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Health Service for Foreigners

Since the law 16/2012 dated 20 April came into force in Spain (Law of urgent measures to ensure the sustainability of the national health system) many things have changed regarding the requirements for accessing the Spanish public health care system.

Caritas and the Spanish Food Bank Federation

Caritas and the Spanish Food Bank Federation (in Spanish Federación Española de Bancos de Alimentos FESBAL) are two NGOs operating in Spain that received several awards and accolades in 2013 and both received the prestigious Human Right Award from the Spanish lawyers council.

The 2013 update of the “ley de costas” Coastal law

This law affects the prime locations for the tourist and building industry, with obvious impact on economic interests. On one hand the new law is accused of legalizing illegal properties that eventually would have been demolished and on the other hand it clarifies the fate of entire areas that were  in a judicial limbo

Spanish Golden Visa for investors

Last September the Spanish parliament approved Law 14/2013 of the 27 September also called “law for the support to entrepreneurs and their internationalization”. The law came into effect on the 29th September and its main objectives are to make life easier for self-employed people and to make access to credit easier for small medium enterprises.

New Road Regulations 2014

The new upgrade to the law on road safety (“Ley de Seguridad Vial” in Spanish) has been approved by the Spanish parliament and will be enforced sometime in the first half of 2014. No date has been announced yet but it will be one month after the law is published in the official government gazette.

Defects in a newly purchased property

It’s not uncommon that after purchasing a property, a new buyer finds concealed defects that seriously affect the value or the usage of the property. For example this could be a leaking swimming pool or more serious, a structural problem which compromises the stability of the building.

Do You Have a Spanish Tracker Mortgage?

In the UK the principle of a tracker mortgage is that it tracks the Bank of England base rate. Now, with an historical low Euribor of 0.15% anyone with such a mortgage should feel lucky, but perhaps due to the inclusion of a clause in the terms and conditions, you are not achieving the maximum savings.

Change of ownership of a car in Spain

When a private person sells a vehicle to another physical person, it is very important to go through the complete set of administrative procedures in order to change the ownership. Failure to do this will incur different types of problems including fines and road tax of the new owner being sent and charged to the former owner.

Non-profit Associations in Spain

Spanish law defines an association as “a group of people who enter into an agreement, in order to accomplish a common objective with a non -profit motive, independent (at least formally) from government, public administration, political parties and companies.” National associations are regulated by Law 1/2002 of the 22 March and by royal decree 1497/2003 of the 28 November.

Luxembourg EU justice court and Spanish mortgage law

On March 14th 2013, the Luxembourg Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against the present Spanish mortgage laws and will force Spain to adapt the present legislation governing evictions and foreclosures to EU directives. The slowly recovering Spanish economic situation and unemployment (now at 22.2%) continues to make it difficult for homeowners to meet mortgage payments and consequently the number of property foreclosures increased sharply from 2008 when the real estate bubble busted.

New laws against fiscal fraud 2012

Restriction on the use of cash Any cash payment, in which one of the parties is acting as a company or as a business, will be limited to 2,500€ (or its equivalent in foreign currency). This amount will increase to 15,000€ if the payer is a non-fiscal resident in Spain and is acting as a private individual.

New law on judicial costs in Spain

On the 20th of November the Spanish parliament approved law 10/2012 on the taxation of judicial proceedings. In short this law will introduce an additional fee every time that someone initiates a legal proceeding in: the Civil court, the Labour court and courts dealing with public disputes. Not affected are the criminal courts and the military court (criminal cases represent approximately 70% of all legal proceedings in Spain).

Credit blacklists and consumer protection in Spain

The current economic climate has led to an increase in people and companies going into bad debts all over Europe. This has in turn fostered the emergence of “credit blacklists”, where people and companies that have defaulted payments are recorded. In principle credit blacklists are tools intended to help assessing the risk of financial and commercial transactions. Therefore, they are instruments with a legitimate and useful objective, helping to safeguard the economy.

Misleading Advertising

Advertisements surround us. Every day we are exposed both consciously and unconsciously to advertising. Marketers want to promote their products and so they tend to highlight the benefits and hide the deficiencies of what they are trying to sell. Very often they cross the thin line between what is true and what is false.

Communities of Owners – Ramps and disabled access

The Spanish constitution protects the rights of people with disabilities. In particular section 49 of the Spanish constitution states: The public authorities shall carry out a policy of preventive care, treatment, rehabilitation and integration of the physically,...

Taxation on urban property owned by non-residents

Every year owners of real estate assets that are non-residents in Spain are obliged to pay non-resident tax to the Agencia tributaria, the Spanish tax office. This fiscal obligation is not to be confused with the IBI (impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles, more on this later).

European driving license 2013 – changes in motorbikes regulations

Since 1980 the European Union set up a roadmap for the harmonization of driving licenses among the different countries of the EU, the final objective being to have a single driving license valid in all EU countries. At present there are a total of 110 different types of driving licenses in the EU. This not only give problems for EU citizen moving permanently to a different EU country, but it creates legal nightmares for law enforcement authorities.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Travel Insurance

It is always a good idea, whenever we travel for leisure or for business, to be covered by travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover possible eventualities happening during the trip like illness, loss of luggage and vehicle breakdown.

House Insurance Pitfalls

When purchasing house insurance, there are several concepts that the buyer needs to keep in mind before choosing the most appropriate policy.

EU citizen’s residency in Spain and European Parliament Directive 2004/38/EC

The European Parliament directive 2004/38/EC clearly set the conditions under which a citizen from one of the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can reside in a different member state (EEA is the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). EEA citizens and family members have the right to move freely and reside in different EEA countries, nevertheless for stays over three months there are several conditions that have to be met.

