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Do I have to do Spain's annual tax declaration if I arrived recently?

Conor Faulkner
Conor Faulkner - [email protected]
Do I have to do Spain's annual tax declaration if I arrived recently?
Knowing if you're liable to filing a Spanish tax return isn't always straightforward. Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

There’s less than a month left to file Spain’s annual tax return, so where do new arrivals stand regarding this? Are they already tax residents? What if they didn’t work in Spain last year and only arrived in 2024?

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The Spanish tax system can seem a little complicated at times. This is especially true if you've just arrived in the country and don't speak the language.

A common question among newcomers to Spain is whether or not you'll need to do an annual tax declaration if you recently arrived in the country.

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The Local has covered the tax declaration, known simply as la renta in Spanish, in considerable detail before. You can find our collection of tax articles here

But do you have to do Spain's annual tax declaration if you arrived recently?

The Local Spain spoke to lawyer Maryem Essadik, CEO of Spain-based Marfour International Law Firm, to find out more. 

Do people who have recently arrived in Spain have to file an income tax return?

“It depends on your status as a tax resident or non-resident in Spain, which will be determined based on the requirements provided for in Article 9 of Law 35/2006, of November 28, on Personal Income Tax (LIRPF). 

“If considered a tax resident, that person will be required to submit a Personal Income Tax return, provided that they obtain the minimum amounts to be required to submit it.”

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Spanish tax residence begins after 183 days in the country. Are there any circumstances in which a person who has recently arrived in Spain (less than 183 days) has to do it?

“If a person stays less than 183 days in Spain during the fiscal year, they will generally be considered a non-tax resident in Spain, and it must be taken into account that "sporadic absences" abroad could be part of said calculation, in accordance with Article 9 of the LIRPF. 

“Additionally, a person may be considered a tax resident in Spain (even if they do not remain in Spanish territory for more than 183 days during the fiscal year) if their base of activities or centre of economic interests is located in Spain, or when your family are considered tax residents in Spain, unless the opposite is duly proven.

“The person who is considered a non-tax resident will only pay tax in Spain on the Spanish-source income obtained during the corresponding fiscal year. 

“Your obligation to file an income tax return will depend on the type of income obtained and whether the payer has applied and paid the corresponding withholding/payment on account, to the extent that they are required to do so.”

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Keeping in mind that the 2024 Declaración de la Renta applies to the previous year, would they have to pay taxes in Spain for their 2023 income if for example they arrived in March 2024?

On the basis that in 2023 that person did not reside in Spain, in principle they would be considered a tax non-resident in said country. 

Therefore, as mentioned, they should only be taxed in Spain in 2023 if they obtain any income from a Spanish source.

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scott 2024/07/04 18:08
Hi - what i were to arrive in August 2024 to live full time? Would my first tax year be 2025? I wouldn't be required to file a tax return and pay taxes until July 2026 for the 2025 tax year?

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