If you inherit property in Spain you will be subject to taxation, unfortunately. Since 2015 non-residents are treated the same as residents when it comes to property inheritance tax (Impuesto de Sucesiones y Donaciones, ISD).
The amount taxed varies across regions. The amount you pay also depends on the relationship between the donor and the beneficiary. Spouses and children pay less then un-married partners and step-children.
As a non-resident you would be subject the national law, not regional. If a foreigner living in Spain passes away without leaving a will then the law of where he spent the last 5 years is applied.
Under Spanish inheritance law one is forced to distribute their estate in percentages to different relatives.
- 50% of the estate goes to the spouse
- One-third of the remaining goes to each child in equal shares. If there is a will it can specify to which child goes how much. If the spouse is still alive he or she retains this amount until death.
- One-third can be passed on freely with a will.
- Surviving parents receive one-third if there is a spouse and 50% if no spouse.
- If there are no children the money can be left to anyone by means of a will.
Tax Rates on Spanish Inheritance
Inheritance up to:
- €7,993: 7.65%
- €7,993–31,956: 7.65 to 10.2%
- €31,956–79,881: 10.2 to 15.3%
- €79,881–239,389: 15.3 to 21.25%
- €239,389–398,778: 25.5%
- €398,778–797,555: 29.75%
- €797,555+: 34%
Some of these rates can be reduced with deductions:
- Group 1: children under 21 (including adopted) years get an allowance of EUR 47,859.
- Group 2:children older than 21 (including adopted), grandchildren, spouses and parents/grandparents (including adoptive) get an allowance of EUR 15,957.
- Group 3: siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws and their ascendants/descendants get an allowance of EUR 7,993.
- Group 4: cousins, all other relatives, unmarried partners (unless the region allows it) and those unrelated get no allowance.
- Those with disabilities are entitled to an allowance of either EUR 47,859 or EUR 50,253 depending on the extent of the disability.
If you are non-resident inheriting property in Spain then you don’t have much choice but to pay these burdensome taxes. As mentioned above, depending on your relationship to the donor, you can reduce the amount owed.