Property taxes in Marbella and Spain

By Artur Loginov on

Who must pay taxes, and when should you pay them? What other costs are expected when buying, selling or owning a property in Marbella? These are frequent questions we have encountered when helping clients. Therefore, we have created a straightforward guide accessible to all who wish to be informed on tax information before moving to Marbella.

01: Purchase taxes and costs to buy a property in Marbella, Spain

Property taxes in Marbella and Spain

Let's talk about all the purchase costs a buyer needs to pay when buying an apartment, townhouse, or villa in Marbella.

Any property prices that you see no matter where, in a brochure, on the Internet or anywhere else, are all net prices to the vendor. The purchase taxes and costs must be calculated on top of the agreed price with the vendor.

The main difference lies in buying a brand-new property from a developer or a secondhand property.

Properties bought from developers are subject to VAT (10%) and stamp duty (1.2%) on top of the purchase price. The VAT must be paid on the day of the notary.

Secondhand properties are subject only to transfer tax (7%). Then it might increase, or it might not. The transfer tax can be paid up to 30 days after the notary.

For the moment, we can already see a big difference in taxes if buying from a developer or from a private individual who lives in a house. In a purchase of €2M, the difference is precisely 100.000€!

It's important to clarify that private individuals can sometimes be registered as developers and sell a home under VAT. The key to knowing if the property is subject to VAT is if it's brand new or completely reformed. If nobody lived in it, the owner is registered as a developer.

Lastly, we would like to add a further explanation about purchasing a Spanish company that owns a single asset, the property. It is a common mistake to think that if the purchase is made of the stocks of the company, the transfer taxes are not applied. When buying stocks of a Spanish company, taxes are applied, or sometimes even none, but always when it's an active company doing business. The law says that if you are buying a company that only owns one asset, a property, and has no real business activity or employees, such transaction is compared to purchasing the property itself, and therefore the same taxes as when buying a property must be applied. And the tax office has straightforward ways of identifying when such companies change hands.

What are the other costs of buying a property in Marbella, Spain?

The rest of the costs are the same both for the new or secondhand properties and are:

Lawyer fees of buying a property in Marbella.

Lawyer fees are 1% (+VAT) for a straightforward deal from the purchase price. If the purchase is for a high price or you are a regular client, some Law Firms can slightly adjust the fees. Sometimes clients prefer not to use lawyers to reduce the cost of acquiring a property in Marbella, as it is not obligatory to use a lawyer. We strongly recommend using a lawyer always. A good lawyer not only does the transaction but does an extensive due diligence prior to the purchase and an essential after-sale service.

Notary and registry fees to purchase a property.

This depends on numerous factors and is usually calculated approximately, providing only a final bill after the sale. We would estimate 0.25% for both from the asking price to be on the safe side. If the price is above €2M, the percentage would be lower, closer to 0.15% or even 0.1%.

Bank account fees when buying a property.

For transferring the funds to the vendor or issuing bankers drafts. Almost all purchases in the notary happen with banker's drafts, not transfers, and for issuing these checks or making an important transfer, the banks charge a commission. This can vary a lot, depending on the amount of payment, which bank you are using and your profile as a client. Maybe something to investigate when opening a bank account in Marbella.

Mortgage fees to buy a house in Marbella.

If you decide to buy a property in Marbella using bank financing, you might be surprised to find out that your only cost will be the property valuation. This varies from 500€ to +2.000€ depending on the size and price valuation. The rest of the costs and taxes are paid by the bank.

Technical due diligence to purchase a property.

Not obligatory at all, but good to keep in mind when acquiring a secondhand property is to check the current state of installations like air conditioning, heating system, and other details in the property. The cost may be from 300€ to +2.000€ depending on the size of the property and the amount of work to be done.

Some frequently asked questions

What fees do you pay when buying a property in Spain?
Apart from all the taxes and costs described in this article, there are no more fees to be paid by the buyer in relation to a purchase of real estate in Marbella, Spain. The vendor pays the real estate fees, together with some other taxes and costs that the vendor must pay when selling his property. It is also important to note that the taxes, costs, and fees can vary depending on which location in Spain you have decided to purchase the property.
What are the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain?

