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Hello, today is Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 

Spanish Living

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR EACH SUBJECT (THE DATE IS THE MAGAZINE ISSUE IT APPEARED IN)

 

financial advice tipsamazon 

   

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31st March 2013 Asset Filing Deadline

The potential cost of non-disclosure of overseas assets by Spanish tax resident expats could be up to 130% of the value of the assets themselves.

Any assets held overseas should be considered and where the value of these exceed 50,000 Euros in one asset class, they need to be declared by 31st March 2013 to avoid the potential tax and penalties, which the Spanish authorities could levy.

Take an undisclosed investment of 200,000 Euros, the tax on this would amount to 52% = 104,000 Euros. However, the penalty could be a further 150% of the tax which is an additional 156,000 Euros so not only would the whole asset be lost, you would still owe the Hacienda 60,000 Euros – non-disclosure simply is not worth the risk!

These new rules took effect from 1st January 2013 with a requirement for non-Spanish assets to be declared between that date and 31st March 2013. Disclosure is necessary when the total value of an asset class exceeds 50,000 Euros, so for example, if you have 3 bank accounts offshore, each of which have a balance of 20,000 Euros, don’t be fooled into thinking you are below the threshold because you are not. These are all assets held in the same asset class and are aggregated
for disclosure purposes and you will need to provide account numbers and details of the amounts held in each account as at 31st December 2012 or the average
balance over the last three months of 2012 if higher.

The different asset classes can broadly be identified as being cash on deposit, real estate, stocks & shares and collective investments. Be careful though, because if you are named as the beneficiary to any trusts, these amounts will also need to be declared because the Spanish legal system does not recognize trusts as having any legal status of their own and will look through the trust to see who the beneficiaries are.

The need to declare this information comes at a time when the Spanish tax authorities are seeking to tax Spanish tax residents on their worldwide income and to levy heavy fines when they discover that assets have not been disclosed. There is no time to delay with dealing with this matter and if you have not already done so, you should speak to your tax advisers in Spain to ensure that you are fully compliant with these rules.

With these new requirements, you should also focus your attention on whether your investments are held in the most appropriate way. For example, if you have money on deposit, which you do not need on a regular basis, either for capital or income, then the interest that you earn as a Spanish tax resident, should be declared and tax paid on it. However, by investing in a smarter way, you can avoid the need to pay any tax until such time as you draw down some of the money.

This is not complicated financial planning but simply using some tried and tested, Spanish tax compliant investment vehicles, which are designed to defer tax until you make a withdrawal.

BRITISH EMBASSY LATEST ON THE SUBJECT

The updated guidance says:

“Britain has a double taxation agreement with Spain to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. In accordance with Spanish and international law, all residents in Spain (nationals and non-nationals alike) are required to declare assets or groups of assets held outside Spain. Assets may include bank accounts, securities, rights, insurance, annuities, property, etc and the declaration is a separate exercise to the annual tax return.

“To reinforce this obligation, and as part of the Spanish Government’s recent ant-fraud law, the Government on 15 November 2012 passed a Royal Decree that requires all residents in Spain to file an annual informative declaration of assets held overseas by 31 March each year. Exceptionally for 2012 declarations, the deadline is 30 April 2013.

“Severe penalties for incorrect, incomplete or late reporting can be incurred and the legislation also means that criminal charges can be brought in the case of non-compliance. The requirement and potential penalties are in line with standard international tax practice.

“Taxation is a complex issue and it is strongly recommended that professional advice is sought. The English language page of the Spanish Tax Authority website can be found here.”

The updated guidance is intended to remind British residents in Spain of their existing tax obligations. Taxation is a complex issue and the British Embassy and British Consulates are unable to assist with any personal enquiries or provide any further detailed information about taxation in Spain. British residents requiring further help should seek professional tax advice.

 

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regular overseas payments (ROPS)

compare chartRegular Overseas payments such as mortgages, bills and maintenance or receiving a pension means you could benefit from ROPS.

If you need to send money abroad on a regular basis then The Tor FX Regular Overseas Payments service is for you. (transfers over a minimum 6 month period with monthly amounts between £500 and £10,000)

Just set up the plan and every thing is handled automatically each month for you which means you will benefit with a highly competitive exchange rate transfers, plus 0% commission, instead of the average bank rates of 3%.
For more information and/or advice on your currency transfers then please contact their agent in Spain on 672 655 931 or email: [email protected]

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save money by using the leaders in foreign exchange. TorFX is one of the UK’s leading currency brokers, providing individuals and companies with money saving foreign exchange services. March 2010

tor fx

Individuals.
Save on international money transfers in foreign currency for what ever your need. Use tor fx TorFX as they can often obtain better exchange rates of up to 3% by dealing direct with specialists who know the market to time your transaction at the best rate. You will also benefit from no charges, and fast, free international money transfers.
Protect your budget.
Why not fix your exchange rate for up to one year in advance which protects you from fluctuating exchange rates. This is especially important when buying property and you have a set budget. Remember exchange rates can fluctuate by over 30% in just a few weeks.
tor fxSecurity of Mind.
Be secure in your mind with TorFX as they operate with Barclays Bank with segregated client accounts. Plus as you would expect they are regulated by HM Revenue and Customs, members of the AIPP, and UK Money Transmitters Association. They were awarded second place in the FastTrack 100 league table of the Sunday Times in 2008.


For more information and/or advice on your currency transfers then please contact the New Business Development Team at Tor FX and they will get in direct contact with you. Email [email protected] and they will ring you back or when dialing from Spain call 00 44 1736 335292 – Always quote The ‘Olive Press Magazine in Spain’ so they’ll have an indication of your requirements. Alternatively call their agent in Spain on 672 655 931 or email: [email protected]

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The role of the lawyer in the sale of property
Carlos Prieto Cid – LAWYER March 2012

house saleIn the glorious years of the housing bubble, when everything was easily bought, lawyers played an essential role in advising buyers to purchase property with all guarantees. Now that everything is being sold, our role is still essential to prevent a sale from being frustrated by legal reasons. An ordinary person takes only very few times during his life the decision to buy or sell a property. However, there seems to be no awareness in the society that, before making this fundamental decision is wise to consult with an attorney. All the contrary, the general idea is that one should only go to a lawyer to solve legal problems and not, as it should be, to try to avoid them. That is why we lawyers often find customers that come to our office once they have already signed a contract, thinking that with a magic wand we can resolve a problematic situation, which would never have happened if they had consulted us on time. Among the professionals involved in the decision making of a real estate purchase contract, the lawyer is the only one who can give advice with the warranty that this is only his role and that is why he gets paid, with the absolute independence of the one who knows that is going to collect his fees whether the operation is performed or not. In short, the lawyer is the only professional who can calmly tell his customer: do not sign! That's why taking advice from a lawyer before signing a contract for purchase and sale of real estate is essential and the sooner you come to him, the better. In real estate market intermediaries tend to avoid the intervention of lawyers, because they think it increases the costs of the transaction and therefore it reduces their room for maneuver. But the reality is quite the opposite: the costs of our intervention are very profitable. We can actually give many examples of real estate transactions that would have failed if there had not been an immediate intervention of lawyers. The most common problems that we solve are:

• problems with the matrimonial regime applicable
• a necessary formalization of an acceptance of inheritance,
• buildings awaiting a declaration of new construction (even if they have been legal built, but not registered)
• fiscal and money laundering control problems specific to non-resident sellers or non-resident buyers,
• special powers necessary to formalize the operation, when the contract parties cannot be present at the formalization of the purchase contract…
But the range of possibilities is enormous and each of these issues can cripple sales management until making it impossible, especially at the present time, because of the lack of buyers and the oversupply of housing available to the market. Furthermore, experience in international operations with nonresident buyers or nonresident sellers is at the moment crucial, as the housing market mainly offers its stock to potential foreign buyers from countries increasing their capacity and interest in purchasing property in Spain (Russians, Swiss, Indian, Chinese, etc.)…
The failure of a real estate transaction means for the real estate brokers involved an effective cost in time, dedication, displacements and risk analysis, and these costs have no compensation if the operation is not actually performed. The causes of such a failure are often legal issues that only an attorney skilled in the art would have foreseen early enough to provide possible solutions and avoid the loss of the buyer. Or, if not feasible any of the proposed solutions, the lawyer could advise to abandon the operation on time, before incurring further unnecessary costs. Working with real estate agents or other intermediaries in the housing market is an important opportunity for business and the synergies it generates are very helpful both for lawyers and for the agencies involved, providing their common customer the benefit to be able to buy or to sell with guarantees and to mature his decision with all the necessary information.

CARLOS PRIETO CID – LAWYER
www.tarracoiuris-abogados.com

 

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MURDER IN SPAIN CASE OF GENDER VIOLENCE-ASESINATOS EN ESPAÑA DE VIOLENCIA DE GENERO

by David Piqué February 2012

barrister bearLast week an event occurred in the town of L'Hospitalet de l'Infant that shocked the entire population. The murder of two people in a downtown bar at the hands of the husband of the lady who ran the establishment. In the absence of concrete information, the investigating judge has ordered a gag, it seems that the motive which led to the brutal murders was the fact that the former wife of the alleged murderer, the owner of the bar, have begun a relationship one of the deceased, so the ex-husband, presumably because of jealousy, gave him more than fifteen stab
wounds with fatal outcome, while it is assumed the second man would have intervened to prevent the attack and in turn received multiple
stab wounds that killed him.

This horrific episode, along with the deaths of five other women in Catalonia because of gender violence so far this new year. I have performed a little research which I share here with you today, the data I have got is truly frightening, it turns out that between 2003 and so far in 2012, 610 women have died at the hands of their partners or former partners in the Spanish state, 159 women over the past 3 years, since the end of 2009 was 73, the 2010 78, 2011, 66, and five deaths have already occurred this year.
The legislature tried to solve this serious social problem and so in 2004, for 7 years now, adopted the Comprehensive Law against Gender Violence.

With a protectionist mood the results are far from that can be described as optimal and we cannot but doubt the effectiveness of law in this
field, despite the undoubted efforts invested by all agents in a direct or indirectly intervene to prevent or manage events as they occur.
Thus, the security forces treat any complaint or suggestion in this area preferentially, taking appropriate action in each case immediately, the
victim has from the start of legal aid to be served 24 hours a day 365 days a year with a lawyer, also psychological support is given throughout
the process, special courts have been enabled to process this kind of cases, and are given stringent measures of protection ... but the truth is that all these efforts are totally inadequate and that these crimes are still happening in alarming numbers.
Although this point seems to be that victims should be informed of their rights, but only 31% of cases were reported prior to the crime, nor is
there a pattern as a reference for potential risk, since the experts conclude that violence is an attack without justification on the human rights
of victims, demystifying the falsity of the myth that the murderers of women are acting under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Finally, just note that the assailants met an average of 18 years in prison and pay about 217,000 euros in compensation. Well, if there are
many who disagree that the law is designed to protect women and branded as sexist prejudice against the rights of man, the truth is that in 91% of judgments the perpetrators where males and only 9% were women, so most of the crimes are in the area gender violence and a "minority" are domestic violence, ie, the women exercised on man.
By David Piqué any legal questions can be sent to [email protected]

La semana pasada ocurrió un hecho en la vecina población de L’Hospitalet de l’Infant que conmocionó a toda la ciudadanía. En efecto, me refiero al asesinato de dos personas en un céntrico bar del municipio a manos del que había sido el marido de la señora que regentaba el establecimiento.
A falta de una concreta información, puesto que el Juez instructor ha decretado el secreto de sumario, parece ser que el motivo que propició los brutales asesinatos fue el hecho de que la exesposa del presunto asesino, la dueña del bar, habría iniciado una relación sentimental con uno de los fallecidos, por lo que el exmarido , presumiblemente a causa de los celos, le propinó más de quince cuchilladas con resultado fatal, mientras que el segundo habría intervenido para evitar la agresión sufriendo a su vez múltiples cuchilladas que acabaron con su vida.
Ese horroroso episodio, junto a la muerte de cinco mujeres más en Catalunya a causa de la violencia de genero en lo que llevamos del recién inaugurado año, han hecho que realice una pequeña labor de investigación que hoy comparto con Uds., y los datos que he obtenido son realmente escalofriantes, así, resulta ser que entre el año 2003 y lo que llevamos del año 2012, han fallecido 610 mujeres a manos de sus parejas o exparejas en el estado español ; 159 mujeres en los últimos 3 años, puesto que el balance de 2009 fue de 73, el de 2010 de 78, el 2011 de 66, y las cinco muertes que ya se han producido este año. En esta trágica suma no se pueden contabilizar las muertes de las dos personas con las que iniciaba este artículo, puesto que no se trata de mujeres asesinadas por sus parejas, si bien, la relación es obvia, puesto que el presunto asesinato se produjo a consecuencia de que la mujer iniciara una relación sentimental con una de las victimas.
El legislador trató de dar solución a este gravísimo problema social y así, en el año 2004, hace ya más de 7 años, se aprobó la Ley integral contra la Violencia de Genero, con un indudable ánimo proteccionista de la mujer a los ataques del hombre en la relación de pareja, si bien los resultados distan mucho de que se puedan calificar de óptimos y no podemos más que dudar de la efectividad de la ley en este campo, pese a los indudables esfuerzos invertidos por todos los agentes que de una manera directa o indirecta intervienen para prevenir o gestionar los episodios que se van produciendo. Así, las fuerzas de seguridad tratan cualquier denuncia o indicio en este campo de forma preferente, tomando las medidas oportunas en cada caso concreto de forma inmediata; la victima dispone desde el primer momento de asistencia jurídica que se le sirve las 24 horas del día los 365 días del año a través de abogado; también se le presta de asistencia sicológica a través de todo el proceso; se han habilitado juzgados especializados en tramitar esta clase de expedientes; se adoptan medidas rigurosas de protección… pero lo cierto es que todos estos esfuerzos son absolutamente insuficientes y que estos lamentables crimines siguen aconteciendo en números alarmantes.
Pese a que  estas alturas parece ser que las victimas deberían estar informadas de sus derechos, únicamente en el 31 % de los casos existían denuncias previas al crimen, y tampoco existe un patrón que sirva de referencia para detectar posibles situaciones de riesgo, puesto que los expertos no han podido más que concluir confirmando que la violencia de género es un atentado sin justificación de los derechos humanos de las victimas, desmitificando la falsedad del mito de que los asesinos de mujeres actúan bajo el influjo del alcohol y de las drogas.
Para finalizar, simplemente remarcar que los agresores cumplen una media de 18 años de prisión y pagan alrededor de 217.000 euros de indemnización. Y bien, si muchos son los que discrepan de que la ley se haya concebido para proteger a la mujer y la tachen de sexista en detrimento de los derechos del hombre, lo cierto es que en el 91 % de las resoluciones judiciales los autores condenados fueron varones y únicamente en el 9 % fueron mujeres, por lo que la mayoría de los crímenes en el ámbito de la pareja o la ex pareja son violencia de genero y “una minoría” son violencia doméstica, es decir, la que ejerce la mujer sobre el hombre. 

