Tax obligations for expat residents in Spain

If you live in Spain more than 183 days a year you are considered a Spanish Resident for tax purposes.

If this is so, you are obliged to declare all your income –regardless of the place where it is generated or paid – in Spain.

A wrong idea is often spread out among expat residents: “my pension is already taxed at home so I don’t need to serve any tax return in Spain”.

Nothing further from truth! The obligation is to pay income tax in the country of residency.

This matter is regulated in depth by DOUBLE TAXATION AGREEMENTS signed between Spain and different countries (United Kingdom, Ireland etc).

These agreements clearly establish that income tax must only be paid in the state of residence. With one exception: if the pension received is from local or central government (Armed Services, Police, Firemen, teachers…) it can only be taxed in the country of origin.

So are you going to pay twice on the same income? Not at all. Expats must submit an application for tax relief at source in the country of origin, or claim a repayment of any income tax paid in the country of origin. This form is called form FD9.

UK citizens can download it from

Irish citizens can download it from

In Spain, the fiscal year is the same as the calendar year and tax is paid in arrears. The income tax return campaign is from May to June and unlike in other countries, you must complete and serve your own tax returns.

It is very important you ask your solicitor to check if you are obliged to serve your income tax return or if your income is too low, in which case you might well be exempt.

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