  • Not correctly calculating the costs and taxes of buying a property; therefore, we hope that this blog will serve you well.
  • Not doing the necessary paperwork in advance to authorise the fund transfers for the purchase and opening of bank accounts in Spain can result in a more extended period than might be expected. Therefore, potentially missing out on the property opportunity found due to not being able to act quickly for the payment.
  • Not using a professional lawyer. In Spain, the figure of the lawyer in a transaction is crucial in the purchase process. His responsibilities are to make the full legal and urbanistic due diligence before the payments. Preparation of all contracts for the purchase and a very extensive after-sale, including control of the taxes to be paid on a yearly basis as a new owner.
  • Not investigating in advance all the taxes you must pay as the future owner of the property.
  • And, of course, not using the right real estate agent for your purchase! At Drumelia Real Estate, we provide a highly dedicated service to our clients with 20+ years of experience. It's never been easier to get in touch!

Do I pay tax when buying a property in Spain?
Yes, when buying any property in Spain, you are obliged by law to pay certain taxes and costs to fulfil the purchase. Not paying the taxes can cause severe problems and sanctions by the tax office, so please read this blog carefully to obtain all the necessary information about taxes to pay when buying a property in Marbella. Depending on where in Spain you want to make the purchase, the taxes can vary.
What are the rules for buying property in Spain?
When buying a property in Spain, no specific restrictions or rules apply; it doesn't matter if you are a non-resident or a resident. It is essential to obtain an NIE number, open a bank account in a Spanish bank, and give special attention to the legal and fiscal due diligence in advance.

02: Property taxes for owners in Marbella, Spain

What annual taxes do you pay when you own a property in in Marbella?

All these taxes and costs are paid every year when you own a property in Marbella — calculated based on the purchase price, the location of the property (municipality), and its size and cadastral value.

Non-resident tax owning a property in Marbella

Only owners who are non-resident in Spain have to pay it. If you are a resident, you don't have to pay this tax. This tax has to be paid, whether you rent your property or you don't. Owning a property in Spain as a non-resident already implies that you need to pay it yearly. We've seen many clients who don't pay it, sometimes because they haven't heard about it. The tax authorities don't follow up on these tax payments, so you can be without paying them for quite a long time. What they do, is review if you paid the non-resident tax or not on the day that you will be selling your property. So theoretically, you can leave it for later, although that payment will also be increased with interests and other costs for not paying on time.

Wealth tax when you own a property.

  • Only applied properties that are purchased above €700,000 per person.
  • Only the net purchase amount is taken into account.
  • The quantity depends if you are a resident, a non-resident or if it's a company buying.
  • Tax % varies from 0.2% to 2.5% depending on the total wealth.

You can also ask us to do a quick estimation by clicking here and filling in the basic details of your planned purchase.

Do you want to know how the tax authorities decide if you can be considered a fiscal resident or non-resident of Spain? What effect might it have on you?

Taxes and costs related to the property that you own in Marbella.

IBI (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles).

IBI is the Municipal Spanish property tax, paid yearly, same as the other taxes. Usually, such tax varies from 1.000€ to 10.000€ but can be less or more, depending on the property. It depends on the cadastral value of the property and the municipality.

Garbage tax costs of your property in Marbella.

Tax on the garbage collection of the property, but it's a very small figure, typically under 400€ a year.

Community fees of your property in Marbella

Usually, community fees vary from 200€ to 1.000€, with some exceptions. This is not a tax but a cost-related directly to the property that you are obliged to pay. Failure in payment can even result in the property's seizure (after a long time). Villas and plots also tend to be part of a community. Rarely it is possible to find properties that are not part of any community yet and therefore have no such fees.

Other permanent costs of your home.

Electricity and water are paid monthly with a permanent contract. You have a minimum fixed amount to pay even if no consumption is done. The main part of the invoice is directly related to your consumption.

We hope you now have a better understanding of the taxes that you have to pay in Marbella after buying a property here.