 

 

The Reintroduction of Spanish Wealth Tax - reintroduccion impuesto de patrimonio by Carlos Prieto Cid -Dec 2011

merry legal christmasA few weeks ago, US President Barack Obama announced to Congress, "This is not class warfare, it's math." If the crisis leads to a fall in revenue for public authorities, spending must either be cut or taxes increased. If we assume that governments cannot cut back on social services because the social rights they have achieved should not be touched due to the crisis, then new tax increases become necessary. Instead of raising existing taxes, the Spanish government has decided to try to maintain the level of revenue it needs by reintroducing a recently-abolished tax: the IMPUESTO DE PATRIMONIO, or Wealth Tax. This tax was never actually abolished, although the full rate was indeed scrapped in 2009 with a 100% rebate. The government has therefore simply done away with this rebate in order to reintroduce Wealth Tax.

The tax will apply from 18 September 2011, although the concession is scheduled to increase once more in 2013. This means that Wealth Tax declarations need only be submitted for the years 2011 and 2012 (due on 31 December each year). It is important to remember that non-residents are also obliged to pay this tax. Declarations must be submitted to the tax office each year together with the income tax declaration for non-residents, subject to the legislative powers of the autonomous communities (Comunidades Autónomas).
The most important changes to the rules on Wealth Tax introduced in the Real Decreto-ley 13/2011 are as follows:
1. Tax allowance on residences: the maximum rate for tax exemptions on residences (for residents) has been raised to €300,000 (previously €150,253.03).
2. Tax allowance for non-residents: unless the autonomous communities rule otherwise, the tax threshold is generally €700,000 (previously €108,182.18). This minimum exemption applies to non-residents (non-resident taxpayers).

Whether these new rules and the reintroduction of the tax will have any real impact or affect public authorities' revenues is debatable. It appears that the Socialist Party intends to make political capital through the reintroduction of a 'tax on the rich' (elections will be taking place shortly), but the real impact of the tax's reintroduction will not be able to solve the difficult situation surrounding the public finances.

CARLOS PRIETO CID – LAWYER
www.tarracoiuris-abogados.com

 

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REFLECTIONS ON THE HOUSING SITUATION - REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL ACCESO A LA VIVIENDA
by David Piqué Nov 2011

spanish housing problemsLast August the government approved a decrease in VAT in the purchase of a new home, thus reducing it by half, from the 8% that was applied in the past to the new 4%, but this reduction is only temporary and will be applied until the 31st of December.

With this measure they want not only to re-activate the construction sector which is not just hurt, but has been dead and buried for many months now and whose recuperation seems to be an impossible task right now, but, besides that, also to open up the "stock" of already constructed and prepared houses to be able to hand them over.

Well, it goes without saying that I do not agree with the measure taken, the whole thing seems to me poor, insufficient, politicized and in essence reeks of deception because frankly I doubt very much that by only reducing the VAT the situation is going to change seeing that I consider that the current problem has little to do with the type of tax. For example, for a house of about 150,000€, the price will be reduced by about 6,000€ , which means, and I don't consider myself an expert, this measure will do little to influence an improvement in this sector.

Frankly, I am surprised that more ambitious, social and above all more necessary measures have not been taken. Why don't they attempt to put the infinity of constructed and vacant houses on the rental market? Why is it that thousands of constructed houses which have never been occupied are still in the same position and deteriorating?

spanish housing problemsIn my modest opinion, it is absolutely absurd that whilst numerous families are evicted from their houses on a daily basis, on average 21 families per day only in Catalunya according to official statistics, whilst thousands of houses are deteriorating and without being sold, according to the Ministry of Public Works in 2010 687,523 houses were unsold, I suppose that it wouldn't be pessimistic of me to say that this number has done nothing more than increase in 2011.

Lastly and only to finalize this reflection on how to make access to housing more available, I would like to share with you one of the most debated pieces of news of the week in the Catalan press, the fact that the Generalitat of Catalunya disposes of 14,000 council houses distributed around Catalunya and of which 3,100 are empty right now, that is to say, one in five. Incredible, don't you think? Whilst every day families are obliged to live badly, in precarious conditions and even in the street, a mere 3,000 houses constructed with public money to be used to help those in need are closed up. Oh well, it is very ugly to criticize without offering solutions but there are situations in which it is very difficult to keep quiet.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

 

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" Unlocking your Investments" for expats in Spain Nov 2011

new life with qrops

We thought it would be useful to bring to your attention the attractions and versatility of QROPS for the UK non-resident who has come to live in Spain. In particular, for those who left the UK more than five complete UK tax years ago i.e. before 6 April 2006.

unlock your investmentA QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. It is a mechanism that allows an expat with a UK pension fund to transfer their fund to an overseas location.
QROPS have become much more accessible over the last few months as we have seen new schemes and jurisdictions open up. This has resulted in more competition accompanied by a reduction in fees and greater choice and options available for our clients.

What are the key benefits of a QROPS:
Before considering jurisdictions and costs the key benefits of having your pension fund in a QROPS as opposed to in a UK scheme include:

1. Greater flexibility of benefits – a higher lump sum can be possible if required.

2. Tax efficiency - on taking benefit from a QROPS. If structured correctly income taken will be taxed in Spain at between 1.6% and 2.6%.

3. Protection for dependents - following the QROPS member's death a lump sum or income is available. With lump sums no UK tax is payable whereas in a UK scheme tax at 55% will typically apply.

4. Greater investment flexibility.

The importance of expert advice
With schemes based in countries including Guernsey, Isle of Man and New Zealand available which is the best jurisdiction to choose? What is the best scheme to suit your particular requirements? Well that is where expert advice is required.
It is not going to come from those who "dabble" - arranging the occasional QROPS with a main motivation of making as much commission as possible from investments. Rather, it will come from experts who understand the UK pensions system in depth as well as the systems operational in the main QROPS jurisdictions.

Getting it wrong can be costly
There are for example two types of Isle of Man QROPS. One of these is totally unsuitable for residents of Spain as when income is taken a non-recoverable tax of 20% will be applied. Of the available Guernsey schemes, some are cost transparent whereas others will have you believe they are as cheap as chips (even "free") whereas the truth is rather different.

New Zealand and capital lump sums
New Zealand schemes are generally for those with smaller funds and who would prefer to receive an immediate lump sum. Funds that are left invested in New Zealand schemes are subject to tax at around 1.4% p.a. but the abolition of this tax expected later this year will suddenly make New Zealand an attractive longer term place to hold your pension fund.

For further information about QROPS and Pension Planning opportunities please email [email protected] (M: 697 557 324) or see http://www.prempensions.com and http://www.qrops.es quoting ref: OP0911

unlock your investment

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Why have good insurance?...Advertorial - Nov 2011

good insuranceGood insurance is a necessity but in general people only look at the price. I am not surprised, as the cost of living is soaring; add that to the reduced exchange rate, it is not your top priority. When it comes to insuring your motor vehicle it is a legal requirement and cheap is not always the best. You must compare the cover that you are getting and the security of the Insurance Company. Insurance for your home has possibly been reduced to "when we can afford it".

When you insure through Beneficial Insurance Services, you may not just be reducing your premiums by the competitive quotes we can give, you can be assured that the correct product has been sold. All our policies are in English and designed to cover all eventualities. We are also able to help spread the cost.
When you contact us for a quotation, you are answered by English speaking agents in a friendly, business-like manner and a quotation is usually given within 30 minutes.

good insuranceAnother area of our expertise is planning for your funeral. This is a subject that most people do not wish to talk about. So, to alleviate these worries and take the responsible approach, why not arrange and pay for a funeral plan. These Plans are designed to encompass all expenses, costs, arrangements and legal documentation. You can plan the funeral yourself, and with our help, you can make them as simple or as complicated as you wish. The plan is valid in both Spain and UK. One telephone call, day or night and your wishes are put into place immediately. The payments can also be spread over a period of time and through the Hour Glass payment system it can be as low as 70 cents per day but once started the cost is locked in at today's price.

We are also in a position to give help and advice on Pensions, unlocking your fund and the reasons for looking at QROPS.

If you require any help in any of these areas please do not hesitate to contact Beneficial Insurance Services on 961 129 215 or email [email protected]. You can also visit our web site www.beneficialspain.com.

 

 

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INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE- LA PRESTACIÓN DE SERVICIOS DE ASISTENCIA JUDICIAL INTERNATIONAL by Carlos Prieto Cid -Oct 2011

eu networkThe increasing internationalization of economic activity and therefore of our society is causing a widespread outbreak of international issues in daily life and therefore also in the life of the local court proceedings. It is nowadays very common that in a judicial procedure one or both parties are domiciled abroad, or that it is necessary to obtain judicial evidence beyond our borders along the process. When the lawyer has to formalise a power of attorney or an affidavit to certify the validity of foreign law, or when a judicial warrant is necessary for a notification to the parties abroad or for evidentiary purposes in another country, all stages of judicial proceedings may have an international element that complicates the whole procedure or, in extreme situations, makes it virtually impossible to implement.

In Europe, cooperation between member states on justice and internal security is one of the three pillars of the European Union, along with the economic community and the common foreign and security policy. Moreover, since the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the Community provisions can be applied to each of the areas concerning police and judicial cooperation as contained in Title VI of the European Union Treaty, although this "communitarisation" of the rules for police and judicial cooperation has to be agreed unanimously by the Council and ratified by all Member States. Although common European justice has never come to be developed as much as the economic and monetary union or inter-governmental coordination on foreign policy and security policy, in recent years developments in this area have become more popular and it is no longer so strange that the courts use these resources to carry out their daily activities. However, we find many difficulties for the court officials to use the European way of judicial cooperation effectively. The principle underlying the European regulations of these matters of judicial cooperation is to enable judicial officers of the member states to cooperate with each other using simple pre-established protocols, provided that, ex officio or request, that international action is considered necessary by the judge. However, without proper coordination between lawyers experienced in international litigation and the attorneys and the court officials involved, today the international judicial cooperation would be very inefficient, because the existing protocols are not always known or respected by the court officials, this provokes an avoidable waste of time and resources during the process.

If we find such a lot of inefficiencies in the framework of the European Union, what could be said about the problems caused by international judicial assistance outside the scope of European cooperation? Therefore, the procedural experience of international law firms with European or global orientation, such as the ones joining the network EUROJURIS INTERNATIONAL can be of great help when planning international processes, not just for the parties involved, who can enjoy a much more efficient service of representation in court, but also for other lawyers, who are eventually in these situations and can count on their support and specialist external advice to avoid being caught in unexpected procedural problems when entering the complex field of judicial processes initiated in their own country, but that require the processing of incidents abroad.
CARLOS PRIETO CID – LAWYER
www.tarracoiuris-abogados.com

 

QROPS FOR THE UK EXPAT IN SPAIN sept 2011

qrops

We thought it would be useful to bring to your attention the attractions and versatility of QROPS for the UK non-resident who has come to live in Spain. In particular, for those who left the UK more than five complete UK tax years ago i.e. before 6 April 2006.

A QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. It is a mechanism that allows an expat with a UK pension fund to transfer their fund to an overseas location.

QROPS have become much more accessible over the last few months as we have seen new schemes and jurisdictions open up. This has resulted in more competition accompanied by a reduction in fees and greater choice and options available for our clients.

qrops spainWhat are the key benefits of a QROPS:
Before considering jurisdictions and costs the key benefits of having your pension fund in a QROPS as opposed to in a UK scheme include:
1.Greater flexibility of benefits – a higher lump sum can be possible if required.
2.Tax efficiency - on taking benefit from a QROPS. If structured correctly income taken will be taxed in Spain at between 1.6% and 2.6%.
3.Protection for dependents - following the QROPS member's death a lump sum or income is available. With lump sums no UK tax is payable whereas in a UK scheme tax at 55% will typically apply.
4.Greater investment flexibility.

