once, and never thought I would be a lawyer. As a matter of fact I didn’t have any interest in law or anything to do with this. I studied to be an art teacher, I loved drawing and working with textile. As a matter of fact I still do.

Like happens often, I ended up a lawyer just by chance…