Are you thinking about selling your property? Or maybe buying it? It's never been easier to get in touch, just click here, and we will be delighted to assist you in the most professional manner.

Some frequently asked questions

Do I have to pay tax on my Spanish property?
Yes, no matter if you are a resident or non-resident of Spain. If you rent the property or don't, the fact of ownership implies that you have to pay certain taxes to the Spanish Tax Authorities. They are a few, so we recommend reading this blog carefully.
Which tax is paid by the property owner?
There are several taxes to be paid as an owner of real estate in Spain. They are non-resident tax (for non-residents only), wealth tax, IBI, garbage tax, and fixed costs. You can read the full details in this blog.
 What taxes do I pay if I move to Spain?
If you decide to move permanently to Spain, you will be becoming a fiscal resident of Spain, as you will be spending over 183 days. Therefore, according to the Spanish taxation system, your worldwide income will be taxed. This varies from 19% to 47%, minus the taxes paid, if such, in the country where the income was produced. In the following blog, you can read more information about how you can be considered a fiscal resident or non-resident of Spain and its effects on you.

03: Purchase taxes to buy a plot in Marbella, Spain

Property taxes in Marbella and Spain

Are the taxes to buy a plot different from buying a villa or apartment in Marbella, Spain?

You will be surprised! We already talked about taxes for buying villas and apartments, and you would think this is similar, but it's not. It's where most clients fail to get the correct information in advance, and so many deals fail because of this, by clients backing out when they find out.

And it's straightforward, so once and for all, Drumelia is here to make your life easier! The complication lies in that the taxation of the sale of the plot is different depending on who is the owner. It also depends on who is the buyer. We will skip what will be the differences if you are a professional investor, as we presume, if It is your case, you will have an army of lawyers and fiscal advisors! Still, we will not go into that, as this information is intended for foreign new buyers in Marbella.

So, when buying a plot for individual villas in Marbella, before passing an offer or booking a viewing, ask your agent if the plot owner is a Spanish company or a private individual. If the agent doesn't know that, not good stuff, you can always enquire with us! As the difference will be significant. If owned by a private individual, the transfer tax will be 7%. If owned by a Spanish company, VAT is applied at an impressive 21% +1.2% of stamp duty. That is a 15.2% difference. If the plot is worth €1M, that's 152.000 euros more. If the cost is €3M, it could be 456.000 extra taxes, depending on who the landowner is. All the rest of the costs to buy the plot are the same as any other property. You can read it in more detail in the blog about purchase taxes and costs to buy a property in Marbella..

Are the taxes to buy a plot different from buying a villa or apartment in Marbella, Spain? You will be surprised! We already talked about taxes to buy villas and apartments, and you would think this is similar, but it's not at all. It’s where most clients fail to get the proper information in advance, and so many deals fail because of this, by clients backing out when they find out.
High-End Villa in La Zagaleta

Some frequently asked questions

Buying land in Spain, what do I need to know?
Depending on the type of plot, whether it's for individual villas, urbanizations, commercial, rural, or other, and who is the owner. The most common purchase is of plots for individual villas. In this case, the transfer can be subject to 7% or 22.2%, depending on if the vendor is a Spanish SL or a private individual. The buyer's taxes on top of any purchase price agreed upon are different. Read more details in this blog.
How much does land or plots cost in Marbella, Spain?
The price, of course, varies a lot. Depending first on location and views. Many more factors are essential in identifying the price, like privacy, sizes, inclination or the need of retaining walls, access, and many more. On a general note, speaking about Marbella, we are looking at prices between 400€ and 1.200€ per m2 even though exceptions can be found both cheaper and more expensive. You can find a selection of our plots for sale on this link and sort them by price.

04: Taxes for non-residents and fiscal residents in Marbella

Property taxes in Marbella and Spain

Differences between taxes for non-resident and fiscal residents in Marbella and how to know if you are a tax resident or not. And more importantly, can you become a fiscal resident of Spain without knowing it? Can it be automatic?