The importance of expert advice
With schemes based in countries including Guernsey, Isle of Man and New Zealand available which is the best jurisdiction to choose? What is the best scheme to suit your particular requirements? Well that is where expert advice is required.
It is not going to come from those who "dabble" - arranging the occasional QROPS with a main motivation of making as much commission as possible from investments. Rather, it will come from experts who understand the UK pensions system in depth as well as the systems operational in the main QROPS jurisdictions.

qropsGetting it wrong can be costly
There are for example two types of Isle of Man QROPS. One of these is totally unsuitable for residents of Spain as when income is taken a non-recoverable tax of 20% will be applied. Of the available Guernsey schemes, some are cost transparent whereas others will have you believe they are as cheap as chips (even "free") whereas the truth is rather different.

New Zealand and capital lump sums
New Zealand schemes are generally for those with smaller funds and who would prefer to receive an immediate lump sum. Funds that are left invested in New Zealand schemes are subject to tax at around 1.4% p.a. but the abolition of this tax expected later this year will suddenly make New Zealand an attractive longer term place to hold your pension fund.

 

 

For further information about QROPS and Pension Planning opportunities please email [email protected] (M: 697 557 324) or see http://www.prempensions.com and http://www.qrops.es quoting ref: OP0911

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PROPERTY TRANSFER COSTS - COSTES DE TRANSMISION DE INMUEBLES by Carlos Prieto Cid- aug 2011

property transfer spainYou want to buy or sell a house. Or sign it over to the children. How much will it cost? What costs does the buyer pay? These are common questions which are often pivotal when deciding whether to buy or sell a property. There are substantial costs involved and therefore, after the deduction of costs, the net price the seller receives can be considerably reduced and very different to how the seller had imagined. These costs can also lead to the final price being much higher for the buyer than originally calculated.

The parties involved in a property transfer agreement (usually a contract of sale) can in this regard decide how to share the costs; however, we will now set out what the law stipulates if the parties have not specified anything:

-Local capital gains tax on the seller. This is a percentage of the difference between the cadastral value at the time of the purchase of the property and the cadastral value at the time of the property's sale. The calculation is very complicated and it is best to request an estimation from the local council in order to be able to calculate the approximate amount yourself in advance.

-Income tax on the appreciation is paid by the seller. If the seller is not resident, the buyer is obliged to pay directly to the tax office a deposit (3% of the purchase price) to cover the tax. This sum is therefore usually deducted from the purchase price. This tax is also a percentage of the difference between the time of purchase and the declared value at time of the property's sale. This calculation is also very complicated. The 3% of the purchase price paid in advance must be calculated and the seller must as a rule pay more income tax at the end. However, in some cases this prepaid amount can be reclaimed from the tax office if no appreciation has been produced through the purchase.

-The notary's invoice (solely for the contract of sale) is paid by the buyer. The role of the notary is Spain (as opposed to other countries) is solely to authenticate the definitive contract upon which the parties have agreed in advance, usually through a lawyer. The notarial authentication of a contract of sale is not specifically required according to Spanish law, but still very important because the contract cannot be registered in the register of deeds without authentication. Registration of the buyer's new ownership in the property register is not only a guarantee for the buyer, but is also necessary in the event that the buyer (or any future owner of the property) requires finance, if the finance is depending on a guarantee from a mortgage lender. It is therefore logical that the invoice from the notary is paid by the buyer because only the buyer can benefit from the advantages of notarial authentication.

-For this reason, the cost of registering the buyer's new ownership in the property register (or register of deeds) must also be paid by the buyer.

-All costs for the preparation of the documents which must be submitted with the notarial certificate are paid by the seller (these documents are completed or verified by a lawyer). However, the cost of employing a lawyer can sometimes be shared by both parties as the lawyer also takes care of following:

Advises both parties and offers legal assistance during the course of the entire property transfer process.
Translates the wishes of both parties into legal and technical language,
Formalizes the editing of the definitive contract of sale in order to prepare authentication by the notary, and provides for the fiscal impact of the transaction for both parties to ensure that the tax is declared correctly (and as favourably as possible). However, it is always better if both parties have agreed a pre-contract, to enable the lawyer to represent the interests of both parties without any problems, as he basically develops the parties' predetermined preliminary contract of sale. If the parties have agreed nothing in advance, the lawyer can only represent the interests of one of the parties and the other party must therefore be represented by another lawyer. This is another difference in the lawyer's role in Spain compared with the role of the notary (compared to other countries). In Spain, a notary is never allowed to advise the parties. The notary is similar to an official, who enables and authenticates transactions which have already been negotiated and ensures that any tax due from the parties is claimed. In Spain, the capacity of a notary and that of a lawyer are completely separate.

CARLOS PRIETO CID – LAWYER

Tarraco Iuirs

Lawyers in Spain - Tarraco Iuris Abogados

Carlos Prieto Cid - member of Eurojuris International

Tel: 977 243 021 Fax: 977 224 103

Carrer Torres Jordi 10A, 43005 Tarragona

www.tarracoiuris-abogados.com or email: [email protected]


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HELP PAYING RENT AND MORTGAGE
- AYUDAS PARA EL PAGO DEL ALQUILER E HIPOTECA
by David Piqué

thanks mr presidentI have never liked to err on the side of pessimism and always try to be as positive as possible but these days I believe that to be fair and realistic I can only say that this recession is hitting really hard and that an improvement in the situation does not seem to be near, but on the contrary, all points to the situation becoming even worse.
As is appropriate in these times in which many families, especially young people, require help, I'm going to point out various helplines which are offered by the Generalitat of Cataluña regarding housing and also for those who have difficulties facing up to their obligations once they have managed to get their own home.
So we can find:

1.- BASIC EMANCIPATION INCOME. This is a benefit for young people between 22 and 30 years of age, Spanish nationals or members of the European Economic Community and also for non-nationals with permanent residence in Spain.

To apply, one needs to have signed a rental contract and make the benefit application within 3 months of signing said contract.

The maximum duration is 4 years or until reaching 30 years of age.
This gives the person the right to receive €210 per month towards rental payment, but one can also apply for a loan of €600 in order to pay the deposit but which must be repaid once the benefit has finalized and there is even the right to a benefit of €120, to cover the cost of a banker's reference if necessary.
If the decision of emancipation or not depends on obtaining said benefit, one can apply for a provisional benefit in advance as long as the age requirements are taken into account and once the benefit has been granted the rental contract and certificate of registration of residence (empadronamiento) must be presented, besides that, it requires the beneficiary to have been registered with Spanish Social Security for six consecutive months ( although there may be interruptions of up to a month during the 6 months period) prior to the application for the benefit or from the time of application.

Finally, the last requirement, to have an income of not more than €22,000 gross per year.

WHERE TO APPLY: At the Offices of Mediation for Social Housing Rental (Bolsas de Mediación para el Alquiler Social), Offices for Young Peoples' Housing (Bolsas Joven de la Vivienda), Local Housing Authority (Oficinas locales de la vivienda), Catalan Housing Agency (Agencia de la Vivienda de Cataluña) and the Housing and Urban Improvements Office (Secretaria de vivienda y mejora urbana).

2.-BENEFITS OF AN URGENT NATURE
This is a non-recoverable aid of a personal nature to help with unpaid rent or mortgage installments in exceptionally urgent situations in order to guarantee the permanancy in said residence of the applicant and his/her family.
Certain requirements have to be observed: Reside in Cataluña, a minimum income during the year in question, not being able to pay the rent or mortgage with some limits.

The maximum amount to be received is €3,000 and this quantity depends on the debt accumulated and according to the report of the social services.

WHERE TO APPLY: Welfare offices, Housing and Urban Improvements office, Catalan Housing Agency.
I hope dear readers, that the previous comments could be of use to you, in the case of necessity.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

David Pique Lawyers Miami Platje

David Pique

 

e-mail: [email protected]

 

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INHERITANCE TAX AND THE FREE MOVEMENT OF CAPITAL-impuesto de sucesiones y libertad de circulacion de capitales by Carlos Prieto Cid - jun e 2011

lawinheinheritanceSince the founding of the Single Market, the European Union has protected the so-called "four freedoms": the free movement of goods, capital, services and people. This means that in principle, trade between member states is therefore free from any restrictions, and EU citizens can enjoy the free movement of workers and right of residence. It also guarantees that any businessperson residing in an EU member state may also offer and provide their services in other member states, and that the transfer of any amount of funds and securities is not only permitted between member states, but also between member states and countries outside the EU. However, the exercising of the latter, the free movement of capital, can be affected when the regulations on capital tax within the EU (and even within member states) differ so greatly. This also applies to regulations on inheritance tax.

europeThe European Commission has requested Spain amend its provisions on inheritance and gift tax, which allow for a higher tax burden on non-residents and foreign assets. As can be seen from the European Commission's request in February 2011, provisions in the various Comunidades Autonomas (Spanish regions with their own legislative powers) are incompatible with the free movement of workers and capital under the terms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The commission's request was sent in the form of a complementary reasoned opinion. If the commission does not receive a satisfactory response within two months, it could refer Spain to the European Court of Justice.

In Spain, inheritance and gift tax is regulated both at national level and by the autonomous communities. In practice, regulations set by the autonomous communities mean that tax is considerably lower than under national regulations. If a gift or inheritance does not come under the jurisdiction of an autonomous community, only national regulations apply. This is particularly the case if the recipient of the inheritance or gift lives abroad or it involves foreign assets. Taxes on non-residents and foreign assets are accordingly higher.

The European Commission views this as a breach of the freedom of movement of workers and capital, which are guaranteed under the terms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 45 and 63 respectively). The commission sent Spain a reasoned opinion on 5 May 2010 (IP/10/513). Spanish legislation was amended, but is still not compatible with EU law. The commission has therefore decided to send Spain a complementary reasoned opinion, in which it requests further amendments to be made in order to achieve full compliance with EU law.
CARLOS PRIETO CID – LAWYER

 

Tarraco Iuirs

Lawyers in Spain - Tarraco Iuris Abogados

Carlos Prieto Cid - member of Eurojuris International

Tel: 977 243 021 Fax: 977 224 103

Carrer Torres Jordi 10A, 43005 Tarragona

www.tarracoiuris-abogados.com or email: [email protected]


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SUDDEN DEATHS-
TRAMITES DEFUNCION
by David Piqué may 2011

life and deathHi,
Just lately we've heard of quite a few sudden deaths locally, three in Gandesa in the last year and heard about the terrible times people have had trying to sort out paper work and payment and the like.
Sandra and myself were wondering wether David Pique could write an article on the subject, to try and make this situation clearer for people.
In the UK things happen more slowly but over here you hardly have time to die before they dispose of you.
What to ask for,type of funeral, costs, what forms you need, where to go etc. The people we know that this has happened to were totally in the dark as regards paper work, where to go and how much it would cost them, these were all sudden deaths, leaving the nearest relative in a complete dilemma.
One case in particular couldn't even afford to pay and had to borrow the costs, what happens in a case like this.
I know insurance is the answer but not everyone can afford their prices.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards Terry and Sandra.

Dear Terry and Sandra,
I'm going to try to put your minds at rest regarding the case of a supposed death and the proceedings that have to be followed.
a) Well, the first step is to obtain the death certificate. This certificate is the official document certifying death and must be issued by the doctor who treated the sick person (in cases of death as a result of illness) or any other doctor who examines the body. The issue of this certificate is free as far as paying doctor's fees, it is only necessary to pay for the form.
b) Once the death certificate has been obtained, you must register the death at the Registry Office (Registro Civil) at the place where death occurred. Regulations state that registering the death must be done within 24 hours after death has occurred. There is no charge.
c) Having completed the previous step, the next is to obtain a burial licence, said licence is issued at the registry office once the death has been registered and it allows for the body to be buried or cremated. This licence is free and issued at least 24 hours after death has occurred.
d) Next, the body has to be transferred to the cemetery or the crematorium. The funeral homes are those who take care, either together or separately, of the services of handling and preparing the body, transferring it to the chapel of rest, cemetery or crematorium and the provision of accessories such as flower garlands, dressing the body, makeup etc.
e) Lastly, once all the previous steps have been completed, comes the burial or cremation. That is to say that to do this one must have obtained the medical death certificate by registering the death at the registry office and obtained the burial licence. The same proceedings are required in the case of cremation as well as the last will and testament of the deceased which shows that the person wished to be cremated. If the relatives wish to cremate the body, this must be expressly declared to the doctor and he will include this on the death certificate.
I have tried to give a brief and general description of the steps to be taken from the moment of death up to the burial or cremation but, obviously, there are special cases that for the lack of space, cannot be included here. This might be for example, when the examining magistrate's court intervenes in the case of a violent death, how to proceed with bodies that are contaminated in some way and may be harmful, bodies whose organs have been donated to science…
In all cases, remember that if there is an insurance policy, logically the insurance company has to be informed and they will explain what steps need to be taken. If we count on a funeral home, after accepting the estimated cost, they will take charge of everything and if we apply for the free funeral service we have to provide a document from the town hall stating our lack of economic resources.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

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REFLECTIONS ON THE NO-SMOKING LAW -
REFLEXIONES SOBRE LA LEY ANTITABACO
by David Piqué April 2011

cigarette soupIt has now been two long months since the no-smoking law took effect, indeed, this controversial law came into force on the 2nd of January, thank goodness for that, because you can imagine what would have happened if it had been on the 1st of January at midnight when the night club and discothèque managers would have been forced to oblige their clients, who were celebrating the New Year, to put out their cigarettes at the moment the New Year started. I prefer not to think about the reactions we might have witnessed! Be that as it may, after more than two months implementation, and from one day to the next, we have all become accustomed to smokeless areas, although it is true that many people in the catering business have warned us of the imminent closures of their businesses due to the decrease in customers because of this law.

