The income tax return for foreigners, residents working abroad and foreign income

We tell you everything you need to know about income tax if you are a foreigner.

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The tax obligations of Spanish citizens abroad must be determined according to their tax residence. There are no general rules for the entire European Union that indicate how the income of persons who reside, work or are outside their country of origin must be reported or recorded; however, we will try to clarify some general doubts.

What does it mean to be a tax resident in Spain?

To answer this question, it is important to know first if he/she is a tax resident in Spain, for this, one of the following cases must occur, the first one is to live more than 183 days a year in Spain, for which the period of stay in Spain must be determined and comply with the more than 183 days during the year.

Therefore, sporadic absences will be computed unless the taxpayer proves his tax residence in another country through a tax residence certificate issued by the tax authorities of the country where he resides and works.

The second thing to verify is to have the basis of the main activities or the direct and indirect economic interests in Spain.

Finally, that the spouse or minor children who are economically dependent of the person to be taxed live in Spain, in case of fulfilling these criteria, the income tax return must be filed in Spain.

It is understood that he/she is a taxpayer of the Personal Income Tax Law and of partial modification of the Corporate Income Tax, Non-Resident Income Tax and Wealth Tax Laws (Law 35/2006, of November 28th) even if a new residence in another country is accredited if this country is considered to be a tax haven.

Personal income tax for foreigners in Spain (IRPF)

How to avoid double taxation of income?

If you work abroad and you have to file your income tax return in Spain, it is important to avoid double taxation, so you should check if the country where you work makes discounts on the salary earned and asks you to file the Spanish income tax return.

These agreements are understood as agreements signed between countries, it was agreed that each country would only receive what is declared in them and no other taxes would be paid for the same income, Spain has double taxation agreements with the following countries:

Europe Asia Africa America Oceania
Albania 🇦🇱 Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 Algeria 🇩🇿 Argentina 🇦🇷 Australia 🇦🇺
Germany 🇩🇪 Armenia 🇦🇲 Cape Verde 🇨🇻 Barbados 🇧🇧 New Zealand 🇳🇿
Andorra 🇦🇩 Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 Egypt 🇪🇬 Bolivia 🇧🇴
Austria 🇦🇹 Qatar 🇶🇦 Morocco 🇲🇦 Brazil 🇧🇷
Belarus 🇧🇾 China 🇨🇳 Nigeria 🇳🇬 Canada 🇨🇦
Belgium 🇧🇪 South Korea 🇰🇷 South Africa 🇿🇦 Chile 🇨🇱
Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦 United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪 Tunisia 🇹🇳 Colombia 🇨🇴
Bulgaria 🇧🇬 Philippines 🇵🇭 Senegal 🇸🇳 Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Czechia 🇨🇿 Georgia 🇬🇪 Cuba 🇨🇺
Cyprus 🇨🇾 India 🇮🇳 Ecuador 🇪🇨
Croatia 🇭🇷 Indonesia 🇮🇩 United States 🇺🇸
Slovakia 🇸🇰 Iran 🇮🇷 Jamaica 🇯🇲
Slovenia 🇸🇮 Israel 🇮🇱 Mexico 🇲🇽
Estonia 🇪🇪 Japan 🇯🇵 Panama 🇵🇦
Finland 🇫🇮 Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 Dominican Republic 🇩🇴
France 🇫🇷 Kuwait 🇰🇼 Uruguay 🇺🇾
Greece 🇬🇷 Malaysia 🇲🇾 Venezuela 🇻🇪
Netherlands 🇳🇱 Oman 🇴🇲 El Salvador 🇸🇻
Hungary 🇭🇺 Pakistan 🇵🇰 Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹
Ireland 🇮🇪 Singapore 🇸🇬
Iceland 🇮🇸 Thailand 🇹🇭
Italy 🇮🇹 Turkey 🇹🇷
Latvia 🇱🇻 Uzbekistan 🇺🇿
Lithuania 🇱🇹 Vietnam 🇻🇳
Luxembourg 🇱🇺 Former USSR states (except Russia) 🇺🇦
North Macedonia 🇲🇰
Malta 🇲🇹
Moldova 🇲🇩
Norway 🇳🇴
Poland 🇵🇱

It is important to highlight that filing income tax in Spain when working abroad does not exempt you from paying other taxes in the country where you reside, in conclusion, if you receive any type of income from Spain, such as renting a house, it will have to be declared as a non-resident income tax.

How to make IRPF with income from abroad?

IRPF must be filed on a regular basis with some changes, the first is that it must be checked if there is a double taxation agreement as explained above.

