Spain has a highly attractive tax regime for workers, professionals, entrepreneurs and company administrators relocated to Spain. The legal basis is found in Article 93 of the Personal Income Tax Law (LIRPF), but over time this regime has come to be known as the "Beckham Law", because the famous English footballer David Beckham benefited from it when he signed for Real Madrid in the 2000s.

Then as now the intention of the legislator is to attract highly qualified people to Spain, although at first the requirements for the application of the special regime were tightened, to which for example since 2015 professional athletes are no longer eligible and it only applies to the first 600,000 € of income. Effective January 1, 2023, the scope of application of the special regime has been extended and the requirements for its application have been made more flexible.

Below is a list 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 be taxed by the Non-Resident Income Tax, that is to say at the fixed rate of 24% (47% from 600,000 euros), instead of by the Personal Income Tax (IRPF), maintaining the condition of IRPF taxpayer.

Who can apply for it?

Those who have not been tax resident in Spain during the 5 fiscal years prior to the year in which they move to Spanish territory can apply for the special regime, regardless of where else they have resided. Before 2023, the period was 10 years. The nationality of the applicant is irrelevant.

The relocation to Spanish territory must occur as a result of:

  • An employment contract, with exception of the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
  • The acquisition of the condition managing director of an entity regardless of its participation in the capital (except if it is a patrimonial entity, in which case the participation must be less than 25 %).
  • The performance of an entrepreneurial activity or
  • The provision of services to emerging companies as highly qualified professionals.

The last two cases have been introduced in 2023 and although, in general, they should be considered positively as they widen the circle of potential beneficiaries of the special regime, they entail a significant legal uncertainty, as they are subject to compliance with strict requirements and administrative formalities, in particular the obtaining of a favorable report from ENISA (Empresa Nacional de Innovación, S.A.).

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

Which employees can benefit from the special regime?

In principle, all employees, except professional athletes. However, the LIRPF suffers from a defective drafting and, after establishing the general principle that all those who move to Spain "as a consequence of an employment contract" can apply for the special regime, it introduces elements of uncertainty by specifying that this condition will be understood to be fulfilled in four cases:

  • Commencement of a new employment relationship with an employer in Spain.
  • Relocation to Spain ordered by the employer.
  • Relocation to Spain not ordered by the employer but teleworking from Spain ("when the labor activity is rendered at a distance, by means of the exclusive use of computer, telematic and telecommunication means and systems").
  • Holders of the visa for international teleworking.

Do relatives of the applicant benefit from the regime?

Yes, the spouse, the partner with common children and the children under 25 years of age of the beneficiaries, as well as dependent disabled persons of any age, can also benefit from the special regime under certain conditions. This is an important new feature introduced in 2023, the main requirement being that the sum of the net taxable income of the family members must be less than the net taxable income of the main beneficiary.

In any case, family members who meet the requirements set forth in the regulation have always been able and continue to be able to request the application of the special regime as the main beneficiary. The novelty is that since 2023, family members who do not meet the requirements can also benefit from the regime, with certain limitations.

What is the main tax advantage?

The main advantage lies in the tax rate applicable to earned income, which is fixed at 24% for income up to €600,000, and 47% for income above that amount. 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 the case of severance payments) or tax deductions.

Are the beneficiaries of the regime subject to Wealth Tax?

Yes, but only by real obligation, that is, limited to the assets and rights located or that can be exercised in Spain, and not by personal obligation, which is the own of the tax residents in Spain and covers the worldwide patrimony. Here you will find more information on Wealth Tax.

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

No. By doing so, they avoid informing the Spanish Tax Authorities about what their assets abroad are, an obligation that affects in general all persons tax resident in Spain, when they are holders of 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.

What is the duration of the regime?

The special regime can be enjoyed from the year of which it is granted and for the following 5 tax years.

What is the application deadline?

6 month 6 months from the beginning of the employment relationship in Spain (or the acceptance of the position of administrator), by means of form 149 of the State Agency of Tax Administration.

Which IRPF return must be filed by those who use the regime and within what period?

Form 151, whose filing deadline coincides with those of the rest of the IRPF 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 comprehensive advice on taxation and tax residence in Spain, including the rest of your family members. In particular, we inform you whether they are entitled to apply for the Beckham Law regime and we also take care of formalizing the application and filing the appropriate tax returns before, during and after the application of the regime.