Wednesday, 29 February 2012

‘I thought about QROPS but it’s not for me’

Maybe that is you? Something put you off?

From the correspondence I receive, from expats in Spain, the discussions I have with professional advisers and also what I read, there are lots of you in this position.

  • What are the alternatives?

  • Are you a long-term expatriate in Spain?

  • Is access to your funds an issue?

In a previous post on my Blog, I listed 26 different types of pension schemes and plans. That just seems incredible but it’s why UK pensions are so complex. The list is at;

In addition to that list there is also QROPS and QNUPS which are intended for expats to transfer their UK plans. It’s also not an exhaustive list, there could be others.

Everyone who reads this post and checks the list of schemes and plans will have their own, personal and unique circumstances. Without knowing more it’s impossible to say what’s right for YOU.

These factors need to be addressed;

  • What type of plan or plans you have
  • What is the value of each of your plans
  • Long-term or short-term expatriate
  • In your overall retirement planning, how important are your pension plans
  • What will your retirement income be with and without pension schemes
  • Your current age and when you plan to take income from your pension arrangement
  • The currency you want your income paid in
  • Given that you are UK non-resident, what is your actual tax status and when did you leave the UK
  • Nationality, Residence and Domicile

There maybe more – but YOUR circumstances are unique. Don’t let the list put you off, tackling these issues is often the catalyst for improving your situation or you might say peace of mind

With many of my posts I produce a Questions & Answers section but not on this occasion as every situation is unique. But you can ask me your questions by email. Remember though, the more you tell me the better chance I have of giving you an answer.

Additional reading from ‘Financial Pages in Spain

QROPS in 2012

Explaining Pension Terms and Expressions

Getting a Second Opinion

There is also one in particular that I would like to bring to the notice of working expats. International Pension (UK Approved)

As the advertisement says; Just Do It

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Friday, 10 February 2012

Successful and Sound Financial Planning in Spain

February 2012 : This was written in September 2010 but the principles are still the same now.

  • Carefully consider your objectives
  • Regulations in Spain are less strict, beware unregulated advisers
  • Insist on clear and unambiguous charges & commissions 
  • Understand your own ‘attitude to risk’
  • Get all advice in writing

Let me also bring your attention to some items, which in my opinion often lead to inaccurate, misleading and false information. My three least favourite comments are;

  1. ‘It was in an advert in a newspaper’
The content of an advertisement is not necessarily accurate

  1. ‘I heard somewhere that……..’
Hearsay, conversations in bars and rumours are notorious in giving misleading advice

  1. ‘They are a well known company, they must be good’
Just never make that assumption, do your homework and find out for yourself or ask me for a recommendation

Financial Planning is not an exact science and you would be amazed how many people with very different circumstances and different objectives are sold an ‘off-the-peg’ solution. Many financial advisers are in effect product salesmen. Beware 

If you want to be recommended to an adviser who will talk to you about your objectives please email me.

If the adviser does not provide clearly and openly what the charges are, it begs the question ‘What has he or she got to hide?’ It has been Financial Services Authority (FSA) policy in the UK for open disclosure of charges and commissions since 1993. Yet even FSA authorised advisers in Spain often do not disclose all charges and commissions. I see no reason why a table of charges should not be clearly set out in writing.

Good advisers are always happy to be open and will answer your requests in writing. If you would like to be recommended to an adviser please email me.

In my opinion, your attitude to investment risk is a key question that an adviser should ask. As this is not a concept you may not have heard before, the best advisers will give you examples. As most will use a Confidential Questionnaire or Fact Find, they can explain the concept based on your needs and desires.

Never be afraid to ask questions and expect answers. Of course if you ask an adviser a technical or obscure question he or she may need to seek clarification themselves. But always insist on your questions being answered.

If you have already been given advice, I am happy to give you a SECOND OPINION without any obligation or fee. Just email me with a copy of the advice

* * * * * * *

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Please take note of the points in this article.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Financial and Legal Spanish to English Translations

A Comprehensive List of Terms & Expressions used in Spain

This check list is something you may want to keep for future reference and pass on to your nearest and dearest! Even those with good Spanish language skills might need this.