Personally, I do not believe that this new law is the most important reason for the lack of customers in leisure centres, bars, restaurants etc. and perhaps the serious economic crisis is the principal motive why many, instead of, for example, going out for dinner have it at home, regardless of whether they smoke or not. Nothing prevents people who go to bars and restaurants from lighting up, all they have to do is go outside to have a cigarette, although right now with the cold, perhaps it's preferable to smoke inside, but many terraces have been fitted out with heaters and in others, they provide blankets for their clients, so that they may continue to smoke outside. An interesting fact is that many have taken advantage of the necessity to go outside for a smoke and then haven't returned inside to pay for their food or drink. So now, many caterers have begun the practice, which is common in British pubs, to charge for drinks as and when they are served.

no smokingHowever, I am still surprised at the absurd fact that the sale of tobacco is not permitted in petrol stations, supermarkets, shopping centres…, or even in stands or kiosks in the street and yet, on the contrary it is permitted in discothèques, bars and restaurants, because in my opinion it is contradictory and even hypocritical to prohibit smoking in public places yet at the same time facilitate the sale of it in those places where its consumption is vetoed. Buy it, pay the tax, but smoke outside. Also, the fact that many people in the bar/restaurant business fitted their premises out so as to be able to allow smokers inside and this investment has not done them any good with the new law of total prohibition. Many people spent a fortune which they have not been able to recoup.
Anyway, that's the way things are and I suppose, dear readers, that the only thing we can do is accept the new law meekly and with discipline because if you break it, besides the lack of public spirit for disobeying the rules, you will be penalized economically.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

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LIABILITY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENTS /
RESPONSABILIDAD PATRIMONIAL DE LAS ADMINISTRACIONES PÚBLICAS
by David Piqué March 2011

lets sueEverybody knows that when one person damages another in any way, whether intentionally or by mistake, the person affected begins to think of compensation and that the person who has caused the harm has an obligation to repair the damage. We have all seen American films in which the supposed victims of diverse offences demand and obtain millionaire sums as payment for repair of the damage suffered. This trend, perhaps due to said films, has also arrived in Europe and nowadays the European courts are saturated with cases in which the objective is to claim compensation, some of them, in my modest opinion, are frankly stupid.
Perhaps it is not so common, due to ignorance, that a citizen claims when the harm has been caused by a Public Administration department or a body that depends on Public Administration although the Spanish Constitution in article 106.2 establishes that " private individuals, in the terms established by law, will have the right to be indemnified for all harm that they suffer, whether in their property/possessions and rights, except in the case of force majeure, when the damage is a result of public service operations".

In the first place, it is important to emphasize that the responsibility of the public administration department depends on whether its performance has been normal or abnormal, as long as:
1. Unlawful damage has been done to our possessions and rights, that is to say that we do not have the obligation to put up with, as for example paying taxes, which are charges we have to put up with, compliance does not mean we are entitled to be compensated but the contrary, it could mean being sanctioned; effective means the harm must be real and not potential; quantifiable, in economic terms; and finally individual that can be related to a specific person o group of persons.
2. That the damage has been caused by a local, autonomic or state Administrative Department or any other that depends on such a department.
3. That a relation exists between the activity of the administrative department and the damage caused, given that situations may arise in which the damage is shared and in which case the public administration department is obliged to indemnify according to the percentage of its responsibility.

There are an infinity of situations that give us the right to complain and receive compensation from a public administration department, as an example, if because of the bad state of the pavement we fall and injure ourselves, if driving on a road in bad condition the car breaks down, or a very common case in rural areas, if a wild animal runs onto the road and we hit it.

So my dear readers, please do not forget that if one suffers damage that could be attributed to a public administration department, one has the possibility to make a claim.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

 

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LETTER FROM A READER REGARDING
" TRAIN TROUBLES " by David Piqué feb 2011

barrister bearHi David,
This is an unusual situation. Please give me your opinion. I took a sleeper train from Granada to Tarragona but was thrown off at Castellon. I was rudely awoken by 2 police, 2 security and the ticket inspector. To cut a long story short I have included my letter here for your perusal. Basically, the reason at the time was for not wearing my shoes and socks, which I think is unhealthy whilst sleeping. I made an official complaint and it went to arbitration who did not want to deal with it. They told me to go to court etc. RENFE offered no solution, but it turns out that the inspector fabricated the facts. (See the letter) I believe that I should not pay to be abused. Hence I wrote this letter to them and stated that I will pay only at the end of a journey in future. This is my right is it not, that I don´t pay for services (journey) until I have received them in good condition (destination). I have a strong case if I present my letter in every situation do I not? What is your opinion please?
Kind regards,
Merlyn Peter
Dear Mr. Merlyn Peter,

Thank you for your enquiry to which I have the following reply.

Firstly, I wish to point out the fact that having reviewed the Railway Regulations , we have not found any specification that prohibits a passenger from travelling barefoot on a nocturnal train. However, there are general references regarding the obligation of the traveller to heed the instructions of the personnel on board.

I am surprised at the insistence of the inspector in preventing what, does not seem to be an inappropriate act, sleeping with bare feet, moreover, as you say in your letter, they were covered with a blanket, and I suppose that said insistence can only have come from the insistent complaint of another passenger.

Not knowing what the inspector's version of this matter could be, and understanding that what you have said concurs completely with the turn of events, there is no doubt that you have the right to complain and to be compensated for the suffering caused, but the complaints procedure should have been started according to the channels of administrative law being that RENFE is a body dependent on the State.

Therefore, during the period of a month since the incident took place, you should have lodged a complaint before RENFE, and in the case of being rejected, you would have been authorized to lodge a corresponding appeal before the Contentious Administrative Courts.

But, assuming that, according to some sentences, this type of affair should be aired by the civil court, the complaint would also have been rejected, seeing that more than a year has passed since the incident took place.

By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

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I´m not afraid to die - Dec 2010

beneficial spainI'm not afraid to die…. I just don't want to be there when it happens! Woody Allen
None of us will live forever, it's a fact, but making plans for your funeral can lesson the burden on your family or friends.
Although it may be a difficult chore, it is generally a good idea to pre-plan your funeral, not only does this ensure that you get the send-off that you want, but it also removes what could be a heavy financial strain on your loved ones.
It has been reported that the cost of funerals have nearly doubled in the last 10 years and many people are increasingly investing in plans at a fixed price.
Living in Spain
According to Spanish law, remains must either be (i) preserved or (ii) embalmed by an undertaker within 48 hours of the death. National undertakers usually embalm foreign nationals, as this is required should there being a need to transfer the body out of Spain.
Having the security of a funeral plan will cover the costs. A well thought out plan can easily be put together and surprisingly affordable. If you take into account the costs of ministers' fees, a coffin, cars and a plot, it's amazing how quickly it all adds up.
With all the problems of arranging a funeral, at the most stressful time and added to that the difficulty of language and the knowledge of the Spanish law, it is safe to say that a Funeral plan really is a "must have" product. A Beneficial funeral plan will take strain, with one telephone call to the 24 hour help line, it will be answered in English, your pre-planned instructions will be implemented , all the relevant parties will be contacted, including the doctor and funeral director. There will also be help, in any we can, for your friends and family.
The plan is dual country and once it has been paid in full or started on a payment plan, the price will be locked and there will be nothing more to pay.
Contact us at Beneficial Insurance Services on 961129215 or email on [email protected] for a brochure or a chat about your particular requirements.

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FREE LEGAL GUIDANCE SERVICE
- SERVICIO DE ORIENTACIÓN JURÍDICA GRATUITA by David Piqué -Dec 2010

helpOn some occasions I have dealt with the subject of the duty lawyer and free justice for those people with an economic level which does not go beyond the limits established by the regulations, seeing that in the article 119 of the Spanish Constitution it establishes free justice "in respect to those proven to have insufficient resources to go to law".

But there are occasions when what the citizen wants is not to enter into a judicial procedure but only to have simple legal advice on worrying matters and, in order to carry out this service, the Service of Legal Guidance has been created in Cataluña, (Servicio de Orientación Jurídica, SOJ) which is a public and free service with personal attention, financed by the Department of Justice and offered by the different bar associations by practicing lawyers.

The SOJ provides an initial guidance and advises on the possibility of going to court, or, if it is more convenient, to go an alternative route that may give a solution to the issue in question. In the case that the most recommendable is to go to court, the same lawyer will inform of the necessary procedures and the required documentation in order to obtain free legal assistance.

The advice given by this service is on legal matters in general, so consultations can cover all legal matters that have to do with social relations.
In some bar associations there are also services adapted to specific issues, such as that dealing with foreigners or labour situations, and is also recommended, for the solution of some conflicts, the mediation service, whose function we have already spoken about in an earlier article.

adviceLastly, I'd like to point out that for some years there has also existed the service of legal guidance in prisons, destined to give advice and guidance on specific matters to those serving sentences in Catalan prisons.

If any reader thinks this may be useful, I have added the telephone numbers of the different bar associations of our area where you can call to make an appointment in order to receive this service.

Colegio de Abogados de Reus y Falset: 977 34 08 50
Colegio de Abogados de Tarragona: 977 21 23 60
Colegio de Abogados de Tortosa, Gandesa y Amposta: 977 42 04 01

So, my dear readers, do not hesitate to call if there is some legal issue that worries you, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

 

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LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT IN SPAIN
- (EL TESTAMENTO EN ESPAÑA)
by David Piqué nov 2010

el testamentoMaking a will is the act of one person deciding on the destiny of his possessions upon his death.
In principle, a will can be made by all those who:

-As a general rule are more than 14 years old.
-Are not disabled: If the judicial sentence which declares the disability does not state whether the person concerned can or cannot make a will, the notary will appoint two doctors who will testify on this matter and will only authorize the will when these respond on the capacity of the testator.


In order to know whether the will is valid or not regarding the capacity of the testator, it should be seen at the same time that it was made. That way the testament, made by someone who was competent on the date it was made, will be validated even though the person loses their mental faculties afterwards.
There are common and special testaments and, at the same time, several types of testaments which, among the more common ones, we have the open testament, the closed and the handwritten testament. Among the special testaments we have the military, the maritime and those made abroad.
The testament which I judge to be the most recommended due to its security and easy application is the open one which, unlike the closed testament, is made before a Notary, who keeps safe the original document thus avoiding the danger of it being lost or destroyed.
The intervention of two witnesses is necessary if the testator can’t or doesn’t know how to sign, is blind, doesn’t know or can’t read the document himself or when the Notary so desires.
testamentoAll the provisions in the will can be revoked (annulled) even if the testator declares of his intention not to revoke them in the future.
It is understood that the will can be parcially or totally revoked when the testator makes a later will or when he makes a declaration before the Notary maintaining or eliminating all or some of the clauses.
This declaration must be made with the same requirements called for when making the will. That way, if more than one will has been made, the one with the latest date will be valid.
Information regarding how many wills a certain person has made in Spain, before which Notaries and on which date is provided in the so called Certificate of Last Will and Testament which can be requested at the General Register of Last Wills and Testaments which is accountable to the Ministry of Justice.
This certificate cannot be issued until 15 days have passed since the death of the person involved.
With respect to the closed testament, it is revoked when the testator opens it. Of course, whatever option is chosen, there is no doubt that it is highly recommended that we all make a will. By David Piqué. Any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct.

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ALCOHOLEMIA - ALCOHOLISM
by David Piqué -October 2010

don't drink and drive

Sadly, alcoholism is one of the main causes of traffic accidents in Spain and alcohol level controls constitute one of the biggest worries for drivers.

The measurement of alcohol depends on the concentration of alcohol in the blood or in exhaled air, that is, the quantity of grams or milligrams that exist in a litre of blood or air respectively. The maximum amount of alcohol permitted according to the administrative rules of the traffic department for standard drivers is 0,25 mg/ litre. The maximum concentration in blood is reached between 30 and 90 minutes after having drunk alcohol.

If the minimum amount permitted is 0,25mg/l, obviously exceeding this amount implies a corresponding disciplinary measure, the problem becomes worse when the limit of 0,60 mg/l is exceeded as driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is punishable under the Penal Code by the mere fact that the amount of alcohol in exhaled air exceeds 0,60 milligrams per litre (equivalent to 1,2 grams per litre in blood) whether an accident has occurred or not. Let us not forget that as this crime is punishable under the Penal Code the driver is subject to a ‘proper’ trial and is obliged to be defended by a lawyer.
In these cases, the driver is punished (if he is convicted at the corresponding court trial) with a prison sentence of 3 to 6 months or a fine of 6 to 12 months and community service from 31 to 90 days as well as a driving ban from 1 to 4 years. This crime can be added to other offences if the driver is implicated in a traffic accident, such as injuries, manslaughter, etc., as well as resulting in public liability.

