Spain: British expat questions enforcement of Covid passes
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After the UK left the EU Britons’ access to Spain changed in various ways, both for expats and those visiting the country. Since the Brexit transition period came to an end just over two years ago, UK travellers have only been permitted to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days at a time during any 180-day period. For longer stays, UK nationals require a visa or a residence permit issued by the host country.
Not only have travellers to Spain been affected by the new restrictions, but also those who own property in the coastal state.
Non-resident UK nationals with property which they use themselves are now required to pay the IRNR tax.
The Spanish name for the tax is the ‘Impuesto de la renta de no residentes, declaración ordinaria’.
This Spain-specific tax is charged at 24 percent for non-EU nationals and 19 percent for citizens from the bloc.
British councillor Bill Anderson, who moved to Spain nearly 20 years ago, told Express.co.uk that Spain’s restrictions on Britons post-Brexit may mean that British buyers will look elsewhere in Europe to snap up their dream home in the sun.
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Mr Anderson, a councillor for Spain’s PP party in Mijas on the Costa del Sol, suggested Cyprus and Malta could be more attractive to prospective real estate investors.
He said: “People are saying, ‘If I’ve got all these restrictions why buy in Spain.
“‘Portugal is giving tax breaks — I’ll buy in Cyprus, I’ll buy in Malta’.
“I think from that perspective there are going to be those in the future that may not invest in Spain.”
The councillor said he expected Britons, who have been expats in Spain for years, to remain in the country despite Brexit.
However, he said that other factors, such as increased financial pressure, may lead to a change in the demographic profile of Britons who choose to settle in the country.
He said: “I think many of those who are here have been here for many years.
“I think that unless there are health issues or they are missing their family too much or whatever, I think a lot of the Brits who are here and registered, will remain here.
“It partly depends on how their business goes because people are struggling in business, not because they’re Brits, but because businesses have been struggling over the last 18 months.
“I think if their businesses are not doing well, they might consider going back to the UK.
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“What we will see without a doubt is a change in the kind of profile of Brits that come to Spain in the future and buy in Spain in the future.”
Those who own property in Spain to rent out are also facing post-Brexit implications, now required to pay the EU’s non-resident income tax rate of 24 percent on their earnings from letting out their homes.
This is an increase on the 19 percent rate Britons were charged across the EU before Brexit.
British owners of property in Spain can no longer offset costs, such as cleaning and maintenance.
Mr Anderson added: “I think the profile of people that can now come and live in Spain has changed dramatically.
“Because we’re subject to the same rules as any third nation.
“I know a number of families over the last few years who have gone back they’ve worked very hard to try and earn a living down here.
“Especially on the Costa del Sol, where people think paying you €1,000 is a good salary, when it costs you €800 to rent an apartment.”
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