Taxes When Purchasing Real Estate in Spain

Taxes When Purchasing Real Estate in Spain

Last update: February 12, 2024

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Spain, with its picturesque landscapes and pleasant climate, has become a prime destination for real estate acquisition, especially for primary residences. This article aims to enlighten foreign and French buyers eager to embark on the process of purchasing property in Spanish territory, with a special emphasis on real estate taxation and related taxes.

Understanding notary fees, attorney fees, and tax expenses associated with buying real estate in Spain is essential. While real estate agencies offer useful services, it’s important to consider transfer taxes, property registration fees, and various types of taxes that may apply based on the buyer’s tax residency and the nature of the property.

Quick Overview of Real Estate Purchase Costs in Spain

Old house in spain

For second hand properties

Property Transfer Tax (Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales – ITP):

Between 6% and 10% of the purchase price depending on the autonomous community

Notary fees:

Approximately 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price

Property Registration fees:

Approximately 0.4% to 0.7% of the property purchase price

Legal fees:

Approximately 1% to 2% of the purchase price

Modern house in Spain

For new properties

VAT (IVA):

Approximately 10% of the purchase price

Documented Legal Acts (AJD – Actos Jurídicos Documentados):

Generally 0.5% to 1.5%

Notary fees:

Approximately 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price

Property Registration fees:

About 0.4% to 0.7% of the property purchase price

Legal fees:

Approximately 1% to 2% of the purchase price

Overview of the Spanish Real Estate Market

The Spanish real estate market offers a diverse range of properties, from city apartments to seaside villas. Buyers must understand that notary fees and purchase taxes can significantly vary by Autonomous Community. For instance, acquiring a primary residence in the Valencian Community might involve different tax rates and fiscal fees than in the Canary Islands or other regions.

Key Taxes to Know

Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP)

Payable if buying a second-hand property only

The Property Transfer Tax, more commonly known by its acronym ITP, is a crucial tax in the context of real estate purchases in Spain, especially for second-hand properties. This tax represents a percentage of the property’s purchase price and varies depending on the Autonomous Community where the property is located. For example, when purchasing a residence in the Valencian Community, buyers can expect a specific tax rate that differs from other regions like Andalusia or Catalonia.

The ITP is generally the main acquisition cost for buyers of existing real estate and can range between 6% and 10% of the sale price, according to the general rule applied in each autonomous community. It is important for buyers to budget for this tax when developing their financial plan for the property purchase. The management and payment of the ITP are often facilitated by a real estate lawyer or a real estate advisor who can also help understand the nuances of this tax and ensure a correct declaration to the tax administration.

Autonomous Community ITP Amount
Andalusia 8%
Aragon 8%
Asturias 8%
Cantabria 10%
Castile and León 8%
Castilla-La Mancha 9%
Catalonia 10%
Ceuta 6%
Extremadura 8%
Galicia 10%
Balearic Islands 8%
Canary Islands 6.5%
La Rioja 7%
Madrid 6%
Melilla 6%
Murcia 8%
Navarre 6%
Basque Country 4%
Valencia 10%
Beautiful seaview in Calpe

Documented Legal Acts (Actos Jurídicos Documentados – AJD)

Payable if you are purchasing new property only

The AJD, or “Documented Legal Acts,” represents a crucial aspect of the tax expenses related to the purchase of new real estate in Spain. This tax is specifically applied to legal documents that formalize certain transactions, such as contracts for the purchase of new properties and the associated notarial deeds. The AJD acts as a sort of stamp duty that is applied in addition to VAT on transactions involving new properties.

The AJD rate varies according to the Autonomous Community where the transaction takes place, reflecting the decentralized nature of the Spanish tax system. Generally, AJD rates can range from 0.5% to 1.5% of the property’s purchase price.

Here is a table summarizing the different rates applied in each autonomous community:

Autonomous Community AJD
Andalusia 1.2%
Aragon 1.5%
Asturias 1.2%
Cantabria 1.5%
Castile and León 1.5%
Castilla-La Mancha 1.5%
Catalonia 1.5%
Ceuta 0.5%
Extremadura 1.5%
Galicia 1.5%
Balearic Islands 1.2%
Canary Islands 0.75%
La Rioja 1%
Madrid 0.75%
Melilla 0.5%
Murcia 1.5%
Navarre 0.5%
Basque Country 0.0%
Valencia 1.5%

For new properties, adding the AJD (Documented Legal Acts) to the acquisition costs increases the overall cost of the purchase. The AJD, although less known than other taxes such as the ITP (Property Transfer Tax) or VAT, represents a significant cost in the purchasing process and must be considered during financial planning.