It is important to remember that this matter is processed by way of a fast track trial, and if the driver declares himself guilty before the examining magistrate’s court, he could benefit from a significant advantage: a reduction of a third of the sentence. For that, it is habitual in flagrant and clear-cut cases, prior to the public prosecutor’s consent, that the driver be penalised with a reduced sentence, that is, a driving ban of 8 months plus a monetary fine.

Administrative measures: On the other hand, driving under the influence of alcohol can be penalised as a very serious administrative offence by the municipal police, Mossos d’Esquadra and other traffic authorities with a fine of up to 601.01€ and driving licence suspension for a period of 3 to 6 months.

The offence of driving under the influence of alcohol cannot be penalised by criminal proceedings and by administrative measures at the same time, so it will be dealt with firstly by the criminal court and if the judge, after the corresponding trial, gives a verdict of not guilty, it is possible that the traffic authorities begin proceedings to penalise the offence by adminstrative measures.
In short my dear readers, the most sensible thing is not to drink if you are going to drive as the consequences can be fatal.

by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to
[email protected] or
The Olive Press direct

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MEDIACIÓN FAMILIAR - FAMILY MEDIATION
by David Piqué - Sept 2010

we did itThe presence of a mediator is becoming ever more important in the areas of conflicts and among them, the family mediator is acquiring special relevance as a non-contentious way of resolving conflicts in a family environment which enable those concerned to reach an agreement beneficial to all sides with the help of an unbiased third party whose professional intervention allows for the exploration of the problem from diverse points of view suggesting solutions and, above all, reducing the obstacles of communication that on many occasions prevail when people are immersed in a family crisis. It’s not a case of winning or losing, the important point is to resolve the problem, via a fair solution for those implicated, working together and maintaining control of the procedure, making their own decision, doing away with the lawsuit in which a third party (the judge) would decide for both.

When we speak of a process of family mediation, we could find ourselves before an in- court or out-of- court process.

who moves outWith the out-of-court process, either both parties or one of them go voluntarily to a mediating lawyer or to the College of Lawyers which has at its disposal a mediation service (Reus, Tarragona and Tortosa have one), and the process is started by an informative session in which the rules and characteristics of said service are explained. This process is absolutely voluntary, so both parties are free to take it up or not and if they do take it up they can also stop the process whenever they want. Likewise, the mediator can put an end to the process if the rules are not respected or the expected finality is not reached. Another of the fundamental aspects is the impartiality of the mediator who cannot impose or take part in any concrete solution, but simply bring together both parties so that an agreement is reached. The procedure finalizes with the signing of the agreements reached, which could be in total or part depending whether there are still disagreements on any of the points of the conflict, followed by official approval or ratification by the court and where relevant followed by the contentious procedure with respect to the points for which agreement has not been reached in the cases where there is only a parcial agreement.

We have an in-court mediation procedure when it is the court that instructs both parties.

It is very important to take into account which cases are more likely to be resolved by family mediation, for that one has to deal with the existence of acceptation of the procedure, moderate levels of conflict and motivation to reach an agreement.

One has to eliminate beforehand those cases in which there are signs of the existence of previous family violence, alcohol or other drug abuse, mistreatment or child abuse, etc.
A successful mediation requires an equal power on both sides and an abused person does not have the same power.

by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to
[email protected] or
The Olive Press direct

 

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UN DÍA DE GUARDÍA DE DETENIDOS - DAY OF A DUTY BARRISTER contd.
by David Piqué July 2010

lawI hope some of you found the last article interesting in which I narrated my comings and goings on a duty-barrister day. As I couldn’t tell the rest of the tale due to a lack of space, I have no choice but to do it today. I apologize up front to those who are not interested.


Well, I commented that at the Catalan police station I first assisted a frightened young man who had been found carrying illegal substances destined for trafficking, to be precise, hashish and cocaine, and such was his desperation that he preferred to be sent to prison than to continue struggling from day to day. I managed, without much effort, to make him understand that prison is not a suitable place for anybody, and much less for someone who, because of his age, has his whole life before him. That prison does not shelter the needy neither does it resolve the problems of anyone and that he should instead begin to think about the possibility of asking for help from suitable professionals to help cure himself of the addictions that he suffered from, then once cured he would be rehabilitated back into society and could work or study. We agreed on a strategy for the following day at court and he was taken once again to his cell.


18.30 – Statements are taken from the two charged with shoplifting in a supermarket. The value of the stolen goods is under 400€, for which after the statements and at my request, they are set free.
20.00 – The person charged with domestic violence has to make a statement. Following my advice he refuses to declare to the police, and once alone, I ask him to tell me what happened. He says he has been living with his partner for two years in a rented flat in Reus and according to what was said he infers that his partner had had an affair with a colleague from work and since he had suspected this the fights between them had become quite frequent, that he only shouted and insulted but had never assaulted her. He told me that the previous early morning, when he returned home after having been with some friends, they started an argument but without telling me the motive behind it. I deducted that, as in most cases like this, alcohol also participated in the fight and after asking, he admitted that he was drunk and believes his partner was too, that they both drink to excess often and whenever they drink they always end up arguing. As I have no access to the police statement I inform him that until the following day at court, I would not have access to his partner’s version of the events.
20.45 – Finally, I assist another young man, 26 years old, who had been detained ‘in fraganti’ robbing inside a car. He doesn’t make a statement either, and when we are alone he tells me he broke a window with a stone because from the outside he had seen a purse inside the car but found that it only had some keys and some coins of 5, 20 and 50 cents inside, no more than 4€ in total but when he was about to leave he was detained by a Catalan police patrol and as he couldn’t run fast enough to escape, he was detained. He also has problems with drugs, neither does he work and his way of life consists of robberies and other minor offences and all the money he makes from this is spent on drugs. I advise him that he has no defence and the best thing to do would be to make a deal with the prosecutor. He already knows the procedure as this is the third time he has been detained so he takes my advice.
21.15 – I am summonsed for 9am the following day in court.

On the following day this was the result of the cases:
After the pertinent declaration, the judge agrees to my petition of letting free the young man charged with drug trafficking. He is obliged to put in an appearance on the 1st and 15th of each month and I would call him when a place is available for him at a detox centre. The truth is that it was no use, some days later he was caught again with drugs, this time a more significant amount, and the outcome was just as he wished, he is on remand waiting to be tried and now he has two lawsuits filed against him.
The partner of my client refused to make a statement and withdrew the accusation so the charges were dropped with both of them leaving the court in a very affectionate manner. I really hope they learned their lesson and they keep away from alcohol if the act of drinking turns their lives into an inferno.
As for the young man who shoplifted, he agreed to serve his sentence in a detox centre and if he follows the rules of the centre he will get back his liberty in about six months’ time and if the system works perhaps he will be able to rebuild his life.

Summing up, it was a day just like any other and once more I can confirm that in many cases addictions lead to crime.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to
[email protected] or
The Olive Press direct

 

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UN DÍA DE GUARDÍA DE DETENIDOS - DAY OF A DUTY BARRISTER
by David Piqué June 2010

barrister bearAll Bar Associations have a court-appointed duty service, where for 24 hours the barrister in question has to assist the people who have been detained, first at the police station and then, in most cases, at the police court.
Being considered for this duty is voluntary for barristers and it occurs approximately once a month, and if I’m being frank, for me personally, it is one of the areas of my profession that I most like, since it obviously has a great deal of social content, and besides, I tend to find myself with cases which I wouldn’t normally work with.
I’d like to explain how my most recent duty with detainees passed. As I told you, they are 24-hour duties which start at 12.01 at night and finish at 12.00 the following night. There is an agreement between the Bar Association and the law enforcement agencies in which the latter are obliged to avoid calling the lawyers from 10.00 at night until 6 in the morning except in cases of extreme urgency that require immediate attention, the Catalan police (Mossos d’Esquadra) tend to comply with the agreement but on the contrary, the local police force almost never do.
Well, returning to my last duty, which was, by the way, Friday the 30th of April, I have to say that I had a quiet night without any calls, and the day passed in the following way:
08.00: I received the first call from the Catalan Police station and was asked to later assist 5 detainees at 5pm who were in the cells. There was a drug trafficking case (hashish and cocaine), one detainee for domestic violence, two more for shoplifting in a supermarket and a last case of robbery with assault, all the offences being quite habitual. I made a note of the appointment and went to the office.
09.25: I was called by the police court and they told me a fast-track trial had been set up at 10am for drunk driving. So, without wasting time, I went to the court. Once there, the official who deals with the lawyers gave me a copy of the police statement and indicated who would be my first client of the day. It was a 47-year-old man who the previous day had been to the house of some friends for dinner, had 3 or 4 glasses of wine with the meal and a whiskey afterwards, plus 3 martinis which he added to our conversation. Well, when he was going home at about 11.30 pm, he encountered a police patrol and after taking a breathalyser test gave a result of 0.70, in this case was an offence. After having studied the statement, I told him that the established legal procedure had been followed and that our chances of obtaining an acquittal were slim so I advised him that the best thing to do would be to admit the facts and make a deal with the public prosecutor. He agreed with my suggestion and, seeing as it was the first time he had committed an offence, the prosecutor applied the minimum sentence, that is, a fine of 5€ per day for six months, confiscation of driving licence for one year and a day and thirty-one days community work. Since he had admitted to the facts a reduction of one third was applied. After appearing before the judge the agreement was validated and my client handed in his licence. The process had lasted two and a half hours.
13.00: I assisted two people charged with an offence of concealing property, whom had not been detained. The examining magistrate questioned them and afterwards told them that whilst the proceedings lasted they had to put in an appearance on the 1st and 15th of each month.
15.00: I went to the cafeteria to have a sandwich and a coffee and to put in order the morning’s statements.
17.00: As agreed previously, I presented myself at the Catalan Police station. First of all I assisted a young man of 23 who had been detained for drug trafficking. He had been caught with 15 cocaine joints and 7 pieces of hashish, prepared and ready for sale. Besides that, 480€ in small wrinkled notes had been found concealed in a bandage around his arm. I advised him not to make a statement to the police but only before a judicial authority. Following my advice, he refused to make a statement and the officers left the room so we could speak in private.
The lad was frankly worried, he told me he had no work, neither did he study, that the situation at home was very complicated, both parents were unemployed…there were problems in paying the rent and unpaid bills were accumulating. Between sobs he said that he was a habitual drug user and that he and his girlfriend consumed a minimum of 2 grams daily and financed the doses with the money obtained from selling… he was desperate because he also owed money to his supplier and didn’t know how he was going to pay, especially now that the merchandise and the money had been seized. He confessed to me that perhaps prison was his only salvation. I listened to him without interrupting and waited for him to calm down…
(I will continue the account in my next article....)
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to
[email protected] or
The Olive Press direct

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ROBO VS HURTO
ROBBERY vs PILFERING
by David Piqué May 2010

roboOne of the most disagreeable experiences that we can suffer, whether being on vacation, enjoying a day off, walking with friends or in any other situation is to go to take out your wallet and discover that it isn’t there. “How is that possible? “, you ask yourself over and over again. “I’m sure I had it in the right pocket of my trousers”. After looking in absolutely every possible part of your clothing where the wallet might be, you realise that the pleasant boy, who put his arm around your shoulder in such a friendly way, wasn’t the jovial and amusing youth he made out to be and had played a dirty trick on you! All right, without money or documentation you are left with no alternative other than to report the loss and cross your fingers that the robber takes the money and credit cards and gets rid of the wallet still containing any documentation which you may get back (which is hardly ever the case, but you never know…).
The robber doesn’t always reach his objective and in many cases fails and is detained by the police. For example, last Wednesday, 4 specialists in pilfering wallets, carrying out their mission in the Ramblas in Barcelona, ended up behind bars, but guess what? They had accumulated 240 detentions and more than 400 witness identifications and just the four of them required a small army of police to prevent them from fleecing all the unwary who happened to be walking along the Ramblas where they are lying in wait. The fact that they were sent to prison has made the news because the reality is that in most cases these acts end up practically unpunished.
The professional criminals know the law very well and that is why, in most cases, the consequences of their acts are insignificant. Let’s see why:
When our wallet is stolen without us realising it, the crime we have suffered is not counted as robbery, classified in article 237 of the Penal Code and punishable with a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years, as this means that force must have been used (breaking and entering) or aggression or intimidation towards the victims. Here we have a supposed pilfering offence, classified in article 234 of the Crime Code which punishes those who have taken something without permission of the owner, with a prison sentence of 6 to 18 months, but only if the value of the object stolen is more than 400€. Up to 400€, the fact that someone has taken our wallet with money, credit cards, documentation etc., is not a crime but a simple offence according to article 623.1 of the Penal Code and punishable with 4 to 12 days permanent localization or a fine. The people who commit an offence cannot be detained by the police but are summonsed directly by the court. Also, the act of committing an offence does not bring with it a criminal record. In short, it is a “job” which can be very lucrative for those that do it, very disagreeable for those who are the victims and the consequences of which, in the case of being caught, are not, perhaps, sufficiently tough so as to prevent those that carry out these acts from doing them time and time again.
The thief robs the tourist; the Mosso d’Esquadra (Catalan Police) detains the thief; the thief appears before a judge; the judge – seeing as it’s only a case of pilfering – let’s the thief go free who looks for another tourist to rob (sometimes to be able to pay the fine imposed by the judge)… and the cycle continues. Once, twice, three times… many times. In Barcelona there are pickpockets who have been detained by the Mossos d’Esquadra on as many as 48 occasions and time and again have been later set free to once again commit offences. And time and again the authorities have regretted that with the current legislation, they are unable to break the vicious circle which generates among the persistent offenders the sensation that in Catalonia they can act without being punished.
My dear readers, I can do no less than advise you not to be careless with your wallets for even a second and do not trust anyone unknown who stops you in the street even though they appear to be very friendly.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to
[email protected] or The Olive Press direct

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DESPIDO IMPROCEDENTE - UNFAIR DISMISSAL
by David Piqué April 2010 

unfair dismissalAnother of the consequences, perhaps the most serious, of the recession is the loss of employment. We all know of cases in the family or of friends who have been dismissed and there is no doubt that a lot of distress is caused to the family by loss of monthly income making them depend on unemployment benefit, which in Spain, unlike other European countries, has a limited duration and during which, the amount paid decreases slowly.

