Introduction of the new temporary solidarity tax on big fortunes
Law 38/2022 of 27 December 2002 introduced in Spain a new temporary solidarity tax on large fortunes.
This is a complementary tax to wealth Tax that applies to taxpayers with a net wealth of more than 3 million euros, although it will only have practical effects in those communities that have decided not to levy wealth Tax.
- Where and for which period will the solidarity tax be applied?
- For what reason and with what aim is the solidarity tax introduced?
- Who is taxed with the solidarity tax?
- How is the solidarity tax calculated?
- What is the procedure for the solidarity tax?
- Is the wealth tax affected by any novelty introduced in the solidarity tax act?
The tax will be applied throughout Spain, with no transfer to the Autonomous Communities, and double taxation by wealth tax will be avoided. Spain is the only EU Member State that levies a tax on large fortunes (in Switzerland and Norway, non-EU countries, there is also a wealth tax).
The tax will initially apply for a limited period of two years, i.e. in 2022 and 2023. However, a review clause is introduced at the end of its validity in order to assess whether it should be maintained or abolished.
The objective of the creation of the solidarity tax is, according to the explanatory memorandum of the law, to generate revenue in the public coffers to support the needy and to provide subsidies to those affected by the current energy crisis, i.e. the sharp rise in energy and gas prices, but also in inflation. The state expects the wealth tax to generate tax revenues of more than 3 billion euros in two years.
Another reason with a purely political-territorial content is the declared desire of the parliamentary majority supporting the government to harmonise wealth taxation at the national level. The solidarity tax aims to reduce the different taxation of wealth in the Autonomous Communities, as they have established disparate deductions and allowances (for example, in Asturias, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria and Murcia) and, above all, because some Communities have introduced a 100% reduction (the Community of Madrid in 2008 and Andalusia in 2022), which generates "tax competition" between territories.
The solidarity tax applies to individuals who are tax residents in Spain and also on a limited basis to individuals who do not have their habitual residence in Spain and are therefore not tax residents, but own real assets in Spain, i.e. real estate, shares or other rights with a net worth of more than 3 million euros.
The rules for determining the taxable base and exemptions of the wealth tax, which it complements, will apply to the new tax. For the calculation of the taxable base, a reduction of 700,000 euros is applied for the calculation of the taxable base in the case of personal liability. This minimum exemption will not apply to those who are taxed under a real obligation (non-residents). It will be taxed on a progressive scale with three tax rates up to 3.5%.
It will be possible to deduct the amount paid for wealth tax from the amount accrued for solidarity tax, in addition to applying the double taxation deduction for assets already taxed abroad insofar as there is a personal tax liability.
In relation to income tax, a new threshold for the payment of the solidarity tax has been established: In case the sum of the three taxes (wealth tax, solidarity tax and personal income tax) exceeds 60% of the taxable income tax base, the solidarity tax will be reduced by 80%.
The tax is due on 31 December of each year and is payable by means of a self-assessment tax return, which must be submitted when the tax liability is payable. Taxpayers who pay tax directly to the State because the wealth tax yield has not been transferred to any autonomous community (i.e. non-residents) will not be obliged to file a tax return, unless the amount of this tax is payable.
In relation to wealth tax and, therefore, also affecting the new solidarity tax, a modification is introduced that affects the taxation of non-residents, who pay this tax by real obligation, i.e. for the assets and rights they own when they are located, can be exercised or must be fulfilled in Spanish territory: For these purposes, securities representing the participation in the equity of entities, not traded on organised markets, at least 50% of whose assets are directly or indirectly made up of real estate located in Spanish territory, will be deemed to be located in Spanish territory. The aim of this measure is to ensure that non-residents cannot easily avoid wealth tax (or tax on large fortunes) by holding real estate through companies.
The introduction of a "complementary" wealth tax at the state level will reduce the differences in taxation between regions and raise considerable amounts. However, the tax raises serious doubts about its constitutional fit, as it is a replica of another tax ceded to the Autonomous Communities, the wealth tax, which is why it is expected to be heavily litigated and a decision by the Constitutional Court is expected.
Autor: Fernando Lozano
Autor: Claudia Cascant