British couple appeal property tax and win

The problem of “surprise” property taxes have caught out a number of people over recent months but a British couple have fought against it….. and won!

Dave and Philippa Staton bought a two-bedroom apartment and then received a bill for 9,500 euros in back tax after the town hall wrongly applied a “completely unrealistic” value on the property.

The property transfer tax of seven per cent is based on the actual price paid for the property but the values are often made many years earlier and are not reflective of the purchase price.

After appealing against the bill the couple have had the tax reduced to just 60 euros showing just how wrong the initial bill was.

Despite the huge drop in property prices over recent years the Spanish inland revenue (Hacienda) has failed to adjust the minimum sale prices set on properties for tax purposes leaving many unsuspecting buyers with additional bills, and in some cases with added interest for late payment.

“Three months after the sale was completed Hacienda demanded another 9,500 euros, and we went into a panic” explained Staton.

“The valuation was ridiculously high and we were paying the same as someone who has a two bed villa. We paid for an official evaluation and it came back that we should only pay 300 euros more, which was close to what we had actually paid so in the end the bill was just 60 euros.”

Legal firm Lawbird say that this is a growing problem.

“It has become a big issue with the recession, particularly here on the Costa del Sol which has one of the highest values in Spain,” they said, adding “The valuations are based on prices from a few years ago and with the current climate it has become ridiculous. The valuations should fall to match the fact that prices have changed but it is beneficial to the town halls as they get more money.”