But we don’t always have to resign ourselves to being sacked, in many cases the dismissal will be unfair and we will have the right to claim in order to be readmitted or to be compensated according to the law. The dismissal will be unfair when the breach of contract alleged by the employer has not been proved or when the required formalities have not been carried out. We always have to remember that verbal dismissal does not exist and that the employer has the obligation to present the dismissal in writing explaining the exact cause on which it is based and determining the day on which it will come into effect. From the day mentioned, the employee will have 20 days, supposing that he/she is not in agreement with the cause of the dismissal, to submit a claim. The law demands that before submitting a claim to the Social Court, a conciliation statement is submitted to the Service of Mediation and Arbitration to try to reach an agreement between both parties.

despidoWhen the dismissal has been declared unfair, the employer, in 5 days from the date of notification of the sentence, will be able to choose between the re-admittance of the employee, with payment of salary for the time taken for the process even though the employee hasn’t worked during this time, or the following redundancy pay to be determined in the sentence:

a) Redundancy pay of 45 days’ salary for each year worked with a maximum of 42 monthly payments.
b) An amount equal to the salary no longer earned from the date of the dismissal up to the notification of the sentence for unfair dismissal or until the employee finds another job, if that were to be before the sentence is pronounced.

If the employer does not choose to pay redundancy pay or to readmit the employee, it is understood that the former will apply, unless the dismissed employee is a union representative of other workers and in this case, the employee has the option to decide.

The readmittance must be produced with the same conditions (salary, timetable, job position…) that the employee had before the dismissal.

It is important to remember that at a first instance trial there are no judicial costs, so that in the supposition that the employee doesn’t win the lawsuit, he/she will not have to pay the fees of the employer’s lawyer.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct

 

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TIPOS DE SUELO
TYPES OF LAND
by David Piqué March 2010

landToday we are going to address the legal nature of the different types of land controlled by law. We will do this generically, taking into account that in some communities there may be some variation on what is stated here.

Basically, there are three types of land, urban land, land not for development or rural land and land for development. We will now explain the principal characteristics of each:

a) Urban land: Land that is considered to be urban land is that which counts on the following basic urban services: a) road access (passable by vehicle); b) water supply; c) water drainage; d) electricity supply. In this same category can be found land that is included in areas consolidated by building which corresponds to the form and characteristics established by town planning laws. The owners of such land have the right to build on this land, with the only condition being that prior to proceeding with the construction they apply to the local administration office for the mandatory building licence. Said office will verify that the project to be built conforms to urban standards.

puzzled
b) Land not for development: Land which can be called land not for development (also called rural land) is that which includes any of the following characteristics: -Land which is subject to special protection thus preventing urban development due to its scenic, historical, archaeological, scientific, environmental or cultural value. -Land which under general planning laws is considered necessary to maintain it for its agricultural, forestry or livestock value or perhaps for its natural resources, as well as that which could be considered as unsuitable for urban development. Rural land owners have the right to use, enjoy and dispose of their terrain according to its nature, whether it be agricultural, forestry or for livestock but under no circumstances do they have the right to build on it. There are exceptions under which it is permitted to construct barns but these buildings are only destined for agricultural use (for storing machinery and fruit) and under no circumstances may be used as a legal residence.


spainc) Finally, there is land available for development, which is any land that does not come into the above mentioned categories. With this land the owners recognise not only the right to use, enjoy and dispose of it according to the rural nature of the land but also to be able to transform it into urban land.
This transformation must follow a procedure which we will refer to in future articles.


by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct

 

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DIVORCIO CONTENCIOSO
CONTESTED DIVORCE
by David Piqué FEB 2010

divorceIn our last article we dealt with the mutual agreement divorce, today we are going to examine the main characteristics of a contested or contentious divorce.
The contested divorce, as opposed to the mutual agreement divorce, is applied for by one of the spouses without the consent of the other, and is not accompanied by a settlement proposal. Neither is it necessary to state due cause, the only requirement, except in exceptional cases, is that more than three months must have passed since the marriage took place.
This process is longer and more complicated and costly than that of a mutual agreement, not only economically costly for both parties but also emotionally as its name indicates: contest = dispute = fight. The spouses do not negotiate the outcome of the divorce but try to distort the reasoning of the other in order to obtain a favourable sentence. Normally this process is also painful for the children of the marriage as they are able to perceive that not only have their parents stopped loving and respecting each other but that during the whole process of the divorce they do not hesitate to carry out certain manoeuvres which will lead to a beneficial sentence without caring about, in many cases, the moral consequences of their actions or the impact they may have on their loved ones who in many situations maintain a neutral position.
divorceThe process is initiated by the presentation of the divorce petition by one of the spouses against the other, together with the marriage certificate and birth certificates of the children as well as documentation to vouch for the financial situation of the couple in order to take measures regarding child support, maintenance, family property, etc.
Once the petition has been presented, the other party must reply in a maximum period of 20 days. It is necessary to add that in this process both parties must have their own lawyer and solicitor which doubles the legal costs. Once the other party has replied to the lawsuit, the Judge will summon them both to a hearing, at which they must attend with their respective lawyers and solicitors. If there are any children from the marriage who are minors then a representative from the Department of Public Prosecution will also be summoned to watch over their interests. In the hearing the measures to be adopted regarding the guardianship and custody of the children will be dealt with as well as visiting rights of the parent who does not have guardianship and custody, use of the family residence, child support or where relevant, maintenance. Any children over 12 years of age, with sound judgement, will also have to attend the hearing.
Finally, the Judge will pronounce sentence of the divorce with the measures to be taken and against which an appeal may be made before the provincial court.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct

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DIVORCE - DIVORCIO
by David Piqué jan 2010

divorceWithout doubt, one of the happiest days of our lives is the day we are married. Whether it be a traditional church wedding, before a judge or another competent authority, nobody will dispute the fact that it is a very special day which is hard to forget. But luckily or not, the mythical phrase “Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” is no longer like Utopia seeing that (according to statistics) one divorce is produced every 3.7 minutes in Spain.

When living together has become impossible due to a lack of love, it seems that a divorce is the solution to the problem as neither the husband nor the wife can bring about the dissolution of the marriage without pleading due cause. The only established requirement according to law is that, except in exceptional cases, more than three months have passed since the marriage took place.

divorceThere are two types of divorce. The most recommended, economic, rapid, efficient and in general the least traumatic, is that of mutual agreement which can be applied for by both parties or by only one with the consent of the other. In this case, the divorce petition must obligatorily be accompanied by a proposal of settlement on behalf of both parties and should cover the following aspects: a) who will make use of the family home and its contents; b) who will be awarded custody of the children, what visiting rights the other spouse will have as well as communication and holidays with the children; c) how each will contribute to the various financial costs (child support, any expenses derived from the marriage); e) the maintenance to be paid by one spouse to the other.
Once the petition for a mutual agreement divorce has been presented together with the settlement proposal, which must be endorsed by a lawyer or solicitor, the judge will summon them for ratification and if there are any children under the age of 12, the Department of Public Prosecution must approve the settlement so that sentence can finally be pronounced to approve the proposal of settlement.

The second type of divorce is a contested divorce which means that one of the spouses, through a lawyer or solicitor, lodges a divorce petition against the other spouse. Once the petition has been received by the other spouse, he/she will have 20 days to contest it and subsequently a hearing will be held where a judge will determine the measures to be taken according to the claims made by both parties. We will cover this process in more detail and the effects of divorce in a later article.
by David Piqué

 

any legal questions can be sent to [email protected]

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Rental Contracts - Contrato de Alquiler by David Piqué dec 2009

se alquilaNowadays when trying to obtain a mortgage it has become a mission impossible for many people so renting property has suddenly become popular. Until a short time ago, renting was thought to be an investment without return and that it was much more appropriate to purchase but now, with so many obstacles to overcome in order to obtain the necessary finance, the tenant has once more come into his/her own in which case I consider it worthy to briefly summarise rental contract details.
At present, town rentals are subject to Law 29/1994, of the 24th of November although certain points of earlier laws are applied in specific cases. This law includes the rental of town property and business premises and excludes, among others, the seasonal rental of houses and rental of rural property, even though it consists of house + room, if the main object of the contract is to make use of the land.
The duration of the rental agreement will be agreed to by both parties. But one has to bear in mind, that if the period that appears in the contract is less than five years, it will automatically be prolonged to five years if the tenant so wishes.
The obligations of the landlord are basically to hand over to the tenant the property named in the contract and maintain it in optimum living conditions. On the other hand, the tenant must pay the amount agreed to as well as any corresponding expenses, treat the property with due care, refrain from construction/building work unless authorised by the landlord, as well as taking care of small repairs whenever necessary or informing the landlord of any repairs that need to be done.
If the case arises that the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlord could lodge an official complaint before the trial court of the area in which the property is located requesting that the tenant be evicted and that the money owed be duly paid.
The rental contract and the documents which show the breach of contract should be submitted along with the official complaint, which must be presented by a lawyer or solicitor, plus a declaration from the landlord to say that he could halt the process if the tenant pays the total amount due, but this option can only be applied on one occasion.
One can appeal to the Provincial Court against the sentence passed, but the money owed must be paid up beforehand. Otherwise, the appeal will not be processed.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to [email protected]

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lawbookslaw

Small Claims Court - Monitorio by David Piqué

 

eurosIt’s not news to anyone that we are going through a bad crisis period, companies, and above all families are suffering severely from this recession. Spending decreases because people in general do not have sufficient disposable income to acquire the goods or services they wish and that previously in not-so-distant prosperous times they were able to obtain without batting an eyelid.


lawIn these economically difficult periods there is a lot of non-payment which does nothing less than aggravate the situation of those ‘lucky people’ who have found work. So many of them are fed up saying they have to think twice before accepting a job as the risk of non-payment is extremely high and if this does happen not only are they not deservedly paid for the work done, but what is worse, they have to use their own resources without getting anything in exchange.


processo legalFortunately, the law has come up with a novel solution that I personally consider to be effective, it is the Small Claims Procedure. This procedure allows the creditor to lodge, without the necessity of a lawyer or solicitor, a simple claim before the magistrate’s court which should be accompanied by the necessary documentation which shows that the debt does not exceed 30,000€


law courtThe procedure in itself is extremely simple, once the claim has been lodged before the magistrate’s court in the area of the debtor’s residence, the debtor will, in no more than 20 days, pay the creditor or present a written document before the court explaining why the debt cannot be paid. If the amount to be claimed exceeds 900€, the written document must be presented by a lawyer or solicitor. If the debtor does not pay the debt or present a written document of opposition once the 20 days have passed, he/she could have their possessions seized up to the value of the debt; on the other hand, if a document of opposition to the debt is presented, then the corresponding action will have to be considered.
In short, it is a mechanism that in practice has proved itself to be quick, easy and effective, but let’s hope we don’t have to put it to use and that we can all pay our bills without any problems.
by David Piqué
any legal questions can be sent to [email protected] or The Olive Press direct

david pique

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tor fxForward buying means that our clients can reserve their currency for a date up to two years in the future if the current rate of exchange is attractive for them to do so. We will only require 5-10% deposit on forward purchases with the remaining balance on the due date specified by the client.


If you have a view on where the market is likely to go, you can place a limit order at your desired rate. The order will be closely monitored by our dealing desk and we will guarantee you that rate if the trading rate reaches the specified level (day or night).


A limit order can be used if the client believes that the rate is likely to improve.  However, what if the rate of exchange seems to deteriorating?  Your account manager can recommend price levels for a ‘stop order’, characterized as your ‘worst case scenario’. If there is a particular rate that you deem to be your worst acceptable level, then Tor FX can work an automatic buy order that is triggered if the rate reaches that level. This mechanism protects you against a sudden adverse movement in the market.  Many clients use stop and limit orders in combination. This allows the possibility of obtaining a better rate, with the added protection against unforeseen events that can cause unexpected volatility.

torfx


Regular Overseas Payments
Tor FX also offers a regular overseas payment facility for smaller amounts of money, ideal for pension transfers and mortgage payments. This service is available on a monthly or bi-monthly basis for transfers ranging between £500 and £10000 per month.  It also cuts out the hassle of having to arrange individual transfers each month.  All you need to do is set up a standing order, and Tor FX will do the rest.  You can elect to receive the prevailing spot rate for each payment, or you can fix your exchange rate so you know exactly how much currency will reach your account each month.

tor fx


As well as providing highly competitive exchange rates on regular overseas payments, Tor FX also charge 0% commission, providing a saving on average of 3% over the exchange rates offered by high street banks. Your funds are held in a segregated client account to provide that extra bit of security and Tor FX will guarantee same day delivery of your currency. 


tor fx tableThe table left outlines the typical minimum savings achieved by using Tor FX rather than the bank. 
For more information and/or advice on your currency transfers then please contact the New Business Development Team at Tor FX and they will get in direct contact with you. Email [email protected] and they will ring you back or when dialing from Spain call 00 44 1736 335292 – Always quote The ‘Olive Press Magazine in Spain’ so they’ll have an indication of your requirements.

tor fxtor fx

[email protected]

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Blacktower Financial Management Group
‘Pension Changes’ DEC 2009

pensionsYour column where you can send in your financial questions and receive a professional answer. Please send them directly to Ian Whitby or to the editor of The Olive Press magazine and we will aim to answer as many as we can.
In 2006 the Government announced some significant changes to when and the way, in which you can take the benefits from Personal Pensions, Company schemes and State benefits.
Unlike most changes in legislation this was retrospective. Most individuals in the UK will have received confirmation from their provider that the changes are imminent. However, we have discovered a number of clients living here in Spain who have not received any notification.
This may have occurred due to changes of address not being notified to the provider.
The main changes which could impact on individuals are detailed below.
When can you take your personal pension?