Any person buying real estate in Marbella, no matter if it's a first or second home, is subject to different taxes yearly, depending on if they are a fiscal resident of Spain or not a fiscal resident of Spain. Some factors have a decisive role in identifying you as a resident or non-resident, establishing what you must pay. Unfortunately, some clients fail to get accurate information, especially in advance, which can transform into unfortunate last-minute tax news.

Most of our clients who buy second homes in Marbella probably consider themselves non-residents or non-fiscal residents of Spain, but do you know exactly which taxes you have to pay as such? Moreover, can you be regarded as a fiscal resident of Spain and not even know about it? And what this can suppose for you? Let's dig in!

First, as a non-fiscal resident owning a property in Marbella, you still have obligations in front of the tax office every year, which are:

Spanish tax for non-residents

Whether you rent your property or don't, you still must pay this tax. Suppose you don't rent it; even though you are not receiving income from your property, in the eyes of the tax authorities, you are still benefiting from owning a property in Spain. For that reason, you have to pay an imputed income tax. If you rent your property, you have to pay income tax on the rent instead. The rate is 24%, except for Residents of the EU, Iceland, and Norway, in which case is 19%.

Spanish wealth tax

The tax is based on the net value of your property (less mortgage, if any) with a tax-free allowance of €700,000 per person.

Municipal Spanish property tax

The tax is based on the property's cadastral value, and the rate varies depending on the region.
But what happens if you suddenly become a fiscal resident of Spain, and how can it happen?
If you have been living in Spain for six months (183 days) or more of the calendar year (not necessarily consecutively) or have your main vital interests in Spain (for example, your family lives permanently in Spain or your main business and source of income is in Spain), you can be classed as a Spanish resident for tax purposes. It should be enough by only meeting one of the above.

Even if you exceeded the 183 days, but your country of the primary source of income or country where your spouse and underage children live and go to school is not in Spain, you can then prove that you are not a fiscal resident. So it's not 100% black and white.
And what effect can it have, becoming a fiscal resident of Spain?
You no longer must pay the Spanish tax for non-residents. You still must pay the wealth tax and municipal property tax. As a Spanish resident, you must pay Spanish income tax on your worldwide income (minus what you paid in the other country), and in addition, you must declare all your assets abroad worth more than €50,000. And the main inconvenience comes that the Spanish income tax starts at 19% and grows progressively up to 47% on a yearly income above 300.000 euros.

Therefore, it's good to be careful about this, especially if you're planning to buy a property in Marbella and spend a lot of time here. Of course, this is just general information; there are more things to study and consider; it's a bit of a grey area, there are exceptions like the Beckham law, but to be on the safe side, it is best to always enquire with a professional financial advisor and preferably always in advance!

And if you are interested in buying a property in Marbella, it's never been easier to get in touch! You can check our website for all contact details or send an email by clicking here.

Some questions and answers

How much is the non-resident property tax in Marbella?
The way to calculate how much you must pay for the non-resident property tax is to get the property value according to the cadastre, which can be found on your IBI receipt (green document, IBI stands for Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles). Only 2% of the total cadastre value will be subject to a tax of 24.75% yearly. So, the calculation must be = total cadastre value*0.02*0.2475.
How much time do I have to pay the property taxes in Marbella?
If you are a non-resident, the wealth tax and non-resident tax declaration must be submitted at any stage between 1st January and 31st December for the current year and paid in the following year. The Municipal property tax is paid in August-September for the current year, and if you fail to deliver on time, you will get a sanction that grows as the time passes.
How much tax do you pay in Marbella? How much is the income tax in Marbella?
The income tax is different depending on whether you are a non-resident or a resident in Spain (fiscal). For non-residents, it's a fixed percentage of 24%, excluding residents of the EU, Iceland, and Norway, for which it's 19%. For residents, the income tax percentage starts at 19% and grows progressively up to 47% for income above 300.000 euros.

05: Vendors taxes and expenses to sell a property in Marbella

Property taxes in Marbella and Spain

What are the taxes and costs of a vendor when selling a property in Marbella, Spain? What tax and cost do you pay when you sell a property? Do you want to sell a property in Marbella and are unsure what your expenses will be? It's very recommended to investigate this before putting your property for sale, sometimes even before buying a property, especially if it's an investment, so you have all the cards in advance!

