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Law

This page is aimed to give you tips on buying a property in Spain, so helping you to avoid possible pitfalls. Once you have found your property a small reservation fee will be required in the region of 1.000 to 6.000 Euros, which is given to the Real Estate Agent to take the property off the market.

Drones are an increasingly popular means of monitoring and capturing landscapes for photographic and surveillance purposes throughout Andalucia - spectacular scenery such as beaches, cityscapes, mountains, and rolling countryside filmed from 100 metres up in the air creates stunning bird's-eye visual images.

Ever mindful of the need to address items of current concern as well as the perennial 'chestnuts' of taxation, employment law and the sale and purchase of property, author David Searl gives in this edition a range of valuable tips to counter the recession in which we are all presently embroiled.

A little forethought and planning can ensure that your heirs don't have to suffer through complicated legal procedures should you die in Spain. Thinking ahead can also ensure that, should your spouse die, you are not left with disastrously high tax bills.

There are two types of rentals in Spain: short term and long term. Short term rentals are basically designed for holiday makers and come with contracts headed by the phrase "Por Temporada", which translates literally as "seasonal". Long term rentals contracts are headed by the word "Vivienda", which means "home" or "residence" and are designed for those planning to stay long term in this country.

Wealth tax in Spain (Impuesto Extraordinario sobre el Patrimonio) was scrapped in 2008 by Zapatero´s government. However, in September 2011 it was reintroduced, this was the last legislative measure taken by the socialist government before the election on the 20th November 2011. It is hoped that the tax will help to reduce the deficit.

As little as twenty years ago, tax evasion was a way of life in Spain and almost encouraged. Not any more! During the last decade, Spanish taxes have increased dramatically, particularly income tax. Although overall taxation remains reasonably low and is still less than the EU average, the gap is closing fast.

You should make a Spanish will to dispose of your Spanish assets to avoid time consuming legal problems for your heirs. To make a Spanish version of your will, it is a good idea to consult a Spanish lawyer or other specialised professional. He or she can advise you regarding this country's strict rules applying to inheritance. Spaniards are subjected to laws governing compulsory heirs.

The Spanish Tax year runs from 1st January to 31st December and Spanish residents have to pay income tax (Impuestos sobre personas fisicas) on their worldwide earnings when they complete a declaration (Declaración de la Renta) during May or June the following year.

Divorce has been legal in Spain since shortly after the country became a democracy, but that doesn’t mean it ever became an easy path for a troubled marriage to take. In fact, even today, divorce is so expensive and such a legal hassle, that there are still unhappy couples who continue to co-exist under the same roof even though they would rather separate.

Two bills were passed by the Spanish parliament and took effect on January the 1st, 2007: the Income Tax Act and the Tax Fraud Prevention Act, both of which will affect non-residents owning or intending to buy a holiday property in Spain.

If you are buying property in Spain, investing or starting a business, or making a will (among other reasons), you should definitely employ the services of an experienced lawyer. You will find that fees are generally lower than those charged by lawyers in northern European countries and when preparing contracts involving a sum of money, (ie property purchase), fees are calculated as a percentage of the sum involved.

If you are living, working or running a business, club, association, community or any other organisation in Andalucia, you are advised to understand data protection law as it applies to you. “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” according to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

In Spain, it is possible to arrange civil and religious marriages between foreigners or a foreigner and a Spanish national provided you do your paperwork first. In addition, the Spanish government is working on agreements with major non-Catholic faiths in terms of accepting their religious marriage ceremonies.

If you are residente in Spain – basically, those who spend more than 183 days a year here, or whose business is based here (if in doubt, check with your asesor fiscal – tax consultant) – and you have capital and/or property outside Spain worth more than 50,000 euros, then you need to declare it to the Spanish tax authorities – as of 2013, for the año fiscal (tax year) 2012.