Spain has a highly attractive tax regime for employees posted to Spain for work purposes. Although the legal basis is to be found in Article 93 of the Personal Income Tax Law (LIRPF), over time this regime has come to be known as the "Beckham-Law", after the famous English footballer David Beckham benefited from it when he signed for Real Madrid in the 2000s.

Then, as now, the legislator's intention was to attract highly qualified workers to Spain, although over time the requirements for applying the special regime have been tightened, and professional athletes (such as football players), for example, are no longer eligible.

Here is a catalogue of questions and answers about the Beckham-Law:

Content overview

What does the Beckham-Law consist of?

The special regime of art. 93 LIRPF consists of the option to pay taxes on income from work under the Non-Resident Income Tax, i.e. at the fixed rate of 24% (47% from 600,000 €), instead of the Personal Income Tax (IRPF), while maintaining the status of IRPF taxpayer.

Who can apply?

Anyone who has not been a tax resident in Spain during the 10 tax years prior to the year in which he/she moves to Spanish territory can apply for the special regime, regardless of where else they have been resident. The nationality of the applicant is irrelevant.

The move to Spanish territory must take place as a result of:

  • An employment contract, except for the special employment relationship of professional sportspersons.
  • Acquisition of the status of director of an entity in whose capital he/she does not have a shareholding or with which the director is not linked within the meaning of the Corporate Income Tax Act (currently: when the shareholding in the capital is less than 25%).

In addition, the applicant must not obtain income that would qualify as being obtained through a permanent establishment located in Spanish territory.

Do the applicant's family members benefit from the regime?

No, the regime only applies to the individual applicant. However, the applicant's spouse and other family members can also apply if they meet the requirements.

What is the main tax advantage?

The main advantage lies in the tax rate applicable to earned income, which is a flat rate of 24% for income up to €600,000 and 47% for income above €600,000. As a general rule, the regime is attractive when income from work exceeds €60,000 per year, at which point the effective personal income tax rate exceeds 24%.

What is the main tax disadvantage?

The special regime does not allow the deduction of expenses or the application of other tax benefits, such as exemptions (in particular in case of severance payments) or tax deductions.

Are the beneficiaries of the regime subject to wealth tax?

Yes, but only via obligation in rem, i.e. limited to assets and rights situated or which can be exercised in Spain, and not via personal obligation, which is specific to tax residents in Spain and covers worldwide wealth. Here you will find more information on Wealth Tax.

Are the beneficiaries of the regime obliged to file form 720?

No. Like this, they avoid informing the Spanish Treasury about their assets abroad, an obligation that generally affects all persons resident for tax purposes in Spain, when they hold assets or rights located abroad whose value exceeds €50,000 in one or more of the following categories: real estate, bank accounts, securities or insurance and cryptocurrencies. Here you will find more information about the 720 tax form.

How long does the regime last?

The special scheme can be applied from the year for which it is granted and for the following 5 tax years.

What is the application period?

6 months from the start of the employment relationship in Spain (or acceptance of the position of director), by means of form 149 of the State Tax Administration Agency (Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria).

Which income tax return must be filed by those who apply for the regime and by what deadline?

Form 151, whose filing deadline coincides with those of the rest of personal income taxpayers (as a general rule, from April to June of the following year).

Are there any special rules regarding Inheritance and Gift Tax?

No. This means that the beneficiaries of the Beckham Law are taxed in Spain by personal obligation for all assets and rights acquired by inheritance or donation, anywhere in the world, as long as they are tax residents in Spain.

At Lozano Schindhelm we provide you with tax advice on tax residence in Spain, including the rest of your family members. In particular, we will inform you as to whether you are entitled to apply for the Beckham-Law regime and we will also take care of formalising the application and filing the appropriate tax returns before, during and after the application of the regime.

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