Here is the complete list of taxes and expenses that you must pay when selling a property in Marbella.

Plusvalía (Capital Gain)

Every vendor must pay it (unless there is a sale loss, you can try and avoid it). It's calculated based on the years or months you owned the property times the cadastral value of the land. (Even if you own an apartment, it will be calculated on the proportion of the land on which the urbanisation stands). Usually, it's not a significant expense but something to consider.

Income tax

Only paid if you have received an income on the sale of your property, and different tax is applied if you are a nonresident (24%), resident (19%) if you are an EU/EEA citizen, or if a company (25%) is selling. All the costs you have incurred, both in the purchase and the sale (notaries, registry, lawyers, purchase taxes, agent commissions, among many others), are considered. Only the remaining difference is considered income. Also, reforms, depending on which ones, can also be considered. Of course, you need to have in hand all the official invoices for every single concept.

Real Estate fees

If you decide to use a professional real estate firm to sell your property in Marbella, you can always contact us! You don't have to use an agent, but using the right ones can increase the chances and speed of sales. In Marbella, the agent's fees in a sale process are always paid by the vendor, never the buyer, and typically are established in advance when listing the property. It's important to remember that the agent, the same as a lawyer or any other professional, must apply 21% VAT to the quantity when issuing his invoice.

Lawyer fees

Again, not obligatory to use a lawyer in the sale process, but highly recommended.

Mortgage cancellation fees

If you have a mortgage on the property all the costs and fees for cancelling the mortgage are paid by the vendor. This can be bank commission for early cancellation of the loan, notary, and registry fees for cancellation.

Retention of 3% from the sales price

This is not a tax, nor a cost, but something that we think is important to explain for a clearer picture. It must only apply when the vendor is a nonresident in Spain. The buyer, by law, must deduct in the notary 3% from the purchase price. This amount is deposited in the tax office after the title deed is signed, in the vendor's name. After the sale, the vendor can apply to the tax office to ask for the return of this amount to the vendor's bank account. The refund process can last for approximately 6 months, and eventually, the money will be deposited on the vendor's account, minus any unpaid taxes if such existed. Usually, if you had an income in the sale, the income tax will be directly deducted from the retention. Usually, the lawyers handle this. To apply for the refund, you need to wait for a minimum of one month after the title deed has been signed. Once the month has passed, the seller will have three months to submit the form to the tax office to claim the money back.

Taxes when selling a property in Marbella
Modern luxury villa for sale in La Reserva de Alcuzcuz, Benahavís

Some questions and answers

Who holds the 3% when you sell a property in Spain?
Typically, the buyer's lawyer keeps the 3% on his client's account and is responsible for depositing the money in the tax office in the vendor's name. He has up to 30 days to do so after the purchase has been made. The property that now belongs to the buyer is the guarantee of this process finalizing correctly.
Who pays Plusvalia tax in Spain?
The seller always pays the Plusvalia. If you are a nonresident, usually, the buyer will withhold this amount from the purchase price. It will be paid on your behalf after the completion of the sale.
How to sell a property in Spain?
The process starts with putting your property for sale and then choosing suitable real estate agents if you decide to do so. In parallel, it's very recommended to start investigating all your selling costs and taxes and estimate the income tax. At this stage, you need to hire a lawyer who will then represent you in the sale process. This information might help establish the final asking price at which the property will be marketed. We recommend that you control the property to be positioned on the internet correctly, always at the same asking price by everyone you instruct to sell the property.

After you get an offer for your property and the negotiation process is closed. A reservation or a private purchase contract must be prepared (we recommend using a lawyer already at this stage) with the first deposit payment you will receive. Normally nonrefundable unless some irregularities with the property are found later.

