Saturday, 30 April 2016

Britons Win £2.6 Million in Spanish Holiday Home Tax Fiasco

Britons Win £2.6 Million in Spanish Holiday Home Tax Fiasco

British people who bought Spanish holiday homes have been refunded at least €3.3 million (£2.6 million) in punitive taxes that should never have been charged to them in the first place.
Great news for any one purchasing a holiday home
The overcharging came as a result of Britons being overcharged Inheritance Tax and has led to millions of euros being refunded by the Spanish authorities.
The Barcelona based Spanish Legal Reclaims law firm is also managing a further €7 million worth of claims.
The CEO of Spanish Legal Reclaims says that anyone paid inheritance tax in the last five years are eligible to claim back the tax that they paid. He does warn that it is difficult to do this, however.
He also added that he expects at least €3 million more to be filed in the next few years as more claimants come forward and demand a refund.
There are other law firms who are getting in on the action and helping Britons win back their money after being unfairly charged inheritance tax. The situation is so bad that there are currently no official estimates on how much could be won back.
As Spain is the country where Brits usually buy holiday homes and second properties it’s been estimated that 100,000 people have overpaid a grand total of €300 million in inheritance tax.
Spanish authorities raised inheritance tax and levied it on lifetime gifts. Inheritance tax is paid when someone dies and leaves their home to their family or friends.
In several cases the inheritance tax came to a third of the value of the property and the person who inherited the house would have to pay this within six months of receiving the property.
On the other hand Spanish residents were exempt from up to 99 percent of inheritance tax and paid almost nothing.
It was decided by the European Court of Justice in 2014 that charging people from outside of the country, but still within the EU or a European Economic Area country, more than locals was discriminatory. As a result it demanded that these people should be paid back and even paid back with interest.
The average claim by non-residents is costing the Spanish authorities €30,000. This repayment is also not an automatic thing. Claimants have to file to receive one .
Mr Cuervo, CEO of Spanish Legal Reclaims, said that if a non-resident was charged inheritance tax since 2010 they are eligible to reclaim the tax in Spain. They would need the help of specialised lawyers however as it’s a complex thing to do. There is more than one form to fill in and you need all the help you can get.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Over Three Quarters of the Spanish Homes Sold to Brits Were Resales

Over Three Quarters of the Spanish Homes Sold to Brits Were Resales

While it is still early days for 2016 it looks like three trends hinted at by the end of 2015 are coming true.

The first, and the most encouraging, trend is that the Spanish property market is recovering. It looks like both house prices and the number of properties being sold is on the rise.

Costa del Sol will always be a firm favourite place to buy property 
The second trend is that buying resales properties especially in the Costa del Sol are outpacing new properties. Second hand homes are being sold at a much faster rate than new properties. The third trend that is likely linked to the other two is that British buyers are coming back.

Brits were the buyers in one fifth of homes sold to foreigners in 2015. Data has emerged from the Spanish Ministry of Public Works that reveals that 76% of the properties that were resales were bought by British nationals.

At one point British buyers were all over the new properties being built in Spain. After the economy began tumbled during the past decade this interest went down. Now that the economy is more confident the British buyers are coming back and the property market in general is recovering.

The data shows that while there is still some interest in the new build market, especially among Scandinavian and Belgian buyers, the interest is still mostly in the resale market. Just over 69,000 homes were sold in 2015 to foreign investors. This was rise of 13% over 2014.

The reason that people are buying Spanish property has also changed a little since the market started to fall a decade ago. These days most people purchasing a house are interested in a holiday home rather than seeking to rent it out and make an income.

As a result of this shift the renting market in Spain has fallen each month for the past 35 months.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Expats Find it Tough, But Worthwhile, To Integrate

Expats Find it Tough, But Worthwhile To Integrate

Everyone generally agrees that fully integrating in to Spain is tough for expats but the rewards for doing so are worth it. A recent study done by the insurance firm AXA PPP International has revealed the difficulties that expats are most likely to face, as well as some of the more surprising things an expat will experience in their new country.                                              

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The research shows that three quarters of expats said one of the hardest things to deal with was the culture shock, along with struggling to adapt to the new culture in their workplace, or starting a business and struggling with communication, and feeling constant pressure to prove they belong there.

Niels Barends is a psychologist who was quoted in the report as saying that living in a new country is similar to getting in to a new relationship. There is an initial honeymoon period that passes quickly and is replaced by annoyance at the small things that quickly become frustrating.

Expats commonly become frustrated at the things that are different from their home country. Cultural misunderstandings and other cultural problems, such as moving to a culture where the people are not as direct, is a common issue.

Barends is a Dutch man living in Slovenia who provided an example of how life in Slovenia is different. The people in Slovenia will not say “no” if they are asked to do something they don’t want to. The opposite is also a common problem; moving to a country where people are actually more direct and they leave you feeling offended. Other common problems are moving to a country where people aren’t such careful drivers and having less choice at the supermarket.

These are the most common gripes that millions of British expats have come across. While you may offer the advice of being prepared to deal with discomfort and frustrations, the evidence shows that you can move past these problems if you’re really committed to living a new life in a new country especially buying properties in inland Spain where English isn't spoken to widely, making you having to integrate faster than being on the coastal areas. 

Spain has a great climate and fantastic food that does help people assimilate faster. Just doing a little research and being prepared to compromise can help too.

You should talk to the locals to better understand the country and read up on your new country before going there. You also need to accept that you are the one who needs to change. They will not change for you, you need to change for them.

