Gutiérrez Pujadas & Partners

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impatriados

According to the article in elEconomista.es, individuals who benefit from the so-called “Beckham Law” in Spain, mostly foreigners, experience an average annual tax saving of 13,600 euros. This special tax regime for impatriates allows those who have not resided in Spain in the last five years, under certain conditions, to be taxed through the Non-Resident Income Tax (IRNR) instead of Personal Income Tax (IRPF). The main advantage lies in a flat rate of 24% for earned income, unless it exceeds 600,000 euros, in which case the excess is taxed at 47%.

Currently, around 10,000 impatriate taxpayers benefit from this system in Spain, which implies a loss of revenue for the Treasury of approximately 134 million euros per year, according to a report by the European Union Tax Observatory entitled ‘Global Tax Avoidance 2024’.

Despite this, the same report reveals that, among the fifteen European countries with the most favourable tax regimes for foreign residents, Spain ranks tenth in terms of the average annual tax savings obtained by taxpayers under these systems. Countries such as Greece, where non-resident workers can save up to 156,900 euros a year in taxes, Italy with an average saving of 128,000 euros, and Portugal, where foreigners save 32,600 euros a year in taxes, outperform Spain in this respect.

Interestingly, Portugal recently announced the elimination of tax exemptions for foreigners, similar to Spain’s Beckham Law, from March due to the housing crisis in the country. The Portuguese regime, established in 2009, allowed workers’ income to be taxed at 20%, with exemptions for foreign sources, and applied allowances to dividends or real estate. The elimination of these exemptions will result in a loss of revenue of 7.5 billion euros per year for the Portuguese government, while taxpayers will save 34,300 euros.

Returning to the Spanish regime, the Beckham Law enables taxpayers to be taxed only on income generated in Spain, excluding earned income. Although beneficiaries are subject to Wealth Tax and Major Wealth Tax, they are only taxed on assets located in Spanish territory. Despite its name, this law corresponds to the special regime for impatriates established in Article 93 of the Personal Income Tax Law. Eligibility requirements include not having been resident in Spain in the last five years, moving due to an employment contract or as a result of being appointed as a director of an entity, and carrying out an economic activity qualified as entrepreneurial or being a highly qualified professional.

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