The rest of the payment is made in the notary simultaneously with the signing of the title deeds. The notary takes place around 2 months after the reservation / private purchase contract is signed in ordinary circumstances. If you have a mortgage on the property, it will be cancelled simultaneously on the same day as the notary. The buyer's funds deducted from the purchase price will cancel it. Unless you prefer to cancel it in advance but there is no particular reason for this. You have to be on top of all the taxes and costs to pay during the sale. They are described in this blog and control the changes of supply contracts of the property, like water, electricity bills, new domiciliation of the property taxes to the buyer, among others. A lawyer can help you with this. Good luck! And if you do want to use an excellent real estate agent to sell your property in Marbella, get in touch with us!

06: Taxes and costs for owners when renting a property

Own a property, but you don’t always use it and thought about renting it out? If you own a property in Marbella and are thinking of renting it out, in this blog, you can find complete information on taxes and expenses for property owners renting their property in Spain. 

As a general note, a property can be rented for a long term or short term, and the price varies significantly, being short term rentals are much more expensive.

Taxes and costs for owners looking to rent their property in Marbella, Spain

Income tax depends on whether you are a non-resident 19%(EU/EEA) and 24% (non-EU/EEA citizen) or a resident, then the tax applied is of a progressive scale doing, from 19% to 46%: the more income, the more taxes.

Taxable asset transfer levy, or TPO in Spanish, is another curious tax that no one pays, even though theoretically, it should be paid for long-term renting. Again, it is an insignificant quantity.

Agency fees, if you are using a real estate agent to rent out your property, both short or long term, then you will have to pay their fees, generally based on a “no win, no fee” concept.

For Rent

Some questions and answers

How can you decrease the income tax?
If you are an owner of a property that you rent out and receive income, you can include several deductions to reduce the part of the income that is taxed like:

  • Mortgage interests
  • Repairs and maintenance costs of the property
  • IBI, fees and other taxes
  • Money owed to you from rent
  • The community and other ordinary expenses
  • Amortization of the property
  • Home insurance
    Household supplies like water, electricity, if paid by the owner
  • Rental contract formalization expenses
  • The reduction of 60% for habitual residence – meaning that if your tenant is using the property as a permanent residence, 60% of your income is not taxed

What tax do I pay on rental income?
If you are a non-resident, you pay 19% (EU/EEA) and 24% (non-EU/EEA citizen) of your net income. If you are a resident of Spain, then your net income will be taxed on a progressive scale from 19 to 45%.
How can I avoid paying tax on rent?
You are obliged to pay tax on your net income from the rent. You cannot avoid it, but you can decrease your net income by including all the costs related to the rental that can be deducted, as explained in this blog, and the list is quite long.

We are Real Estate Experts, and we will gladly inform you and solve any query you might have.

If you would like to get in touch with us, you can reach us by clicking here! Or also on our Instagram page.

07: Taxes and costs for tenants when renting a property in Marbella

Not everything will be paying taxes at all times! In this case, is if you are a tenant and you are looking to rent a property in Marbella we have good news for you.

No taxes or costs are applied. The price you see on the internet is the price you will be paying, subject to negotiation. Real estate agent fees are generally paid by the owner, even though in some cases, when the property you are searching for is scarce on the market and several agents are involved, you might be asked for a fee from the real estate agent. You are entitled to refuse, and you should be notified about this before confirming the viewing. Also, it’s good to use a lawyer, even though you are not obliged to do so.

for rent property marbella

As a curiosity, there is a tax to be paid on the rent by the tenant which is transfer tax at a strange rate of approximately 24€ per 6.000€, but nobody does so. Theoretically, you can even be sanctioned, but it's not relevant as the payment is so small.

As a general note, especially when renting long term, you might be asked for references (tax declarations, bank statements, recommendation letters, links to info on the internet, etc.) when passing an offer on the property. Its highly recommended to provide the best references you can, as it can influence the owner to accept your proposal, vs a better proposal from a client with no references.

We are experts in Real Estate in Marbella, and we will gladly assist you with any query you might need. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us here, it's never been easier!

Artur Loginov
CEO & Partner Artur Loginov

Artur Loginov is the CEO and proud Partner of Drumelia Real Estate. He has over a decade of knowledge and…