Guardia Civil introduce new rules for foreign cars

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30 Jan 2012 12:00 AM by mikesmith4 Star rating. 29 posts Send private message

 I was reading this weeks Sur in English and it reports that the Guardia Civil have introduce new legislation on keeping UK cars in Spain. From what I have read it appears that non spanish reg cars can be kept in spain for 30 days . After 30 days if you are on holiday you now have to have temporary spanish plates and if you are resisdent you have to go on full spanish plates. If you register you car within the 30 days there are some concessions with regards to car related taxes. I believe that I have read this right but I will stand corrected. What is odd about this is that this law seems to go against the principle of the 6 month rule etc. Any views on this?

 

Mike 





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31 Jan 2012 7:10 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

 

Having read the Sur in English article, I am not sure that it says that the law has been changed but that the police have started enforcing the existing law more rigorously.
 
I believe that the 6 months rule still applies, i.e. that a person who IS NOT RESIDENT (not living in Spain) can use a foreign registered vehicle for up to 6 months in any year. 
 
The problem I believe is that many people who are living in Spain have flaunted the regulations for years. 
 
A person who is resident (living in Spain) if they want to keep their foreign registered vehicle they must import it within the first 30 days.
 
Residence how is it acquired ?
 
                      Included are:-
 
                      A person who spends 3 month permanently in Spain must register on the EU Foreign Citizens Register, they are then resident, including tax resident) don’t lets get confused with ‘Residencia´ which no longer exist for EU citizens. (The card still exists as before for people coming from outside the EU).  A person living in a country is, of course ´resident´  in that country.
 
A person who spends a total of 6 months in any year in Spain automatically becomes resident too.
 
As does a person whose principle home is here or his/her economic base are also resident.  So as stated in the article, if your children attend school in Spain,  you  too are resident.  
 
Dropping children off at school in a UK registered vehicle is a pretty obvious plea of guilty to illegally using the vehicle whilst being resident.
 
Don’t think for one moment that the authorities,  if the choose to do so, cannot prove you are living in Spain. We all leave paper-trails, utility bills, credit card use, neighbours, traffic cameras, etc.
 

 

 



This message was last edited by johnzx on 31/01/2012.



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04 Feb 2012 11:13 PM by bergspyder Star rating. 44 posts Send private message

I'm sure johnzx (Kawasaki?) & other posters are right on the 30-day law, the 6-month law, etc., on registering foreign-plated vehicles in Spain, and that many are dodging such laws. But what happens if you live in 2 countries, regularly travel between the 2, pay your income tax in the other country (tax resident), and your car is registered in that country? I'm fairly sure that if you change to Spanish plates because you stayed in Spain 30-days or longer, the authorities in the other country in which you're resident, would fine you/confiscate your vehicle just as quickly as the Guardia Civil in Spain. So should the vehicle have 2 sets of plates (loved the 007 movie.....)? OK, flippant but I did consult my Spanish lawyer (not sharpest tool in shed) who maintains that, logically, one cannot be resident of 2 countries simultaneously, and where you pay your taxes (the 183 day or more law) & can prove it, is where your vehicle should be registered. Spanish authorities have contacted the tax authorities of country in which I pay tax but (so far) no-one has asked me to change plates. I suggest that makes no sense at all unless you have 2 vehicles, one in each country. But I played that game before and.... you've guessed it: The wrong vehicle ended up in the wrong country. I should add that, in my case, there are no vehicle insurance conflicts and the (equivalent of) MoT requirements are very different. Trouble is, does that cop on the roundabout know it or care? I doubt it. Between a rock & a hard place? Or just another tax?  





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05 Feb 2012 1:28 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

 

Bergsyder,
 
The phase ‘None so blind as those who do not want to see’ came to mind when I read your post.
 
I am not posting here as a mental exercise,  but to try and assist those who have a real problem and want to solve it.
 
I believe the post I made earlier should be reasonably easy for most to understand.
                                                                                            
If you or anyone has a genuine question I will do my best to answer.

 

 



This message was last edited by johnzx on 05/02/2012.



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05 Feb 2012 8:23 AM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

There is an EU 6 month rule , end of story. It is the same in Portugal or the Uk or anywhere else.

You are not fiscally resident after 3 months by registering as a resident . Their are two completely different sets of rules.

Residency is consecutive & is required after 90 days .If you leave the country after 89 days the clock starts again.

Fiscal residency is cumulative & a total of 183 days over the year will mean you are. Under the current rules you can be fiscally resident in more than 1 country requring declarations to the tax offices but not necessarily having to pay tax.

As it stands at present you can be fiscally resident in spain without being a resident & resident without being fiscally resident.

 



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05 Feb 2012 9:05 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

 
 
Sorry Gus but I suspect that you are making it very confusing even to some extent for those who do know the system. ( Especially as we are in a thread dealing with vehicles in Spain not taxes ).
 
 
You said one can be Resident in Spain but not Tax resident and vise versa.  I can not agree with you :- 
 
 
Firstly, the hacienda say that once one has registered on the EU citizens register (got the green paper) they ARE TAX RESIDENT.
 