The research does show that expats will still have good days when they feel like they could assimilate any day. They will also still need their space though. It also helps to have people you can vent your frustrations to. 

It really helps to talk to fellow expats. They’ve been through the same things that you have and will be able to help you through them. They might even have some tips and tricks for getting through the rough times.

Living in areas where there are larger expat communities such as the Costa del Sol you will find plenty of Spanish language schools to help.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Spanish Economic Recovery Leads to Higher Wages

Spanish Economic Recovery Leads to Higher Wages

The Spanish Institute of National Statistics has released data that shows Spanish wages have risen by almost 2%. This is the first rise of this magnitude in over a decade.

The cost of living in Spain is stable and the average gross salary in the final quarter of 2014 was €2,026.14 per month. This was just under 2% higher than it was for the last quarter of 2014.

Wages are slowly increasing in Spain
This rise is the largest rise in wages seen since 2000 when this particular statistic was reported annually. When you add in the negative inflation which has pushed down the consumer price index by 0.8% it looks like Spanish workers have a 2% rise in their spending power.

Madrid is where the wages are currently the highest, followed by the Basque Country and Catalonia. Valencia is where wages are currently the lowest in Spain. There the wages are almost 700 euros less than in Madrid.
In terms of percentage rises the biggest wage rise happened in the Canaries. They experienced a 4.6% wage increase. The Castilla y Leon region saw the second highest with 2.7%.

The debt ratio for Spain also went below 99% in the final quarter of 2015 according to the Bank of Spain. This was a great indication that the plans to reduce public borrowing are working. There is still a large average debt load per head in the country but this is expected to fall during 2016.

The conclusion of this report confirms that Spain is recovering in all sectors especially in the property market where buying property in Spain has seen continual growth over the past year and looks like it will continually do so, not just from foreign buyers but by Spanish nationals buying property again in spain.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Spanish Property Selling at Fastest Rate in Five Years

Spanish Property Selling at Fastest Rate in Five Years
Spain is back as property sales are on the move

2015 saw over 400,000 homes sold in Spain. This was the most houses sold in a year since 2010 and an overall growth of 9.8% over 2014.

The Ministry of Development published data showing that there were 401,281 transactions in 2015. 114,000 of these transactions took place in the fourth quarter of the year suggesting that 2016 will be a strong year for the property market and may even see more records broken.

While this number is a lot less than the number from 2006, when an unsustainable 1,000,000 homes were sold, this is definitely a strong growth that should be more sustainable. The Spanish property market in the Costa del Sol is definitely on the road to recovery after the global economic crisis.

The signs show that, despite the political troubles Spain is going through, the property market should grow even more and experience a distinct shift in nature. In 2006 roughly half of the homes that were sold were second hand homes. However in the last quarter of 2015 this figure was almost 88%. This suggests that the market is stabilising organically rather than because we’re seeing more homes built on the backs of credit.

There are currently more new homes in Spain than the country needs, even after the three year slump between 2007 and 2010 when barely any new property was built. This reveals that the market is likely full of new property that won’t be sold, but has a healthy mix of supply and demand for resold properties.

This is one of the best signs of a healthy property market that is ready to grow at a steady pace and now is the time to buy property in the Costa del Sol.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Spanish Workers Keen to Stay in Home Country While Looking for a Job

Spanish Workers Keen to Stay in Home Country While Looking for a Job

Spanish workers just love Spain

Despite the love affair that British and northern Europeans have with Spain, from the climate and property, to the food and beaches in Spain, one thing the Spanish have that Brits aren’t interested in is unemployment.

The Spanish economy has been struggling lately which hasn’t helped people find and keep their jobs. It also means that wages are not on the increase like they are in other countries in Northern Europe.

As a result you’d be hard pressed to find a Brit who was eager to move to Spain to find a job. Recent studies have shown that Brits are not willing to move anywhere in order to find work and would rather stay at home.

The study discovered that 98.52% of Brits said they expected their next job would be in the UK. This was the highest percentage of any nationality from the EU.

The poll was of the EU15, or the 15 strongest economies in the European Union. It showed that the UK was also the most desirable country for people looking to find work outside of their own country. Just over a third of people polled said if they were to work abroad they would want to work in the UK.

One of the reasons that the UK is such a favourable destination is undoubtedly that most Europeans who are of working age are able to speak English as a second language. The UK also has more relaxed labour laws and higher wages when compared to the rest of the EU.

Economist Mariano Mamertino of Indeed concluded that the average Brit is far less likely to want to work in Europe than the average European wants to work in Britain. The nationalities that expressed the most interest in working in Britain were the Irish (12.7%) the Greeks (9.5%), and the Danes (7.1). In fact the Britons that said they wouldn’t mind working abroad would rather leave Europe altogether and work in the United States or India.

When you consider there are currently millions of Brits living in Spain it becomes clear that those most likely to become an expat are people aged over 45 who have enough financial stability to not work again and become a resident of Spain.

Spain still scored high in terms of people who want to stay and find work in their own country however. Over 93% of Spaniards who were polled said they would want to work in Spain, a figure that was only beaten by the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. It did place them above Finland and Sweden though.

The good news for all these Spaniards wanting to stay is that the Spanish job market is improving. 58,000 jobs were created in Spain which reduced the Spanish unemployment figure to 4.09 million. This is the lowest unemployment has been in over six years.

As the economy slowly recovers Spain is still one of the healthiest places to live in the world with an average temperature over 20C, no wonder the Spanish enjoy their own country and don’t look to leave as the cost of living in Spain is excellent.