Secondly, determine if it is possible an exemption in the income tax return for foreign residents according to article 7P of this law, this exemption consists in that the annual work income must exceed €60,100 together with other characteristics:

  • That the company in which you work is not recently Spanish.
  • The country where you work has a subtraction declaration similar to the Spanish one.

In case of complying with this condition you will be able to apply for this exemption, otherwise you will have to declare and you will also be able to benefit from the exemption regime.

Image representing a foreign woman who has come to Spain to work and has to declare her taxes here.

How to file your income tax return from abroad?

If you are one of the taxpayers working abroad and you do not know how to file your income tax return. It is normal that you have doubts about it; since, it can happen that you have to pay to both countries.

You have to take into account your type of case, so you will be able to do the procedure. Therefore, the following aspects are of vital importance for you to be able to make your tax return efficiently.

How to find out if you are a tax resident

It is crucial to determine whether you are a tax resident in Spain or in another country, as this affects your income tax return. The Spanish Tax Agency defines tax residency based on whether you spend more than 183 days in Spain, if your main economic activity or economic interests are in Spain, or if your family resides in Spain.

Even if you move to a tax haven, you may still be considered a Spanish tax resident in the year of the change. Workers on diplomatic missions or international observation also maintain their tax status in Spain.

If you do not meet these conditions and you are a tax resident abroad, but you generate income in Spain, you will be taxed under the Non-Resident Income Tax. It is important to find out about double taxation to understand your tax obligations and avoid paying tax twice on the same income, depending on the agreements between countries. In Spain, tax residents are taxed globally, while non-residents are taxed only on income earned in Spain.

Payment exemptions

You should pay attention in case you are a Spanish tax resident, but you work abroad. You have the possibility of exemption of the income derived from your salary up to 60.100€ per year.

However, you have to take into account that this applies only in case you meet each and every one of the following requirements:

First, the company you work for must not be resident in the Spanish territory, or, in case it is, you must work in a permanent establishment located abroad.

By this we mean, that the development of your activity should be in a fixed place within your company where you do business abroad. Example: A branch office. On the other hand, the country in which you develop those works must apply a tax that is similar to the Personal Income Tax.

There is another method, but you should be aware that it is not compatible with the one explained above. This means that you have to decide for one of the two options. The Excess Regime is the one that is defined as the one that does not tax the so called » Plus de desplazamiento». That is to say, the extra amount that you receive for the work that you carry out abroad assigned by the company over what you receive for the development of your function in Spain.

Cross-border worker

Cross-border workers are those who work in one country and reside in a different country. This fact is usually common for people who live close to the border. If you are a cross-border worker you should be aware of the relations with neighboring countries:

Mentioning Morocco it may happen that income is taxed in both countries. The reason for this is that there is no provision in the agreement. With respect to Portugal and France, the treaty stipulates that all income earned is taxed in the state of residence. Assuming that you cross the border daily for your work and go to those countries, you would only make the declaration in Spain.

In case you are the one living in France or Portugal, working in Spain, you would declare in the country where you live. Do not forget to inform yourself about the agreements before filing your tax return; Al, working in one country and living in the other. You may be obliged to pay taxes in both countries or your case may be different.

We can help you

In conclusion, tax returns and tax management can be complex processes for Spanish citizens abroad and for foreigners generating income in Spain. Understanding tax residency, avoiding double taxation and knowing the applicable exemptions are key aspects to properly comply with tax obligations. To facilitate this process and ensure that all applicable regulations are complied with, we recommend using TaxDown, an efficient and easy-to-use tool that simplifies the tax return for foreigners in Spain. TaxDown offers personalized assistance to ensure that you take advantage of all possible tax benefits and comply with your obligations correctly and efficiently.

You can now file your income tax return! Easy and secure with TaxDown

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If I reside abroad, how can I ratify my tax residency?

The Tax Agency requests your tax residence in order to be able to contact you in case it is necessary. When residing abroad, you must register in the Census of taxpayers by filing Form 030. Once you have validated your situation with the Tax Agency, you can return to TaxDown and continue with your tax return.

What taxes do foreigners have to pay in Spain?

Here you have the complete list of taxes in Spain that you must take into account as a foreigner:
Income tax return (IRPF)
VAT (Value Added Tax)
Taxes for non-residents: IRNR
Wealth tax (Impuesto sobre el patrimonio)
Inheritance and gift tax
Capital gains tax
Tax on the purchase of a home
Remember that each of these taxes has its particularities and specific requirements, so it is important to be informed and comply with your tax obligations according to your personal and fiscal situation.

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