Inheritance tax in Spain for non residents explained

The Spanish tax system is anything but simple but isn’t that the case with just about every nation’s. Unless they’re aware of it, ex-pats can make a few mistakes, especially when dealing with inheritance. If you own a property, you’ll need to know about inheritance tax in Spain for non residents.
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Spanish succession tax

The rules and the rates for Spanish Succession Tax vary depending on the relationship between the beneficiary and the donor. For example, unmarried couples pay more than married ones and step-children pay more than natural children. The region in which the inheritance is given also makes a difference to the succession tax amount, but that’s only the case if the beneficiary and the deceased resided in the same region. There are a whole other set of national rules that apply if the beneficiaries don’t live in Spain.


To make life marginally simpler, the tax authorities in Spain have put each beneficiary type into a group.

Group 1:
  • natural and adopted children under 21

Group 2:
  • natural and adopted children aged 21 and over
  • grandchildren
  • parents, grandparents
  • spouses
  • unmarried partners (only in certain regions)

Group 3:
  • in-laws and their ascendants/descendants
  • stepchildren
  • cousins
  • nieces and nephews
  • aunts and uncles
  • sisters and brothers

Group 4:
  • All others

State rules on tax

Under state rule, the surviving partner receives a tax allowance of €15,956, but there are no automatic allowances for unmarried couples. All natural or adopted children will receive the same level of allowance as surviving partners, although stepchildren are limited to an allowance of just €7,993 before tax is applied. The basic tax rate is 7.65% but this rate can increase to 34% if the beneficiary is receiving more than €797,555.

Tax liability

Each group's tax liability differs. Group 1 and Group 2 pay the basic rate of tax. The tax liability for Group 3 is multiplied by 1.5882 and for Group 4 it's multiplied by 2.

Final word

As this is far from simple and very important, seek qualified professional advice before finalising your estate.

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