Buildings in Malaga

Value Added Tax (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido – IVA)

Payable if you are purchasing new only

The VAT, or IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido) in Spanish, is an important tax to consider when buying new properties in Spain. Unlike the Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP) which applies to resale properties, VAT is imposed on transactions of new real estate directly purchased from a developer or builder. This VAT rate is a fixed rate applied nationally, regardless of the Autonomous Community where the property is located.

For buyers of new homes or new properties, the VAT rate in Spain is generally set at 10% of the purchase price. There are exceptions, such as for certain properties located in the Canary Islands, where a reduced VAT rate may be applied. It is essential for buyers, especially Spanish residents and foreign buyers, to consider this tax in their overall property acquisition budget.

For the majority of Spanish regions, the standard VAT rate is set at 10%. This rate applies to regions such as Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Cantabria, Castile and León, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Ceuta, Extremadura, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia, Navarre, the Basque Country, and the Valencian Community.


A notable exception is the Canary Islands, where the VAT rate is reduced to 7% due to their special tax regime.

VAT is often seen as an additional acquisition cost, but it is inevitable in the context of buying a new property. Accounting for it is essential for an accurate assessment of the total cost of the real estate investment. Understanding the calculation method and implications of VAT is crucial, and working with a tax lawyer or experienced real estate hunter can help navigate these aspects of Spanish real estate law.

Property Tax (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles – IBI)

Payable annually

The IBI, or Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles, is the equivalent of property tax in Spain and represents a crucial financial consideration for all real estate owners. This annual tax is levied by local municipalities and applies to all types of real estate, whether residences, commercial premises, or land.

The amount of the IBI is based on the cadastral value of the property, which is generally lower than the purchase price or market value. The cadastral value is assessed by local authorities and can be periodically revised. The tax rate applied to this base varies by municipality and can range from 0.4% to 1.1% of the cadastral value, depending on the services provided and the financial needs of the municipality.

The IBI is a recurring cost that owners must budget for annually. For Spanish residents, paying the IBI is often an annual routine, while for foreign buyers, understanding this recurring cost is important when assessing rental income and expenses related to their real estate investment in Spain. Failure to pay the IBI can result in penalties and, in extreme cases, liens on the property.

In summary, the IBI is a key element of real estate taxation in Spain and must be considered by all owners, both local and international, in their tax filings and overall budget planning.

Bank of Madrid

Municipal Capital Gain Tax

Payable if you resell your property

The “Municipal Capital Gain Tax,” officially known as “Impuesto sobre el Incremento de Valor de los Terrenos de Naturaleza Urbana” (IIVTNU), is a municipal tax applied in Spain upon the transfer of property. This tax is levied on the increase in value of the land on which the property is located, from the time of purchase to the time of sale.

The calculation of the Municipal Capital Gain Tax depends on several factors: the duration of ownership, the location of the property, and the increase in the cadastral value of the land during this period. The tax base for this tax is determined by the cadastral value of the land at the time of sale, and the tax rate applied is set by the concerned municipality, taking into account the duration of ownership. This rate can vary significantly between different municipalities and is generally higher in major cities and areas with high real estate growth.

It is crucial for sellers of real estate in Spain to consider this tax when planning their sale. The Municipal Capital Gain Tax can represent a significant cost, especially in cases where the property has been held for many years and the value of the land has significantly increased.

In summary, the Municipal Capital Gain Tax is an important aspect of real estate taxation in Spain, particularly for those considering selling a property. A good understanding of this tax and its impact on rental income and real estate transactions is essential for effective financial planning.

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Other Associated Fees and Taxes

Notary

Notary and Registration Fees

Notary fees in Spain are an essential component of real estate transactions, whether for buying or selling property. These fees are regulated by the government and vary according to the purchase price of the property. Generally, notary fees represent about 0.5% to 1% of the sale price. However, this percentage may be slightly higher for lower-value properties due to set minimum fees.

The notary in Spain plays an important but limited role in the real estate purchase process. They verify the identity of the parties and ensure that the property is correctly registered but do not participate in preliminary checks such as searching for mortgages or liens. For comprehensive handling, including these aspects, the assistance of a real estate lawyer or a property hunter is recommended, as they conduct the necessary audits and provide complete support, from property search to transaction completion.

In addition to notary fees, buyers must also consider the registration fees of the sale deed in the Property Registry. Although these fees are generally lower than notary fees, they are nonetheless important to ensure a transaction is legal and secure.

In conclusion, notary fees are an integral part of any real estate purchase process in Spain and should be considered in the total cost calculation of the acquisition. Consulting a property hunter or a real estate lawyer for an accurate estimate of these fees is advised as part of your transaction.

Legal team checking paper

Legal Fees

Legal fees are a significant part of the expenses during a real estate purchase in Spain. These fees cover the services of a lawyer or legal advisor who assists the buyer throughout the acquisition process. Typically, legal fees in Spain vary between 1% and 2% of the property purchase price, although this percentage can increase depending on the transaction’s complexity.

