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Who needs to file an income tax return in Spain in 2020-2021?

Who needs to file an income tax return in Spain in 2020-2021?
Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP
Now is the time to fill out Spain’s annual tax return - 'la declaración de la renta'. Here’s what you need to know about it, who needs to complete it and the key dates to watch out for.

The general rule is that anyone who lives in or stays in Spain for more than 182 days a year is considered to be a tax resident and must fill out the annual income tax form. The Spanish tax year is the same as the calendar year.

In more complex situations, where you split your time between several countries, or if you have property and/or business interests in other countries, there are international tax treaties, which state where you should be considered a resident and where you need to declare your income for tax purposes.

Anyone resident in Spain who earned €22,000 and over in 2020 must present an income tax return. 

All tax payers whose annual income is less than €22,000 will be exempt from filing a tax return, but only if your income only comes from a single source.

If you get your income from more than one client or job however, such as teachers working for different language schools or businesses or autónomos (self-employed), then you will still need to complete it, even if you have earned under €22,000.

There is also an exemption from filing if you only had a very small amount of income, of less than €1,500, and this must have already been taxed at source.

This exemption is meant to apply to income that has already been taxed. So, if someone has an untaxed foreign employment (e.g. occupational pension) income of less than €22,000, tax experts still advise that you file a Spanish tax return.

What are the key filing dates you need to know?

Generally, you will need to submit your tax return by June 30th, however, there are several other key dates that you should know, depending on if you want to present your declaration on the phone or in person. 

April 7th: The start of the 2020-2021 income campaign, when online presentations open.

May 4th: The date by which you can request an appointment to be attended by telephone.

May 6th: From this date, you can submit your tax return by phone.  

May 27th: The deadline by which you can request to submit your tax return in person.

June 2nd: From this date, you can submit your tax return in person.

June 25th: The deadline by which you must submit your tax return by, if you want to pay by direct debit.

June 30th: The end of the 2020-2021 income campaign.

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