I have spoken to them and also had the situation confirmed by two other knowledgeable sources (MijasTown Hall [Marta] who has also spoken to Hacienda and Blevins Franks, where John McCann has confirmed it and it is mentioned on their web page).
 
As you say, an EU citizen (NB not a non EU citizen) must intend to be, or be, physically present in Spain for 3 months before they are required to register.  But, nonetheless,  if they are in Spain for a total of 183 days or more in any year, they automatically become tax resident whether they register or not.
 
 ALSO,  if they have their centre of economic activity, or their main home in Spain then regardless of how long they are in Spain they are automatically tax resident too.
 
The  double taxation agreement signed between countries (which vary from country to country) are designed to try and avoid people being required to pay taxes in more than one than one jurisdiction.
 
 
  





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05 Feb 2012 9:40 AM by bergspyder Star rating. 44 posts Send private message

Serious question from a blind man then: Suppose you, johnzx, spend about 183 days in EU country N°1 and approx the same in EU country N°2, and both N°1 & N°2 say you must register foreign-plated vehicles within 3 months, in which of the 2 countries would you register your vehicle?
 
Incidentally, Gus is right -- resident for tax purposes does not necessarily mean resident; the 2 definitolns are completely different -- and I'd advise caution on double taxation staements: Double taxation does not necessarily mean you are not required to pay tax in 2 (or more) countries, EU or otherwise.
 
Cheers
 
 
Bergsyder,
 
The phase ‘None so blind as those who do not want to see’ came to mind when I read your post.
 
I am not posting here as a mental exercise,  but to try and assist those who have a real problem and want to solve it.
 
I believe the post I made earlier should be reasonably easy for most to understand.
                                                                                            
If you or anyone has a genuine question I will do my best to answer.
 
The  double taxation agreement signed between countries (which vary from country to country) are designed to try and avoid people being required to pay taxes in more than one than one jurisdiction.




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05 Feb 2012 10:34 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

 

Quote.  .................................... must register foreign-plated vehicles within 3 months, ........
 
 
As we are talking about Spain, I do not know about other countries, the law does not say that.
 
 Example. If one has a holiday home in Spain and comes for a few weeks at a time, (not 90 days nor totaling 183 days) then there is no requirement to register their car.
 
Incidentally, Gus is right -- resident for tax purposes does not necessarily mean resident; the 2 definitions are completely different –
Whilst in theory you are right, I cannot image how one can be resident but not tax resident, for the reasons I gave.   
 
Also, if one qualifies as Tax Resident then they must be resident, as they are living or have their centre of activities etc in Spain.
 
 and I'd advise caution on double taxation statements: Double taxation does not necessarily mean you are not required to pay tax in 2 (or more) countries, EU or otherwise. 
 
You are quoting what I said. However, in most circumstances, and in particular the agreements between Spain and UK, do have that effect.

 

 



This message was last edited by johnzx on 05/02/2012.



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05 Feb 2012 1:02 PM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

Also, if one qualifies as Tax Resident then they must be resident, as they are living or have their centre of activities etc in Spain.

No , there are many people who come every month , for a month ,& under the cumulative effect are over the 183 day rule requiring tax residency yet they are never in spain for more than 30 days so not requiring to register as resident.

 

The whole lot is a shambles ;ill thought out & assuming all people live , work , etc; in one place. It doesn'ttake into account the millions of people who work/travel/live in various places or even the people that legally don't exist anywhere& only own motorhomes !
Many of these have to resort to family friends & aquaintances to enable them to comply with the law.

Spain & Portugal had a set to a couple of years back after the portugese introduced a law requiring people working in Portugal to re-register their vehicles in Portugal. Their was an amendment to it that allowed spanish workers , who lived in spain & travelled over to be exempt as long as working within a ' reasonable distance ' .

Unfortunately no one educated the Portugese police & their interpretation was 500meters !!  & they started seizing vehicles. This resulted in a partial shut-down of the health system as 11 % of the portugese health workers are Spanish.

As one doctor (who'd had her car impounded ) said ." I have a house in spain, I pay my taxes in spain , I make a tax declaration in portugal, i have an apartment that I live in during the week in portugal ! " Now they are asking me to have two cars & leave one at the border ! "  " This should be sorted out quickly as until it is the people involved will not get any medical treatment  !! "

 

 



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Todos somos Lorca.




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05 Feb 2012 1:53 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

Gus,

  I am sure what the 30 days you refer to is.  I can´t think that has anything to do residencia in any sense.
 
But a person who is Tax Resident IS effectively resident (the clue tax resident) as they cannot say drive a foreign registered car, also they do not have to pay non resident property tax.
 
In the case of a UK citizen they do not have to pay tax (on most types) of income in UK.
 
That they do not have to sign on the EU citizens register has no practical meaning nor any other effect on them. 
 
I believe you are trying to split hairs for the sake of disagreeing, and thus, unless you have a practical question I will leave it here.

