Business over Tapas
A digest of this week’s Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners:
Prepared by Lenox Napier. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra
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October 6 2022 Nº 465
Lowering taxes is always a popular move, and that’s what the Madrid and Andalucía presidents have done: they lowered the taxes.
This benefited the wealthier residents of these communities more than the poor ones, but there’s a theory (which no one believes except the rich) called trickle-down economics. Give the rich more money and it will find its way, sooner or later, into the pockets of the poor. A joke on the rounds has a version called trickle-down dining, where you pay for the meal of the wealthiest client present, and afterwards he lets you lick his plate.
The pressure on the Spanish Government from the conservatives was clear – with the high inflation, we need to cut our taxes.
Then the Valencia region – a left-wing autonomy – suddenly decided to join in, only, it cut the taxes of the poorer segment of the population.
Following this, and with the stern disapproval of the European Parliament, the Government threw up its hands, and announced tax cuts for the poor – and, what with one thing and another – tax increases for the wealthy.
The president of Andalucía was aghast: ‘Why don’t you leave us alone’, he said to the Government in Madrid as criticism against his tax-breaks for the wealthy arrived along with some friendly-fire from the Andalusian spokesperson for Vox of all things who put the question: ‘You want to turn Andalucía into Andorra?’ (phew!).
Thus, the National Government has announced a tax reform that means that everyone who earns less than 21,000 euros per year will pay the same taxes as those below 18,000 were paying. Those who earn less than 15,000 euros (before it was 14,000) will also be exempt from filing the Income Tax return, the IRPF. It also creates a new “solidarity” tax for billionaires who, such as in Madrid or Andalucía, have been forgiven the Wealth Tax. It also raises the personal income tax on high incomes that do not come from salary (i.e., rents and so on) and removes bonuses from large companies so that they pay their share of the Corporation Tax again. ‘These new measures will not affect annual tax returns for 2022, because the existing rules continue to apply until the end of this year’, says Sur in English.
The IVA on feminine hygiene products will also be lowered from 10 to 4% in 2023.
The squabble between the PP and the PSOE over ‘who and how’, obliged President Sánchez to defend his tax reform against “the sorcerers and champions of fiscal discord who say that money is better in the pockets of citizens”. The PP is meanwhile considering bringing the issue of tax increases for the wealthy to the Constitutional Court.
Maybe later, they’ll let us lick the plate.
From Preferente here: ‘The proposed national and European fiscal and environmental measures for the air sector would mean the loss of 11 million international tourists and, with it, a reduction of 1.6% of GDP (23,000 million euros) and 430,000 fewer jobs in 2030, according to the consulting firm of Deloitte, which has prepared a report that addresses the socioeconomic cost for Spain of the actions included in the EU greenhouse gas reduction ‘Fit for 55’ (wiki) that impacts the air sector, as well as the possible introduction of a ticket tax included in the white paper on tax reform. The report was presented at an event organized by ALA (airline association) and the CEOE in which their respective presidents as well as those responsible for the leading airlines in the Spanish market took part. On behalf of Iberia, its corporate director has warned that “these measures are going to mean that only the elite can travel”…’
‘A survey reveals the satisfaction level among tourists who came to Spain this summer was an incredible 96 per cent. Americans, Canadians, Latin-Americans, British and Irish visitors were the most satisfied with their trip and more than half said they were planning to come back within 12 months’, says Sur in English here.
From 20Minutos here: The Imserso program (partly subsidised holidays for Seniors) was never profitable, but this year “much less so”. This is the main conclusion of the hoteliers who this season have considered stopping offering places to retirees, mainly due to the increase in prices’. (Thx to Jake for this link).
The local and provincial train-rides will remain free for 2023 says the Minister here.
The 2023 budget has been approved by the Government alliance of PSOE and Unidas Podemos says El Economista here. It will be presented to the Cortes next week.
Spain in English looks at the tax increases for the wealthy: ‘Spanish government plans two-year wealth tax, plus tax increases for high earners in budget’.
‘By July this year, the public deficit was reduced by more than 58% due to an increase in taxes collected’ says La Información here.
The September employment figures are now out with 17,700 people losing their jobs, and a further 29,300 gaining employment. The paro currently stands at 2,942,000 – being the lowest level for September since 2008.
‘The pension fund is to be filled, after 13 years: the Government to inject 2,957 million euros. “This has to bring great peace of mind to our elders”. With these words, María Jesús Montero, Minister of Finance and Public Administration, has anticipated the injection into the reserve, included in the 2023 General Budgets, approved by the Council of Ministers’. Item at El Huff Post here.
From El País here: ‘Concern in Madrid about the wealth tax project: “We are not native Spaniards, just here because we wanted to be” says the Argentinian founder of Jazztel Martin Varsavsky. The richest residents have not paid a wealth tax in the capital region since 2011, and they would evidently contribute most of what is collected by the new tax’. The investor is threatening to pull up sticks, saying ‘many others will be thinking of leaving’.
Murcia Today reports that ‘British-owned BP has revealed that it is planning to sell its filling stations in Spain and has already entered into talks with several potential buyers…’
From El País in English here: ‘Amancio Ortega, landlord of the big tech companies. The founder of the Inditex fashion group is seeking to add the future headquarters of Facebook in Europe to his real estate portfolio, which also includes other illustrious tenants such as Google and Apple’.
