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Couple beat aristocrat in row over 13th century tax

Alex Dunham · 21 Nov 2013, 11:22

Published: 21 Nov 2013 11:22 GMT+01:00

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Xus and Beatriz were left flabbergasted after a local marchioness opened a lawsuit against them, claiming they owed her €1,800 as part of a tax which has existed on the Balearic island for nearly 800 years.

The noblewoman demanded two percent of the €90,000 Beatriz had paid her brother-in-law when buying half of the property off him, alleging she had the right to claim that sum from any buying or selling on her land.

The couple, who have two children, decided to take the case into their own hands and found themselves trawling through ancient legal documents to fight the woman’s outdated claims.

They first found out that the noble family in question had already tried to slap the tax on Xus’s parents, who had bought the land in 1942 and built three houses.

But their research paid off, as the pair discovered that the demand for the levy, which originates from Roman law, expires five years after the buying or selling of a property on the given land.

Story continues below…

The marchioness had also been trying to get her cut of the house price when it should by law be that of the land.

A Palma judge ruled in the couple’s favour but they told Spanish newspaper 20 minutos the aristocrat was trying to claim her 2 percent on over 1,000 other properties.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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