 





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05 Feb 2012 1:53 PM by mikesmith4 Star rating. 29 posts Send private message

 Interstingly this weeks Sur in English has provided clarification to the points made in the original article. The article says is that a person has 30 days to register their car on spanish plates from the date they are classified as being a resident. Being classes as a resident is determinded by a number of factors, ie were you work, do you own a business, do your kids go to a spanish school or are you registered on the padron etc. People moving to spain to live have 60 days to comply with the law. If you are a genuine tourist you are subject to the 6 month rule. However, if you stay beyond 6 months, even if you are not in your own mind a resident, for what ever reason, you must put your car on spanish plates.

Mike

 



This message was last edited by mikesmith4 on 05/02/2012.



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05 Feb 2012 2:09 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

Mike,
                           sorry but you seem to have misread the Sur article.
 
What Sur are saying is the same as the post I made here on 31.1.12.
 
They are talking about people who are RESIDENT but who are ‘pretending’ not to be. Genuine tourist have nothing to fear.





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05 Feb 2012 2:20 PM by mikesmith4 Star rating. 29 posts Send private message

 Hi Johnzx,

 

Cheers you have sumed it up in a nut shell.

Mike





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05 Feb 2012 5:10 PM by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1408 posts Send private message

reading "Motoring in Spain" and the updates in round town  news will clarify all these contradictory posts. where i live,  we have car owners driving round for years in uk plated vehicles, and those running construction and other businesses, with the guardia civil completely ignoring them.some commercial vehicles cannot be registered here and should have been sold in the uk or scrapped out here.how are these people getting away with it-it infuriates those who have paid to reregister their cars and are paying spanish road tax-are there corrupt dealings going on?how much revenue is lost in this economic downturn.?





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05 Feb 2012 6:55 PM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

No not splitting hairs . Let me clariry it a bit more. I have two aquaintances. One , a car dealer & the second owns numerous residential homes . They live in the UK , there businesses , family , etc; is all in the Uk . They pay tax & NI in the UK. Each spends every other month here in spain & slightly longer in the summer but never more than around 30 -40 days. Therefore they are not residents as they do not exceed the 90 day rule &  you cannot be resident in 2 countries; but under the fiscal residencey rules of 183 days both exceed this figure & make tax declarations to hacienda. Both have NIE's only .They do not have it combined with the 'Registro de  Ciudadano de la Unión '.



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Todos somos Lorca.




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06 Feb 2012 2:53 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

Gus,
                         your friends (hypothetical or otherwise) appear reasonably wealthy, and because of their business interests, must employ professional advisers. Therefore, I am sure they do not need free advice.





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10 Feb 2013 7:26 PM by davebloomy Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Hi Mike

I have an issue with this currently. I have been down here on an extended break since October Last year in my Uk registered car. The car is leagl in UK and was originally insured in the UK but due to the amount of EU cover with that policy i have had to cancel it and take out a spanish policy.

My home is in the UK along with my business and i pay all tax in the UK but i have been stopped twice by Guardia civil (October and yesterday) an i have now been given a document which i am informed means I have to pay tax on the vehicle and register it on spanish plates. The car is worth around 20K and i do not want to register it on spanish plates as when i return to the UK next month i will obviously be taking my car.

Any advise or comments on this would be greatfully received.





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11 Feb 2013 8:34 AM by inspectahomespain Star rating in Orihuela Costa, Spai.... 2417 posts Send private message

Vip Supporter

The rules are there for EVERYBODY and personally I wish that they enforced them as my son's car got hit by an English uninsured driver, the car was impounded and an untaxed wreck

The rules are still unclear but simply 6 months in any year for a non Spanish resident, 30 days for a Spanish resident

I have been seeing much more activity and clamping down on these vehicles, one of my guests being asked to produce proof of their arrival date in Spain, luckily they were here for 2 weeks and were able to produce their tunnel ticket

If as you say that you have had a Police notice then they can impound and crush the vehicle, so regardless of where you pay your tax, regardless of where the vehicle is insured and taxed, they will enforce these rules and you could loose your car



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Roy Howitt Independent Property Consultant www.sonrisaproperties.com www.snaggingspain.com WE CAN FIND YOUR DREAM HOME 627 955 748



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11 Feb 2013 8:54 AM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5246 posts Send private message

 
Dave,    

                        If you are in Spain permanently for 90 days you are required to register on the EU Foreign Citizens Register.
 
Once have done that, the Tax office treats you as being tax resident in Spain.  I know some here do not agree with this  (but I hope they will not confuse you by rehearsing their argument, but instead stick to trying to help you with your actual problem).
 
 As a resident (in most circumstances) you are not permitted to drive a foreign registered vehicle.  
 
That may explain why the Guardia gave you the notice.
 
As a first move in your case I would go to a Guardia Civil office, explain that you have been here under 6 months  (hopefully you left Spain for a while before the 3 months was completed and then returned)  and that you intend to leave, with your car, before the six month period is up.   Ask their advice re the notice you have been given.
 
Or / and,  as a last resort, speak  a lawyer (if you really must ! )
 
 





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11 Feb 2013 11:18 AM by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 280 posts Send private message

juansheetisplenty´s avatar

 If you insure your car with a Spanish company, it will show up on the centralized database of which GC have access. Bit of a giveaway.

Juan





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