Abogado – Lawyer
Acta de notoriedad – Legal act or document
Acta notarial – Notary’s certificate (debts)
Actos juridicos documentados – Title registry
Agrupacion de Fincas – Group of country properties
Alta Castral - Land Registry inscription
API ( Agente de la Propiedad Immobilaria) – Official Estate Agent
Arrendamiento de obra – Building contract
Asiento de presentació- Provisional property inscription at the land registry
Boletin de engache – Supply report containing information on how much power and water a property is allowed
Cancelació -Cancellation
Cedula de habitabilidad – Habitation certificate
Certificación – Certification
Certificado bancario de devisas – Foreign currency bank certificate
Certificado final de obra – Building completion certificate
Código civil – Civil rights
Cómision de urbanismo – Building commission
Comunidad de propietarios – Community of owners
Condición resolutoria – Condition to cancel a contract
Condición suspensiva – Condition to postpone a contract
Contrato de arrendamiento – Rental contract
Contrato de opció- Optional contract, with the right to buy a property, usually with a 10% deposit
Contrao privado de compraventa – Private purchase contract
Copropietarios – Co-owner, when several people own a property together
Cuerpo cierto – Non variable condition. A condition that cannot be changed
Cuota – Instalment charges
Declaration de obra nueva – New build certificate
Demarcacióde Costas – Coastal
Derecho de retención – Deposit paid to the Onternal Revenue office if you are a Non Resident in Spain
Derecho de superficie – Land management rights
Derecho de tanteo/retracto – Purchasing rights enabling you to reserve an object which you may wish to purchase at a later date
Edificabilidad maxima – Construction limits
Embargo – Repossession
Escritura – Deeds
Escritura publico de compraventa – Public sale deeds
Fianza – Deposit
Finca – Country property
Finca registrada – Registered country property
Hacienda publica – Internal Revenue
Hipoteca – Mortgage
IBI ( Impuestosobre bienes immuebles) – Real Estate Tax
Impuesto de actos juridicos documentados – Documented legl acts tax, that is paid to lawyers
Impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales – Property transfer tax, 6-7% of the indicated sum on the escritura
Impuesto sobre construcciones, instalaciones y obras – Construction and istallation tax
Impuesto sobre el patrimonio – Wealth tax
Impuesto sombre sucesiones y donaciones (ISD) – Succession and gift tax 
Impuestos municipals – Local tax
Información urbanistica c?dula – Urban planning department
Institución de heredero – Appoint an inheritor
IRPF – Income tax
Ley de arrendamientos urbanos – Local rental laws
Ley de la propiedad horizontal – Horizontal property tax
Ley del suelo – Floor area regulations
Licencia de obras – Building permission
Licencia de primera ocupación – First occupation licence
NIE ( número personal de identificación de extranjeros) – Non Spanish personal identification number
NIF (número de identificación fiscal) – Fiscal identity number (company)
Nota simple informitava – Land register certificate – local search
Notario – Official authorised to certify contracts
Obligación personal – Obligation to pay tax as a resident
Ocupación maxima – Maximum occupancy
Parcela – Plot
Perito – Expert
Permiso de obra menor – Minor building permission
Plan parcial – Urbanisation plan
Planta – Floor or level
Plusvalia – Value added tax
Poder – Authorisation
Posesión – Possession
Precio de venta – Sales price
Procurador – Barrister
Promotor – Promoter
Propiedad – Property
Propietario – Owner
Proyecto de ejecución de obras – Building execution
Recepción definitiva – Construction completion
Registro de la propriedad – Land Register
Representante fiscal – Fiscal representative (financial representative)
S.A.(Sociedad Anónima) – Association
S.L.( Sociedad Limitada) – Limited Company
Saneamiento – Reconstruction
Segregación de fincas – Country property positioning
Separación a linderos – Distance between plots
Servidumbre de tránsito – Accessibility
Solar – Building plot
Suelo no urbanizable – Non building plot
Suelo rústico – Non permanent floor
Suelo urbanizable – Building land or plot
Suelo urbano – Urban area
Tarjeta de residencia – Residence card
Tasa – Fee
Toma de posesión – Take possession
Traspaso – Transfer
Urbanización privada – Private urbanisation
Uso de oficinas – Office use
Usucapción – When you obtain a plot for the period of time allocated by the courts
Usufructo – Rights of use
UTM – Plot number at the land register
Valor catastral – Land register value
Valor comprobado por la administración – Amount checked by Internal Revenue
Valor real – Real estate value
Zona de servidumbre de protección – Accessibility protected area. 

