The Agencia Tributaria (Inland Revenue) is in charge of implementing the State tax system. Its website (http://www.agenciatributaria.es) is very detailed, can be consulted in English and has a specific section devoted to non-residents in Spain.56 The contact details are the following:
Tax Office (central office)
C/ Infanta Mercedes, 37 - 28020 Madrid (Spain) Tel.: (+34) 91 583 89 97
Basic tax information:
(+34) 901 33 55 33 / (+34) 91 554 87 70
There are two types of tax in the Spanish tax system:
- Direct taxation. Applied to income and assets:
- Personal income tax (IRP by its Spanish name).
- Non-residents’ income tax (IRNR by its Spanish name).
- Corporate tax (IS by its Spanish name).
- Inheritance and donations tax.
- Wealth tax.
- Indirect taxation. Levied on goods and services and the transfer of goods and rights in general:
- Value added tax (VAT, or IVA in Spanish).
- Special taxes (IIEE by its Spanish name).
- Insurance premiums tax.
- Wealth transfer tax (ITP by its Spanish name) and stamp duty.
Foreign researchers who come to Spain for a limited period of time will probably have to pay IRPF or IRNR (both income tax), depending on their residence status, VAT when making purchases, IIEE (special taxes) and, in rare cases, Wealth Tax, ITP (wealth transfer tax), etc.
Value Added Tax (VAT or IVA in Spanish) is an indirect consumer tax levied on three types of transactions: delivery of goods and provision of business or professional services, intra-community acquisition of goods and imports. The tax is applied to the end consumer and not the business owners and professionals, who are responsible for collecting the tax from their clients and depositing it in the Public Treasury with declarations submitted to the Agencia Tributaria (Spanish Inland Revenue).
In the first case, VAT is paid when acquiring any product or service. In the second case, VAT is applied to the entry of goods (excluding personal belongings) from one EU Member State to another. In the last case, it is applied when goods are imported from third countries.
There are three types of VAT59: general (21%), reduced (10%) and super-reduced (4%); the latter is applied to basic or primary need products. For more specific information on the goods and services included in each category, visit the FAQ section (INFORMA) of the Agencia Tributaria websit (http://www.agenciatributaria.es).
Special taxes are applied to the consumption of very specific goods: hydrocarbons (oil derivatives), coal, alcoholic beverages and tobacco. This category also includes the special tax on certain modes of transport, which applies to vehicle registration. Remember that all vehicles (cars, motorcycles, etc.), both new and second-hand, to be used by Spanish residents must be registered in Spain.
The taxes described above apply at the national level. However, there are also certain local taxes that are managed entirely by the municipal governments. The most significant are:
Property tax: Applied to the value of real estate property (houses, flats, apartments, etc.) and paid by the owners or property rights holders.
Motor vehicle tax: Replaces the former traffic tax and it applies to all motor vehicles used on public streets.
Waste disposal tax: Also known as the "rubbish tax", this is paid according to the type and size of housing, and is used to finance the waste collection service. Therefore, the higher the cost of the service (usually subcontracted), the higher the rate to be paid.