Inheritance Tax Ruling Spanish Supreme Court

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled over a case, where a Canadian beneficiary of a Spanish resident wasn´t allowed the inheritance tax allowances of the region where the deceased resided.

Going back to the end of 2014, when the EU Court of Justice ruled that the discrimination between EU residents and non-residents with regards to Spanish inheritance tax was illegal, Spain was obliged to change its inheritance law and it did, with the new law coming into effect on January 1st 2015. We reported about it then, and encouraged those who had been affected by the discriminatory taxation before that date, to start proceedings to get the excess payments refunded.

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What Spain neglected to include in the new tax regulation was that beneficiaries living outside the EU, with a connection to one of the the Autonomous Regions, either through the location of inherited assets or because the deceased resided there,  should be treated without discrimination as well and should be allowed to benefit of the tax allowances of that Autonomous Region.

The Supreme Court has now ruled in favour of the beneficiary, living in Canada (see intro, ruling 19.2.2018) and obliged the State to amend the tax regulation with regards to inheritances and donations, again, to include those living outside the EU as well.

The State has also been sentenced to return the difference between the inheritance tax paid and the tax that was due taking into account the regional allowances. This opens the way for those in similar situations, going back 4 years, to start proceedings to get the excess inheritance tax refunded.


If you are affected and would like further information or to talk to lawyers on this matter, email us:

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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