More tax adjustments: for the wealthy in PP regions; for the poor in PSOE controlled communities. From elDiario.es here: ‘The President of Galicia Alfonso Rueda announced last week in a private forum that his cabinet would be reducing the tax burden on the region’s wealthiest: some 7,700 taxpayers with an average wealth of six million euros each’. Then comes the inevitable consequence here: ‘The Andalucía president Juanma Moreno petitions the Government for a thousand million euros to combat the regional drought after easing taxes by 900 million’. The comic Miguel Charisteas lampoons Moreno here.
From La Voz del Sur here, ‘Following the failure of the top-rate tax cut in the United Kingdom, the PP says that its proposal is not to lower taxes but rather “not to raise” them. The debacle of the British economy following the announcement there of a massive tax cut has obliged the PP to qualify its plans’. OK, when we do lower taxes (like the inheritance tax), he says later in a press meeting, it’s so that the wealthy don’t decide to leave for somewhere else.
From The Olive Press here: ‘Speaking on Wednesday in Congress during a debate with the opposition, and holding up the latest edition of The Economist, Pedro Sánchez cited Liz Truss’ actions as ‘the way not to run a country’…’
‘The Partido Popular leader Núñez Feijóo says he will exclude from the PP lists those deputies who insist on repealing the current abortion laws when he takes control of the Government’: a story at ECD here.
From Schengen Visa Info here: ‘Portugal: Britons to receive post-Brexit residency cards by end of this year’.
Cronica Libre seems to be the go-to site for information on the activities (and recordings) of the ex-commissioner Jose Manuel Villarejo (wiki), who helped several senior politicians in the PP a decade ago. Besides creating false narratives against the PSOE and (above all) Podemos, Villarejos also allegedly had the ear of several senior judges and investigators. The article begins: ‘The objective was to eliminate political enemies or business adversaries…’
From The Local here. ‘EU urges Spain to renew key judicial body. The European Commission on Friday urged Spain’s leftist government and the conservative opposition to end a (four) years-long stalemate and renew a key judicial body’. The article explains: ‘…Made up of 20 members, the CGPJ plays a supervisory role and appoints some magistrates to the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and other top courts. The appointment of 12 of the 20 members is subject to a qualified majority of three-fifths in both Spain’s lower and upper houses of parliament…’
A major operation against the Russian mafia and a few local politicians in the Benidorm (Alicante) area, has collapsed after a mistake in the court-process. The accused are – to all tense and purpose – now free. From elDiario.es here: ‘A serious judicial error causes the collapse of the largest operation in a decade against the Russian mafia and its connections with the PP. An overdue decision by the head of Benidorm’s Investigating Court leads to the acquittal of twenty defendants accused of being part of a criminal organization linked to the Russian mafia including former PP politicians and agents of the Guardia Civil’.
Catalan News is now back (my mistake!)
‘The City of Seville declares a drought alert and prohibits the use of water for non-essential purposes’ says elDiario.es here.
From Marc Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Mallorca’s international schools are one of the island’s big attractions for expats’.
It’s a well-known fact that there are a lot of public employees in Spain. Maldita says here, that in reality, Spain comes in at 25th position across Europe (at 16.3% of all those in work).
For those wishing to eat healthy, ECD recommends not buying these ten products.
The Guardian takes us to the largest shanty town in Europe. It’s located near the Madrid Barajas airport and it’s called La Cañada Real.
‘Spain, France & Germany: The New Powers of Europe?’ A video at YouTube here.
From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘As British expats take to social media to vent their fury that their UK driving licences are no longer valid in Spain, diplomatic sources have suggested that the issue could be linked to a bigger deal, which is being negotiated between Britain and Spain and includes the post Brexit rights of British citizens living in Spain. Although not officially confirmed it appears that the Spanish government is holding back on UK driving licences until the new bigger deal with Britain is approved. This deal also includes the post Brexit status of Gibraltar and its people…’
From Sur in English here: ‘Spanish government plans to charge tolls on every motorway in the country from 2024. The measure is partly to encourage people to use other, more sustainable, forms of transport and is also considered fairer as the burden of maintaining the roads will not fall on all taxpayers’.
How’s your written Spanish? Check your grammar in this test at Jot Down.
I was invited the other day to the headquarters of the Legión Española just outside Almería in Viator. There was a marching band and un desfile solemne. By chance, Colin sent me this marching song: ‘The Englishman who came from London to join the Legión’ on YouTube.
‘Plants and Flowers of the Costa del Sol’, a photographic essay at Mapping Spain here.
‘What is that Spanish black bull road sign? Anyone who has driven along a motorway in Spain for some distance will likely have spotted an Osborne bull. The little-known story of the Osborne bulls’. A report at Spanish News Today here.
Eye on Ibiza: where to stay and where to eat with Jon Clarke at The Olive Press here.
From Bygonely here: ‘What Spain looked like in the 1960s through these stunning 289 historical photos’.
Following from an advert on the advisability of subscribing to BoT to acquire knowledge of Spain.
If you plan to take the Spanish nationality test, you will need to know a bit more about this great country than what Leapy Lee has to offer.
https://nie.com.es/ Like many Spanish institutional websites, this one ‘is not secure’ (says Firefox). Anyhow, it says that those NIE numbers (for foreign residents) that start with an ‘X’ predate 2008. Those with a ‘Y’ come later. Thanks to Jake for the link.
The eccentric violinist Ara Malikian performs Misirlou (Pulp Fiction Theme) at the Circo Price in Madrid on YouTube here. .