In case of road accidents

A recent survey made in different countries from a consortium of insurance companies came to the conclusion that on average 60% of European car drivers do not know how to use (or do not want to use) the standard “European accident statement” form (in Spanish “parte de declaración amistosa de accidentes” or sometimes “Declaración Amistosa de Accidente de Automóvil”).

Advantages of getting residency in Spain and the new rules applicable

There are several reasons to became resident in Spain, specially is you are thinking about selling your property, which include: If you are fiscal resident in Spain, and over 65 years of age, you are no subject to capital gain tax when you sell your property under the condition that it was your main residency for the previous three years.

Changes to the Spanish Urban Rental Law

At present in Spain, there are more than 3 millions properties that are empty without tenants. Real estate market specialists identify various reasons for this state of affairs, including: Imbalance between the rights of the Tenant and those of the Landlord which make...

Rights of the passenger in cases of delay, cancellation, overbooking and lost luggage

Every time we buy a ticket from a transport company e.g. plane, train, coach, etc we implicitly enter a contractual agreement with that transport firm. The contract is generally named “conditions of carriage”, “terms and conditions” or other similar names. It can be found in the company website and sometime in small print at the back of the ticket or in one of the receipts after the purchase. When we buy a ticket online we implicitly sign the contract by ticking the box stating that we accept the conditions of the transport company.

In Case of Road Accidents

A survey made in different countries from a consortium of insurance companies came to the conclusion that on average 60% of European car drivers do not know how to use (or do not want to use) the standard European accident statement form (in Spanish: parte de declaración amistosa de accidentes, or sometimes Declaración Amistosa de Accidente de Automóvil).

Tax changes in 2012

The new Spanish government voted in December 2011 a new set of measures in order to curb the overwhelming Spanish public deficit inherited from the previous administration. This was put into law with the “Real Decreto-ley 20/2011, de 30 de diciembre, de medidas urgentes en materia presupuestaria, tributaria y financiera para la corrección del déficit publico” (royal decree 20/2011 of the 30 December, of urgent budget, tax and financial measures for the correction of the public debt)

Corporate crimes in Spain

Corporate crime (delito societario) is a specific type of crime under the larger heading of property crimes and crimes against socio-economic order (delitos contra el patrimonio y contra el orden socioeconómico). According to the Spanish Criminal Code, Corporate Crimes are crimes related to associations, financial entities, foundations or businesses that in order to reach their objectives are permanently trading on stock markets.

Property rentals in Spain

By Maria Teresa Velasco Velasco Lawyers Property rentals in Spain are regulated by two laws, the Urban Rental Law 29/1994 (Ley de arrendamientos urbanos) and the Civil Code. Contracts for residential property are highly regulated in compare to business premises, but...

Liability for Construction Defects

Prior to the current Administrative Law for Construction (Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación, LOE 38/99 of November 5th), the responsibility of the Architect and the Builder were established in the civil code, section 1591; the decisions of the courts extends this...

Divorce without frontiers

According to Eurostat, more than one million divorces are filed every year within the 27 countries of the EU; 13% of which involved citizens of different European nationalities. This state of affairs encouraged the European Commission to start a harmonisation programme with the objective of simplifying legal procedures for separation and divorces of couples with different EU nationalities.

Changes in transfer tax and Stamp duty for 2012 in Andalucía

Please refer to the article transfer tax in Spain 2014 for up to date information On 1st January 2012 the Junta de Andalucía introduced several changes on how taxes under the jurisdiction of the autonomous region will be calculated. More specifically transfer tax and stamp duty (in Spanish “Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales y Actos Jurídicos Documentados”) have been overall increased.

Limited Company Abandonment

We can define “limited company abandonment” as the situation where the shareholders and/or administrators of a limited company stop working effectively bringing commercial activities to a halt. This often happens when the company has debts and the shareholders/directors/administrators are unwilling to deal with the compulsory liquidation process, publish the accounts and pay their tax obligations. This situation can be extremely harmful to company creditors as the normal bankruptcy process cannot be followed and the normal debt collection process will be distorted.

The return of patrimonial tax

Last September the Spanish government passed a new decree related to a temporary patrimonial tax for the fiscal year 2011/2012. Law 13/2011 of the 16th September was justified by the economical crisis and the need for the government to compensate the increasing deficit. According to the law this tax will be temporary and will apply to the fiscal year 2011/2012 and will have to be paid in the tax declaration of 2012/2013.

Domestic Violence in Spain

Domestic violence is an important social problem in Spain. It is a type of physical or psychological violence which occurs within a household or an intimate relationship for example within a marriage, a family or cohabitation or even when dating. Domestic violence has many forms, including physical aggression but emotional abuse, intimidation; stalking and depravation of freedom are all forms of domestic violence. Even though the victims of domestic violence are predominantly women, children and elderly people are vulnerable and can also be victims.

The “EU cookie directive”, behavioural advertising and practical considerations for Spain

On 25th May 2011 the EU set a deadline to the individual member countries to enforce directive 2009/136/EC amending Directive 2002/58/EC on “the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector”. This is the well known “cookie directive”, that was largely misinterpreted by the media, creating a wave of concern among web sites owners.

Personal data protection laws in Spain

In Spain, Personal data protection is regarded as a topic of the utmost importance. Article 18.4 of the Spanish constitution of 1978 says:
The law will limit the use of information technology in order to guarantee honour, personal and family intimacy of citizens and all their rights.

Common Law Marriages and Annulments (parejas de hecho)

Statistics show that all over Europe the traditional family is changing and the institution of marriage is giving way to different models of coexistence, for example common law marriages. Both common law and traditional marriages bind two individuals together and...

Buying a Spanish property under a company name

In property transactions it is often possible to buy a property under a company name instead of a person’s name. This way the buyers create a limited company or a corporation, which will purchase the property. The buyers will own the property indirectly by owning...