By April 2010, the minimum age at which you’ll be able to take your company or personal pension will have increased from 50 to 55. You can put off taking it until age 75.
However, you may still be able to take your pension before age 55 in certain circumstances, for example if you are unable to work due to ill-health. Your pension administrator will be able to tell you what your scheme allows.


pensionOptions since 2006
Following changes made to pension rules in April 2006, there is now more choice for how and when you can take your pension benefits. But bear in mind that pension schemes are subject to individual rules so you’ll need to check with your pension administrator what your particular scheme allows.
A more generous tax-free lump sum
You can now take up to 25 per cent of the value of your total pension savings from all sources as a tax-free lump sum when you retire, up to a maximum of 25 per cent of the ‘lifetime allowance’ for that tax year.
For the tax year 2009-2010 the lifetime allowance (tested against your total pensions savings) is £1.75 million, gradually rising to £1.8 million by 2010-2011.
If your total pensions savings exceed the lifetime allowance you can take the excess as a cash lump sum, subject to a 55 per cent tax charge.
pension groupLump sums from small pension funds
If your total pension savings from all sources was £17,500 or less (one per cent of the ‘lifetime allowance’) you may be able to take the whole amount as a cash lump sum, with 25 per cent tax-free.
The limit for being able to take the whole fund in cash will gradually rise to £18,000 by the 2010-2011 tax year.
Drawing an income from your pension
You have the following options (after you’ve taken any tax-free lump sum):
use the (remaining) fund you’ve built up to buy an annuity (a regular income payable for life) from a life insurance company; this does not have to be the same company that you have your pension plan with
draw a taxable income directly from your pension fund, as an ‘unsecured pension’ before age 75
draw a taxable income directly from your pension fund, as an ‘alternatively secured pension’ from age 75 (similar to income withdrawal but with lower withdrawal limits)

retirement
If you would like more information on these changes or indeed have any questions about your Personal Finances please contact Ian Whitby at Blacktower Financial Management International

on 0034 968 959 331

or email him at
[email protected]

Remember to send in your questions!

 

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questions and answers

 

Blacktower Financial Management Group
‘Save Tax in Spain’

This is a new column where readers can send in their financial questions and receive a professional answer. Please send them directly to Ian Whitby or to the editor of The Olive Press magazine and we will aim to answer as many as we can.


coupleIn the present economic climate, people are finding it even more important to manage and reduce their tax liability. Over the centuries, whether in the UK or Spain, this has always been the case. ‘Why pay more than you need to?’

You can reduce your tax liability and increase the ‘money in your pocket’ if you have money invested in any of the following;-


-UK Bank - currently taxed at 20% at source
-Spanish Bank – currently taxed at 18% at source
-Offshore Bank -currently taxed at 20% rising to 35% in 2011


Indeed, it is worth checking any investments you hold are in the most efficient tax environment.


There are now several companies who offer Spanish approved investment bonds that are extremely tax efficient for your savings and investments.


tax savingCase Study
Mr Jones invests 50,000€ which grows by 5% to 52,500€ after 1 year. He decides to take this 2,500€ to supplement his income.


If we look at the tax to be paid on the options above and the Spanish approved investment bond the difference is startling.

tax saving

Under the Spanish approved investment bond the withdrawal is split between return of capital and gain for tax purposes.. Tax is only payable on the gain element, the majority of the withdrawal is classed as return of capital,hence a saving of over 420€. There would be no liability to tax if a withdrawal was not made.
The Spanish approved investment bond can hold a variety of investments including capital guaranteed products.


coupleA particular favourite is an investment that, up to the end of July 09 has delivered the following performance;-
1 Year 10.75%
2 Year 22.24%
In addition it has delivered 44 consecutive months of growth and importantly is not reliant or connected to stock markets.


If you would like more information please contact The Olive Press or Ian Whitby at Blacktower Financial Management on
968 959 331 or
email him at [email protected] web site: www.blacktowerfm.com
moneyBlacktower Financial Management (International) Limited is licensed in Gibraltar by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) License Number 66805B. Blacktower Financial Management Limited is authorized and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authroity (FSA)

Remember to send in your questions!

 

 

 

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questions and answers

 

 

 

Blacktower Financial Management Group
‘Don’t chance with Finance- QROPS’ sept 2009

This is a new column where readers can send in their financial questions and receive a professional answer. Please send them directly to Ian Whitby or to the editor of The Olive Press magazine and we will aim to answer as many as we can.


Confused about pensions
coupleMany individuals find pensions confusing, whilst they understand some of the tax benefits. The Financial services industry has not always helped with use of a variety of terms that seem to add more confusion. Personal pensions, Sipps, money purchase, final salary, Serps , section 226, drawdown and phased retirement are just a few that understandably cause confusion. At Blacktower Financial Management we believe in making the confusing and complicated simple, ensuring you fully understand what you currently have and importantly whether it meets your needs both now and in the future. This philosophy is important for any individual who holds a pension, the importance often intensifies for expatriates, as they feel removed from the day to day news and as a result feel even more lost in the pension minefield.


retirementHow secure is your pension?
The global recession and credit crunch have created a lot of concern around investments. An individual’s pension represents their second largest investment decision, usually their main residence is the largest.
So how secure is your pension? For many clients they are already in receipt of their pension income and there is no cause for concern. However there are risks for those who were in a final salary scheme or who have deferred pensions, generally these pensions are thought of as guaranteed. But the guarantee is only as good as the ability of the scheme to meet it, falling stock markets and increased life expectancy have put a great strain on these schemes with most being closed to new members.
All expatriates with a UK pension should review their fund carefully particularly as non residents have the opportunity to move their UK fund to an International pension.


What is an International pension?
euro houseNew UK legislation has created international pension products known as Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), in essence the scheme must mirror the UK requirements for tax free cash and income benefits. The HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) will only allow overseas transfers to schemes which have an official QROPS status. The benefits of transferring to QROPS are detailed below. Great care must be taken when considering a transfer as the HMRC are aware that some jurisdictions are promoting the scheme as a blatant way of tax evasion, Singapore was delisted by the HMRC in 2008. At Blacktower Financial Management we work closely with the authorities concerned to maximise tax advantages wherever possible.


golden eggsWhat are the benefits?
Free from UK Inheritance Tax following death even after the age of 75 (Finance Act 2008).
No requirement to purchase an Annuity – under a UK scheme a possible tax charge of 82 % is payable if an annuity is not taken by the age of 75.
Transfer of the fund to future generations upon death.
Freedom to Control Investments – the possibilities become more or less unlimited and can include antiques, jewellery, and works of art and in certain circumstances, residential property.
Flexibility to access funds at any time between the ages of 50 and 75 with the potential to access the funds outside these ages.
Access to income and capital without deduction of tax.
No deduction of tax at source although taxation will apply in accordance with the legislation governing the QROPS scheme member’s country of residence.
All of the above advantages become possible after your UK pension fund has been transferred to a QROPS and you have been a non UK resident for five complete tax years. Why wait?


retirementBlacktower Financial Management Group
Formed in 1986, the Group consists of our UK Company, Blacktower Financial Management Ltd and our International Company Blacktower International Financial Management International Ltd, who leads the field in offering independent financial advice to expatriates. We have also been awarded the prestigious title of Chartered Financial Planners, with just over 100 other Financial advice firms globally. Our UK Company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and our International Company in licensed by the Financial Services Commission in Gibraltar. Blacktower have been providing advice to expatriates on the transfer of their pension rights from one scheme to another i.e. Qrops, since they became available in April 2006.

Contact Ian Whitby , Regional Manager Costa Blanca/Calida. Office 0034 968 959 331. Mobile 0034 634 706 748.

Email: [email protected]
web site: www.blacktowerfm.com
Remember to send in your questions!

 

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questions and answersBlacktower Financial Management Group
‘Don’t chance with Finance’ Aug 09

diceThis is a new column where readers can send in their financial questions and receive a professional answer. Please send them directly to Ian Whitby or to the editor of The Olive Press magazine and we will aim to answer as many as we can.


In an increasingly complex world of finance and investments, independent, experienced wealth management advice has never been more important. The market is full of different products and solutions offering a myriad of features and benefits - but finding the right one for you can be a daunting task.
Blacktower Financial Management Group has the knowledge and experience to save you time and money by providing a bespoke service to individual and corporate clients.


Formed in 1986, Blacktower Financial Management Limited is regulated and authorized through the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK. Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited leads the field in offering independent financial advice to expatriates, and is licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. With established office in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and France, BFMI specializes in providing advice on all types of investment, pensions, life assurance and mortgages for individuals and businesses together with cross border investment and tax planning for English speaking Expatriates.
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has awarded the prestigious ‘Chartered Financial Planners’ title to Blacktower Financial Management Limited.


Chartered status is an exclusive title only awarded to firms which meet rigorous criteria to professionalism and capability. All Chartered Financial Planners commit to the CII’s Code of Ethics and Conduct reinforcing the highest standards of professional practice in their business dealings.

by the sea
Mr John Westwood, Managing Director, says: “Securing Chartered Financial Planners status is a landmark for our company, we have always prided ourselves on being thoroughly professional in everything we do, and to receive external recognition in this way is very gratifying. As Chartered Financial Planners, we reinforce our commitment to the highest levels of service to our customers.”

To date only just over 100 firms have achieved Chartered status, indicating that this is a highly exclusive award reserved for the leading firms within the financial advice market.

puzzled lookThe CII has 90,000 members in 150 countries and it the world’s largest financial services professional body. Serving the insurance, savings and financial services markets it works to enhance professional, ethical and technical standards.

Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited has a team of regulated and qualified advisers covering the regions of Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and Almeria. Our team include Ian Whitby, Dave Wallis-Powell, Lee Hodges, Chris Sidman and Carole Jackson with over 100 years experience between them, Make sure you ‘Don’t chance with Finance’

Contact Ian Whitby
Regional Manager Costa Blanca/Calida
Office 0034 968 959 331
Mobile 0034 634 706 748
Email: [email protected]
web site: www.blacktowerfm.com
Remember to send in your questions!

 

 

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The Spanish Property Inheritance Tax Time Bomb advertorial from wincham consultants JUNE 2009

YOUR HOMELOCKED HOME

WILLNon-Domiciled property owners in Spain are sitting on a ticking IHT time bomb. Most owners do not understand that their Heirs and their Estate will pay IHT in two jurisdictions, Spain and their Country of Domicile. The reason for this is that in Spain the individual inheritor is taxed whereas in other countries, like the UK, it is the estate that is taxed. This could mean that on the death of an owner the surviving partner, or the owner’s Beneficiaries, could have a Tax Bill that virtually wipes out the entire Spanish Inheritance. Added to this is the cost of Probate in both countries for the Inheritors too. Most Lawyers in Spain recommend to owners that having a Spanish Will deals with the problem; this is incorrect as a Will only deals with the issue when there is a death and does not remove Taxation in Spain.


BANK NOTESOther advice given is that double Taxation treaties between Spain and the UK help with the Tax being reduced, this is true in identical Taxes but these are not, as in the UK it is the Estate which is Taxed and in Spain it is the Beneficiaries who are Taxed. It therefore should not be assumed that one Tax can be offset against the other as they are both totally different taxes on totally different entities.


Many owners are advised to re-finance the property as IHT is not charged on the property amount if there is an outstanding mortgage and loan, but this may end up leaving the Beneficiaries with a huge debt they cannot pay off. Owning a property with your children is a favourite, this is not a good idea either as their share of the property may end being at risk through money or marital issues and if they die before the parents then the parents have to pay Taxes to get the property back too.


SPAINOur solution to the IHT problem in Spain is for the owner/s to Transfer the property to a UK Private Limited Company. There would not be a 7% Transfer tax in Spain on this transaction unlike other property transfer transactions. This method may eradicate all Taxes in Spain in the future, in respect of the property, as under EU Law a UK Company is only taxed in one jurisdiction, the UK, and no taxes are payable onwardly in Spain. A UK Company is not an Offshore Company like Gibraltar or the Isle of Man as they are charged an annual Tax by Spain of 3% for not being part of the EU Community.


