Income tax return for foreign pensioners

If you are a foreign pensioner resident in Spain, we explain what you have to take into account when making the 2023 / 2024 income tax return.

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In other words, a tax resident in Spain must declare the income obtained anywhere in the world, although he/she must refer to the international double taxation agreements to avoid being taxed twice in the corresponding cases.

How and where should I pay tax on a pension I receive from another country?

However, within the pensions, a series of incomes that are exempt are specified, such as, for example, the orphan’s pension, annuities for alimony received from parents by judicial decision or pensions for uselessness or absolute permanent incapacity and great disability, among others.

Likewise, the provisions of international treaties and conventions that have become part of the domestic legislation must be taken into account, and all taxpayers residing in Spain must declare their worldwide income in their personal income tax return, regardless of the origin of their income, so that, even if they come from another country, pensions from abroad must be declared here in Spain, in the personal income tax return.

Therefore, those people who have worked abroad and have fulfilled the requirements to be entitled to a retirement pension in that country must include it in their income tax return and not doing so can be a problem. The latest double taxation agreements, mutual assistance, between the countries of the European Union and the improvement in communications have increased the revisions for undeclared pensions.

The law is clear on the taxation of foreign pensions in the IRPF, as it states that taxpayers residing in Spain must declare in their IRPF for their worldwide income. Therefore, a Spanish retiree who only obtains his pension is not obliged to make the Income Tax Return if his income does not exceed 22,000 euros per year.

But if he/she receives another pension for having contributed abroad, the limit for not filing the IRPF drops to 11,200 euros per year of income, as there are two different payers.

As a general rule, not filing the tax return when you are obliged to do so means having to pay the corresponding tax liquidation fee and the corresponding interest, as well as a penalty of a minimum of 150 euros.

If it is presented, but the income from the foreign pension is omitted (although including it does not affect the final result), it also entails a penalty for omitting data.

How to declare foreign pensions in your income tax return

The money received for a foreign pension must be declared in the section of monetary retributions, within the income from work. In addition, it is necessary to know if you have withholdings in the country that grants the pension:

  • If you do not have withholdings in the country of origin: you do not have to do anything, because it is fully taxed in Spain.
  • If you have withholdings in the country of origin: you must check box number 96. If you use the PADRE program, it is located in «Other deductions of the quota – Deductions for international double taxation».

When opening this section, the amount of the income from work must be entered in the box for remuneration included in the general base, and in the box for taxes paid abroad, the amount of the withholdings that would have been made in the country of origin. Thus, the program calculates the amount to be deducted and avoids taxing income in two countries at the same time.

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¿Has hecho ya la declaración de la renta?

Retirement pensions originating abroad must be declared in Spain by taxpayers residing in our country. Failure to do so can lead to several problems.
Taxpayers residing in Spain must declare in their Personal Income Tax (IRPF) for their worldwide income, regardless of the origin of their income, even if it comes from another country. In Spain, a minimum contribution period is required to qualify for a retirement pension.
In other countries this is not the case and the State in question pays an amount proportional to the time contributed, with no minimum amount. This means that a person who has worked abroad for a few years is entitled to a monthly payment of the corresponding amount.

Other consequences based on the IRPF law:

The concealment of the perception of this income can have other consequences, such as the reduction or elimination of the minimum complements.
The minimum supplement is the one that equals the pension received by the retiree with the minimum pension. It is a supplement that is paid if the amount of the pension to which the pensioner is entitled is lower than the minimum, but this supplement may be affected if other income is received.
In the case of not having declared the foreign pension and receiving the minimum supplement, the Social Security can review the pensioner’s situation and claim the refund of the amounts unduly collected.

Exceptions to agreements

The treaties list certain types of income and provide, with respect to each of them, the taxing powers that correspond to each signatory State:

In some cases, exclusive power for the country of residence of the taxpayer.
In other cases, exclusive power for the country of origin of the income.
In addition, we must emphasize that when we talk about income, in the vast majority of cases we think only of the salary. However, the salary is far from being the only source of income. Money from investments, what is technically considered as income from movable capital and capital gains, must also be taken into account.

In some cases, power is shared between both countries, both being able to tax the same income, but with the obligation for the country of residence of the taxpayer to arbitrate measures to avoid double taxation.

For more information you can register in TaxDown where our tax experts will guide you in everything related to your income tax return so you can file it without errors.

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