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Taxes For Members

What is Spain’s IBI tax and how do I pay it?

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What is Spain’s IBI tax and how do I pay it?
Depending on where in Spain you live, you'll need to pay your IBI tax either to the ayuntamiento (town hall) or SUMA. As this tax is a local matter, exactly how (and when) to pay the IBI depends on where you are. Photo: Pixabay.

How much IBI tax you pay depends on where in Spain you live and the value of your property. Here's everything you need to know about the tax and how to pay it.

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What is IBI?

IBI stands for Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles in Spanish, which translates to tax on property goods, but it also goes by the name SUMA depending on where exactly in Spain you live.

It’s effectively a local property tax that has to be paid once a year by all property owners in Spain, and it serves as a benchmark to calculate all other Spanish property-related taxes.

The IBI amount is decided by the town hall in which your property is located, and there can be big differences between municipalities. For example, in Málaga there’s a difference of hundreds of euros between what homeowners in the municipalities of Torremolinos, Cártama and Rincón have to cough up on average in IBI tax and what those who are based in Málaga city have to pay (based on a property worth €80,000).

READ ALSO - EXPLAINED: How to pay less Spanish IBI property tax

According to a report by Spain's main consumer watchdog, the OCD, in 2023 Lleida, Tarragona and Girona are the municipalities with the highest IBI, while San Sebastián, Bilbao and Vitoria have the cheapest IBI rates.

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How is the IBI calculated?

IBI or SUMA is calculated as a percentage of the cadastral value of the property, an amount that is recorded at the local land registry. Catastro and catastral are words you’ll come across a lot if you own a property in Spain – they essentially refer to the land registry or records office which has information about your property and all others in your municipality in Spain.

By law, IBI tax on urban properties must be between 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent of the value of the property, although it can be up to 1.3 percent in provincial capitals with more services and amenities. For rural properties, the IBI amount is often slightly higher than urban properties, usually because they are bigger and have more land.

READ ALSO - Spanish mortgages: Ten things foreigners should know before getting one

The valor catastral (land registry value) of a property is determined by its location, size, the value of the land, the land’s urban characteristics, the material cost of the building and its age, among other factors.

Spanish property website Fotocasa also has a tool that allows you to estimate your IBI tax bill, which you can find here.

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How do I pay?

Depending on where in Spain you live, you'll need to pay your IBI tax directly to either to the ayuntamiento (town hall) or SUMA. As this tax is a local matter, exactly how (and when) to pay the IBI depends on where you are.

If you live in an area where SUMA collects the IBI, you can pay it on their website with information from the bill you should receive, and you can also pay in a SUMA office or by phone.

If you live in an area where the town hall handles the IBI, you'll typically receive a letter or bill from your ayuntamiento or town hall letting you know how much you have to pay and the deadline to pay it by. 

There should be instructions on how to pay it on the letter, otherwise, you will need to contact your local ayuntamiento or check their website. You should be able to find all the information there, including the payment period (and potential fines for late payment) in your local area, as this varies, as well as how exactly to pay. Usually, this is through a direct card payment to the town hall website, after identifying yourself with your digital certificate or Cl@ve password.

Many town halls also allow you to split the payment up and pay in instalments of two, six, nine, or twelve separate payments if you wish.

If you are wondering if there's a way to pay less IBI tax, read about the circumstances in which you could potentially get a discount here.

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