Shares in the UK Company can be dealt with in a UK Will and depending on the structure of the Company; the Shares may be exempt from Inheritance Tax in the UK. A further advantage of the Company Structure is that attributable expenses such as Mortgage Interest, Council Tax Bills, Water, Electricity, Repairs and Maintenance can all be Tax Deductable by the Company; this may also include car hire and flights for the Directors.
If a purchaser wishes to acquire a property from a seller into a UK Limited company the purchaser can form a UK Limited company using the Wincham Scheme, with the seller as the Shareholder of the company, the seller can attend the Notary and instead of selling the property to the company he can Gift the property to the company. In this instance there would be no 7% Purchase Tax to the purchaser and no 3% retention to the seller.
There is a simple Sale of Shares to complete the deal. This is a simple solution costing less than most probate and legal fees in Spain when there is a death of an Owner of the property.


Wincham Consultants has been providing this service to Clients for many years. This is an exciting new opportunity to participate in and introducing a concept that can only benefit and protect Clients who are failed time and time again by both Spanish and UK professionals, as they are unable to advise on more than one jurisdiction. The Clients website is: www.winchamiht.com
This information has been provided by Mark Roach, Company Director and Professional Spanish Tax Consultant.

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NEWS RELEASE
NEW MASONIC LODGE PLANNED IN THE COSTA AZAHAR

masonic lodge
square and compassA group of British Freemasons who now live in Spain is planning to start a new Masonic Lodge based in Vinaros later this year. They are inviting Masons and people who might consider joining to get in touch so they can join the development from its beginning.
In Britain, Freemasons have adopted an open door policy in recent years to demonstrate that many myths and suspicions about the ancient brotherhood are unfounded and ill-informed. Modern Masonry in Spain is still relatively new, having been re-instated in 1987. The first English speaking lodge was formed a year later in Javea.
Two years ago, White River Lodge – which carries out its ceremonies in English – was established in Valencia and some masons from Vinaros and further north enjoyed the opportunity of continuing an affiliation they had to leave behind when they moved from Britain to Spain.
Now, with encouragement from their colleagues in Valencia, a venue has been found in Vinaros for monthly meetings once the new Lodge is formally consecrated at the end of this year.
lodgeEdward Ward, who lives in Riba Roja is to be the first Master of the new lodge and says he is delighted to be actively involved in the movement again. Edward had enjoyed sharing in a number of lodges in the Bristol area before he and his wife moved to Calatunia.
Mr Ward says; “I am delighted that we have a nucleus of people who share the same aspirations and enjoy their membership of Freemasonry. Many people who might consider joining us are reassured encouraged by the fellowship we enjoy and heartened to see sums of charity money raised to help worthy and needy causes in Spain. It is a sure sign that masonry is international.”
The new lodge will be recognized by the governing body of freemasons in Spain, the Gran Logia d’Espana, which means that fellowship will be shared with existing Spanish speaking lodges in Castellon and Tarragona. Many of their members are looking forward to the dedication of the lodge in Vinaros.
The new group is looking for Masons, former Masons and would-be initiates (new members of Freemasonry) to join them during the coming months. They are willing to answer any questions about what is involved and to welcome people to this new and exciting project.

Contact for more information:-
In Cataluna – Edward Ward
977 416 476
[email protected]

In Vinaros and Costa Azahar
– Les Beech 678 357 713
[email protected]

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EURO POUNDSACCORDING TO THE BANK OF ENGLAND- ADVERTORIAL MARCH 2009

 

 

EUROPOUND

According to the Bank of England, Britain is in a deeper recession than expected, Gordon Brown is spending money he has not got, and we are getting poorer. To hear that it will get worse before we see a light at the end of the tunnel makes for rough times ahead. This also has wide ranging effects on the global economy, including Europe and Spain in particular.


So what is the financial situation here in Spain and how does it affect us? The finance Minister confirmed that the economic policies adopted by the Spanish Government have and will not work. With 14% of the country unemployed and growing daily what is the Government going to do? What does this mean to the British still here, trying to work or find work and juggle the finances? Spanish banks have approached the crisis the same as the English banks, they have adopted the “Scrooge” approach. Keep the tax payers money and save it for ourselves. So what can you do?


For anyone who has regular money payments from the UK to a Spanish bank, currency companies can offer a better exchange rate and if you set up a monthly direct debit you may be able to negotiate a high rate over the year. For example:

EUROPOUND

CURRENCY CONVERSION


Mortgage interest rates are very high from the Spanish banks at the moment, which is affecting everyone’s financial security. On top of that with the pound weak against the Euro, pensions in Spain have become a lot less. With this in mind if you find yourself needing to re-evaluate your finances, we may have the solution to your problems. Unlike most banks in Spain we can offer a wide range of mortgage packages to suit your wants and needs. This includes mortgages for the over 60’s with no repayment. One example of a mortgage we can offer is a “Low Free Mortgage” which offers: variable interest rates from under 2.65%, 5 year fixed rates from 3.75%, up to 75% of valuation (residents), 50% (non residents). No redemption penalties for partial repayments. Low bank arrangement fee of just 0.5%. All other fees paid by the bank.

CREDIT CRUNCH
Example: €150,000 25 years repayment mortgage - 6.5% = €1,013 per month, 2.65% = €684 per month. On the example shown above you could save €328.00 per month or €3,936 per year
Our solutions are tailor made to suit you needs and requirements. We appreciate at this time in the current financial market everyone wishes to save money. We are also aware that this recession is going to last 2/3 years possibly even longer. Now is the time to re-evaluate your financial circumstances and implement a change which will help you ride out the difficult times ahead. We offer a totally confidential service and are confident that we will be able to assist you. We have over 25 years experience in the Financial Services and mortgage industry both in the UK and Spain and are therefore able to assist you in getting the right mortgage package to meet your needs. CAT INS

 

 

 

For your no obligation assessment, in the comfort of your own home, call Chris or Mary on 977 493 607. We can also assist you with Spanish Inheritance Tax Planning and all your general insurance product needs. For further information about the currency exchange companies please call us for a leaflet.

 

 

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EURO SIGN

Good news for those retiring after 2010

Changes have recently been made to the State Pensions system. In the main, these changes will only affect you if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010.

These reforms will make it easier for people who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010 to build up full State Pension provision.
These changes were introduced by the Pensions Act 2007 and the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Basic State Pension is the retirement income you can claim once you have reached State Pension age if you have paid or been treated as having paid sufficient National Insurance contributions, or received credits during your working life. Key changes to basic State Pension include:

* reducing the number of qualifying years needed for a full basic State Pension to 30 for people who will reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010
* any number of qualifying years will give entitlement to at least some basic State Pension
* people who have fewer than 30 qualifying years will get 1/30 of full basic State Pension for each qualifying year they have
* both paid and credited National Insurance contributions will count towards basic State Pension in the same way
* replacing the system of Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) with a new weekly National Insurance credit for people caring for children or severely disabled people and converting past years of Home Responsibilities Protection into years of credits.
Find out more about this
* increasing basic State Pension in line with earnings, rather than prices, which means it should rise more quickly each year than it does now. (This change will happen from 2012 at the earliest and by 2015 at the latest, and will also apply to people currently getting their state pension or who reach State Pension age before 6 April 2010)
http://www.thepensionservice.gov.uk/pensions-reform/home.asp

 

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Non-resident home sellers encouraged to claim tax rebate

Lawyers point out they were wrongly charged 35% instead of 15% capital gains

Owners selling property in Spain between 2004 and 2007 can claim

Foreigners not resident in Spain who sold a property in this country between 2004 and the end of 2006 could be entitled to a 20 per cent tax rebate from the Spanish Government. According to the Spanish law firm Costa, álvarez, Manglano & Associates, foreigners who sold their Spanish properties before 2007 paid a Non Residents’ Income Tax rate of 35 per cent on any capital gains, compared to a rate of 15 per cent paid by Spanish residents. The law firm has pointed out that this contravenes European Community Treaty rules on discrimination and was therefore unduly charged by the Spanish Government.

“This tax trap is thought to have affected hundreds of thousands of people across Europe and in the UK”, explained lawyer Emilio álvarez of Costa, álvarez, Manglano & Associates.

“A change in the law at the start of 2007, which saw the standard Capital Gains Tax for non residents being brought in line (a reduction from 35% to 15%), passed by largely unnoticed. As a result, thousands of people who had previously sold property in Spain are entitled to a 20% rebate. Due to stringent legal restrictions people who bought at the end of 2003 have already missed out, as claimants must register within four years, but thousands can still join forces and fight to get the Spanish tax authorities to pay back the money owed,” continued álvarez.

Thousands affected

Currency exchange brokers HiFX say that a conservative estimate is some 4,500 Britons could be affected and are owed an average of £8,300 each, plus interest, taking the total up to as much as £11,000.

Anyone choosing to make a claim can expect a long process, as taking this sort of case through the European courts can take three or four years.

Costa, álvarez and Manglano are offering to assist people with their claims on a no-win, no-fee basis, taking 35 per cent of the amount gained if the claimant wins. They have set up a helpline for British residents (0845 680 3849) and a website (www.spanishtaxreclaim.co.uk).

Alternatively anyone who thinks they may be entitled to a rebate is advised to find their copy of the tax form labelled “Modelo 212” and any other relevant documentation and seek legal advice.

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Spanish Wealth Tax Abolished

UPDATE JAN 09

No More Wealth Tax Although yet to be ratified, the abolition of wealth tax approved last April by the Spanish parliament will come into force in 2009. The liability for the tax has been eliminated by a 100% tax relief. The measure will apply for the Spanish tax year 2008 for which returns are due in 2009. Wealth tax is a tax on assets held as at 31st December each year. Residents are taxed on worldwide assets and receive deductions. Non-residents are taxed on Spanish assets without allowances. The tax rate ranges from 0.2% to 2.5%. There are still other taxes due on Spanish property. On buying a property in Spain one has to pay 6% transfer tax (ITP) (7% in Andalucia). If the property is a new build or a resold unregistered property there will be 7% Spanish VAT (IVA) to pay. Annual local property tax will range from £100 to £400 depending on the size of the property. There may be additional taxes in some areas for rubbish collection and special projects. If the property is let there will be a tax on the rental income. Only 50% of the net rental income of a Spanish resident is taxable at the normal scale rates from 24% to 43%. Non-residents pay 24% on gross income. On disposal of the property one is liable for capital gains tax at 18% for residents and non-residents plus a tax on the gain on the land called Plusvalia of 20%-30%.

________


The Spanish wealth tax, known in Spain as patrimonio (Impuesto sobre el Patrimonio), has been abolished by Spains socialist government, fulfilling an electoral promise made 4 years ago before the Socialists took power. The wealth tax has been abolished as of 01/01/2008, so the change does not affect tax declarations for the tax year 2007. For most non-resident property owners the tax bill for the wealth tax was never very big but for most owners will nevertheless be welcome at a time when municipal taxes, mortgage rates, and other overheads for property owners are on the rise.

For more details visit http://www.spanish-taxes.co.uk/services/spanish-wealth-tax/

Spain to change banking practices
By h.b. - May 24, 2008 - 9:29 AM
The Bank of Spain
The Bank of Spain is to join the Basel II agreement this year.
The banking system in Spain will this year adopt an international practice, known as the Basel II agreement, which will allow it to free up more assets, but will also see it penalised when it carried out high risk operations. It means that the banks will have to take greater care when granting a mortgage, and those of more than 95% of the value are expected to vanish from the market.
Each bank will now be obliged to offer greater transparency in a yearly report which explains the profile of their business and their exposition to risk.
Initially only a group of eight of Spain’s largest banks will be approved by the Bank of Spain to take part in the scheme – Santander, BBVA, Banco Popular, Banco Sabadell, Bankinter, La Caixa, Caja Madrid and the Caixa Catalunya.

 

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IF YOU WANT TO REACH EXPATS IN
CATALUNYA…THERE IS NO BETTER WAY THAN WITH CATALUNYA BIZ.


Perfect Advertising for Solar power Suppliers, independent Financial Advisors, Vets, Security, Architects, Surveyors, Translators, Insurance Agents, Removals, Travel agents, Storage, Lawyers, Builders, D.I.Y, Plumbers, Car Repairs, Tax Advisors, Air Con, Heating, Computer, Printing, Broadband, Satellite TV, Mortgages and Loans, Estate Agents, Pool Supplies, Dentists, Doctors, Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, Leisure Pursuits…etc…etc.


Looking for a business then visit our business directory online.

Catalunya biz

Please also visit our sister site for all businesses in Catalunya

www.catalunyabiz.com

_______________________________________

FOR THE DIGITAL COPY OF THE PREVIOUS PRINTED VERSIONS OF THE OLIVE MAGAZINE FROM MAY 2008 UNTIL DECEMBER 2011. PLEASE CLICK HERE OR IF YOU HAVE A CLOCKWORK INTERNET CONNECTION YOU CAN READ ALL PAST AND PRESENT MONTHS ARTICLES FROM THE LINKS ON THE RIGHT:

Please note this website has nothing to do with The Olive Press magazine from January 2012 which is under a different ownership.

The aim of the WEBSITE is to provide readers with various articles some serious some humorous so that there is something of interest for everyone. We have found since moving here from the South of Spain that there is a lack of places to promote and advertise any business you may have. We are therefore offering this WEBSITE as a solution.

We welcome any suggestions of what you would like to see in the WEBSITE. Any articles of local interest or details of upcoming events can be submitted.

We are glad to see people are visiting our web site regularly. Please check the classified and business directory pages as these are updated as and when during the month.
There is also additional subjects and information about living in spain on the web site.

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