The involvement of a lawyer specialized in real estate law is crucial for several reasons. First, they ensure the legality of the property, including checking for any liens, mortgages, or restrictions. Additionally, the lawyer ensures that all tax obligations, such as the Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP) or VAT (IVA), are properly handled. For foreign buyers, having a lawyer who is well-versed in Spanish real estate law is particularly important for navigating the legal and tax complexities of the purchasing process. For more information, see our article on “Legal Checks When Purchasing Real Estate in Spain.”

Moreover, the lawyer plays a crucial role in preparing and reviewing the necessary legal documents, including the preliminary sale contract and the final deed of sale. They also represent the buyer in negotiations with the seller and, if necessary, with the real estate agency. For owners considering renting out their property, the lawyer can also provide advice on rental income and related tax obligations.

Choosing a lawyer in Spain is essential to avoid risks associated with a less regulated real estate market, such as inheriting unexpected liens on a property. In addition to conducting essential legal checks, the integrated legal service of a property hunter proves to be an effective alternative, offering peace of mind during the purchase. This service is especially vital since Spanish notaries require understanding of Spanish to sign documents, making the presence of a hunter or lawyer indispensable to avoid translation fees and ensure full understanding of the transaction.

Real Estate Agency Fees

Real estate agency fees are a key aspect of the total cost of a real estate transaction in Spain, whether for purchasing or selling a property. Generally, these fees range between 3% and 6% of the property’s purchase price.

Working with a real estate agency or a property hunter, buyers benefit from expertise and knowledge of the local market, which can be particularly useful for foreign buyers unfamiliar with real estate law. Agents can also provide valuable advice on areas, property types, and help navigate the purchasing process, including liaising with notaries, lawyers, and other professionals.

In conclusion, although real estate agency fees represent an additional cost in the property purchasing process in Spain, they can offer significant value in terms of convenience, security, and professional expertise, facilitating a smoother and more secure transaction.

Tips for Foreign Buyers

Purchasing real estate in Spain as a foreign buyer can be complex, especially due to regional differences in taxation and legislation. Here are some essential tips:

Learn About Regional Specificities

Laws, taxes, and real estate agency fees can vary from one autonomous community to another. A clear understanding of these variations is crucial.

Complete Financial Planning

Consider all associated costs, including notary fees, legal fees, and taxes. A well-planned budget is the key to a successful purchase.

Choose an Agency or Property Hunter with Legal Assistance

An agency or property hunter service is particularly beneficial because they include legal assistance. This means that real estate law experts will be at your disposal to:

  • Review and prepare legal documents, ensuring compliance with local laws.
  • Offer advice on Spanish taxes and the best way to structure your purchase.
  • Help navigate the complexities of the purchasing process, from selecting the property to finalizing the transaction.
  • Property Visits and Evaluations: Physical visits are ideal, but if not possible, a property hunter can provide detailed virtual tours and objective evaluations.
  • Think Long Term: Consider factors such as long-term value, rental income potential, and ease of resale when purchasing a property in Spain.

By leveraging a property hunter service that includes not only local property expertise but also comprehensive legal assistance, foreign buyers can enjoy a smoother, secure, and compliant purchasing experience. This integrated approach ensures that all aspects of your purchase are professionally managed, allowing you to invest in Spain with confidence.

Conclusion

Purchasing a property in Spain requires a clear understanding of associated taxes and fees, including the Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales, VAT, IBI, and Municipal Capital Gain Tax. Buyers must also take into account notary and legal fees for comprehensive financial planning. Guidance from experienced professionals is essential to effectively navigate the purchasing process and ensure a safe and advantageous transaction. Adequate preparation and wise counsel are key to turning real estate purchase in Spain into a rewarding and successful experience.

FAQs

  1. What are the main taxes to know about when purchasing real estate in Spain?
    The main taxes include the Property Transfer Tax (ITP) for second-hand goods, VAT (IVA) and Documented Legal Act (AJD) for new properties, as well as the Property Tax (IBI) and Municipal Capital Gain Tax.
  2. What is the Property Transfer Tax (ITP)?
    The ITP is a tax applied to transactions of second-hand properties in Spain, varying between 6% and 10% of the purchase price depending on the autonomous community.
  3. How is VAT (IVA) calculated for new properties in Spain?
    The VAT on new properties in Spain is generally 10%, applicable to the purchase price of the property directly bought from a developer or builder.
  4. What are the other fees and taxes associated with real estate purchases in Spain?
    In addition to the main taxes, buyers must also consider notary and registration fees, legal fees, and real estate agency fees.
  5. What advice is offered to foreign buyers interested in purchasing real estate in Spain?
    It is advised to learn about regional specifics, plan comprehensive financial planning, and choose an agency or property hunter with legal assistance for a secure and compliant purchasing experience.
Beny Brand
Beny Brand

Real Estate Hunter

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