If you have any queries, please email me

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Spain - A tax haven?

When I was planning to buy a house in Spain, a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that, in tax planning terms, the UK was a good place to accumulate wealth, including pensions and Spain was great for retiring and spending the wealth. Some Budgets and political shifts have affected this, but largely it is still true.

·        Professional advice needed
·        How can I benefit?
·        You need to establish Tax Residency

At a time when Governments, across Europe, are increasing taxes, it is vital the effective tax planning is undertaken so that you do not pay more than your fair share, whilst also resisting any temptation to get caught by tax evasion. This article on the difference between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion refers to some of the issues.

Minimising your tax liability and staying legal is best explained in my recent post on ‘Getting Financial Advice’

It is, however, essential for tax planning and taking advantage of the Spanish system, it is must that your tax adviser, takes into account, all of your financial plans. If you would like a comprehensive review of your finances, please email me

The key issues are;

  • Residential status and domicile
  • Where your assets are held
  • The nature and source of your current and future income

I have come across financial advisers who could not even distinguish between residency and domicile, when I checked the advice they gave one of my readers I was horrified. There are still advisers giving misleading, bogus and poor advice. Please don’t get caught out. It is imperative that you seek out a professional adviser. I can help if you need me to recommend the right advice if you email me.

Also I had correspondence from a reader who has plans to move to Spain when he and his wife retire. They approached one of the most recognised and leading International Financial Advisers operating in Spain, via their London HQ. Before they could even be ‘granted’ an appointment this firm wanted £1,000 up front!

I never recommend advisers who charge up front fees

Spain can be a tax haven but you will only benefit through sound professional advice. Please ask for a referral by email

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

January 2012 Review - Financial Pages in Spain

At the end of the calendar month, I thought I would reflect on the main issues and topics on ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ during January.

  • QROPS in 2012

  • Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion

  • Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD)

These are the issues that contributed the most feedback. I’m always pleased to receive emails either to seek further advice or to comment on my articles.

Using the statistics provided by my service contractor, I can also indicate the most popular posts in terms of the number of people who visited the pages. They were, in order;

  1. QROPS in 2012

2012 is going to bring some momentous changes to the QROPS arrangements and rules. The draft regulations relating to QROPS published recently have the potential to completely change the QROPS landscape. It is becoming accepted that there is likely to be little by way of alteration to the draft regulations and QROPS jurisdictions are looking to adapt with effect from the 6 April 2012 implementation date.

I shall use this Blog to continue to keep up to date as decisions are made or you can email me for something related to your own circumstances

  1. Tax avoidance and Tax evasion

      Tax Evasion - Definition
      Unlawful attempt to minimise tax liability through fraudulent techniques to circumvent or frustrate tax laws, such as deliberate under-statement of taxable income or wilful non-payment of due taxes.

Tax Avoidance - Definition
Lawful minimisation of tax liability through sound and perfectly legal financial planning techniques.

Whereas tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not. The subjects are covered in the following post;

3.  Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD)

The question ‘why didn’t anyone tell us?’ is probably the one I get asked most often. One of the key objectives of my blog is to provide INFORMATION. I do not and will not take advertisements from financial companies. I give links only to offers and services which I have used myself or I have tested.

* * * * * * *

Financial Pages in Spain continues to grow, as I can see from the statistics. Whilst Spain and UK dominate the views of both the Website and Blog, there have been readers from many other countries including Germany, New Zealand, Malta and USA.

Any issues which arise can be answered on an individual basis if you email me. I’m happy to receive questions from anywhere but my real expertise relates to the UK and Spain.

I am happy to take suggestions from readers about future articles. Please email me with your own ideas or issues that you think need raising.

REMINDER from Financial Pages in Spain

I’ve owned property in Spain since 2002 and hate to think how much I’ve wasted on exorbitant bank charges on foreign exchange of the years! ( Do high Bank charges pay for high Bank bonuses?)

So I’ve linked up for a new foreign exchange service. It is available in any major currency around the world but doesn’t offer cash transactions. This is a bank to bank arrangement and is priced to beat the major banks.

But you can test it for yourself! Get a quote from your normal supplier, and then get a quote from La Torre Fx.

Even on a transfer from the UK branch to the Spanish branch of my own bank, I made a big saving using La Torre Fx. It costs nothing to get a quote. But if it’s a better deal for YOU the application process is quite straightforward. Check here

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain