US citizen paying taxes in Spain

Spanish: Basics section                     (Home / Travel / Moving to Spain / Taxes in Spain)
Spanish: First tax filings section
Spanish: Basic software and sites section
Spanish: Income tax (IRPF; Renta WEB) section
Spanish: Wealth tax (Patrimonio, 714) section
Spanish: Foreign assets declaration (720) section
Spanish: ETE (Encuesta sobre Transacciones Exteriores) declaration section
Spanish: Inheritance and gift taxes (Impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones) section
Spanish: Other tax filings section
US: Federal income tax return (1040) section
US: Other federal tax filings (FBAR, FATCA) section
US: State tax return section
Deadlines section
Miscellaneous (Spanish Pension, Renouncing US citizenship) section

I am not a lawyer or accountant; this is not legal advice or tax advice; use at your own risk.

If I reside full-time in Spain, as a USA citizen with money in US bank accts, earning no money in Spain, having no assets or bank accts in Spain, will Spain tax me ?
Answer is: Yes. Spain taxes worldwide income of residents.

If I reside full-time in Spain, as a USA citizen, will USA tax me ?
Answer is: Yes. USA taxes worldwide income of citizens.

The type of visa or residency you have (work, non-lucrative, etc) does not affect your tax status. If you're tax-resident in Spain, you have to file tax returns in Spain.

If you're US citizen married to Spanish citizen, you can file jointly or separately in Spain, and jointly or separately in USA. You don't have to file the same way in both systems.

I think there are two sets of agreements between USA and Spain: a Social Security Totalization agreement (which prevents a worker having to pay SS tax twice, and handles coordination of SS benefits if retiree worked in both countries), and a Tax Treaty (which tries to avoid or compensate for double taxation of other taxes, not SS tax).
SSA's "U.S. International Social Security Agreements"
IRS's "Spain - Tax Treaty Documents" (and follow link to Treasury Dept)
IRS's "Claiming Tax Treaty Benefits"

What I do:

I file my taxes as resident of both countries, and resident of New Jersey. I do this because I still have mailing address in NJ, voter registration there, driver's license there, US bank accounts using that address, credit card using that address.

For me, it doesn't matter because I'm a retiree with lots of savings but very little income, so my taxes are very low. I do pay a bit of wealth tax to Spain. Later it may become more of an issue as I start drawing taxable income from IRA's and 401K's and Social Security. Maybe I'll try to sever my NJ state residency at that point.

Found a good description for myself: I'm "self-unemployed".

Spanish: Basics

I think: file at least the income tax and worldwide assets declaration each year, even if you owe no tax and have few assets. Get it on record that you are complying with requirements and have nothing to pay or little to declare.

From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
It is imperative that every Spanish resident file an annual income tax return in Spain. This is despite any other advice you may have heard to the contrary. The Hacienda take a very dim view of Expats living in Spain and not fully declaring their worldwide assets and income for tax in Spain. There are heavy penalties for non-compliance, and it is key that you file a return even if you have minimum income as it demonstrates your tax residency correctly. This can be especially important for foreign national Spanish residents such as ourselves when the determination of where we are resident for tax purposes is important.

Basic ID numbers:
Need a Numero de Identidad Fiscal (NIF) to pay your taxes.
From NIE Number Online's "NIF Number":
"For foreigners in Spain, the NIF (fiscal identity number) and NIE (identity number for foreigners) are interchangeable, because the numbers will be the same ..."
From SpainExpat's "NIE, DNI, NIF, CIF, Social Security":
"Once you have an NIE, you do not need to re-apply for an NIF; if and when you have to pay taxes, use your NIE number."
Agencia Tributaria's "NIF (Personal Tax ID) of Individuals"

A gestor who does accounting/taxes is a "gestor de contabilidad".

Spanish: First tax filings

If you establish residency in Spain late in the calendar year, do you have to file your first tax returns for that tax year, or for the first tax year in which you spend more than 183 days in Spain ?

From ExpatFocus's "Spain - Registration and Residency":
Residency in Spain is also linked to tax and if you meet certain criteria it is known as 'fiscal residence'. If you are in the country for more than 183 days of a calendar year you are considered to be resident and liable for taxes, regardless of whether or not you have the residence permit. This is mainly for those who travel between countries. If you go to Spain with the intention of spending the majority of your time there you could be considered to be liable for taxes immediately. Those who apply for the residence permit should be aware that this is considered to be evidence of intent to remain and will count against the individual if they try to claim that they are not liable for taxes.

From LawyersSpain's "Changes to the Spanish Residency Law for Tax Purposes":
According to a ruling issued by the Spanish Supreme Court at the end of November 2017 and recently released and published, the criteria for determining the tax residency of an individual in Spain will no longer be the one implemented until now by the Spanish Tax Office. According to the changes, the time effectively spent in Spain will be the sole criteria for establishing tax residency and the taxation of an individual.

The criteria for the actual days spent in Spain, which is 183 days, was being used up until the implementation of the new changes, however, the Tax Office was also taking into consideration other factors. For example, the sporadic stays in other countries and the intention or will to reside abroad. The recent changes eliminate all and any subjective component that might have affected the calculation of the taxes for individuals according to residency.

Agencia Tributaria's "Persona fisica residente en España"

Live in Spain but avoid being tax-resident ?
Some people say the US/Spain tax treaty gives a way to avoid being tax-resident in Spain: keep your "vital interests" or such in USA. And supposedly this means you can be physically resident in Spain while not being tax-resident.

File IRS form 8802 to get another form (6166) to get certification from IRS.

Maybe it means you can't be on the padron, can't use Spanish NHS, etc.

Transferwise's "Paying income tax in Spain"

Articulo 9 of BOE's "Ley 35/2006" mentions only the 183-day and "spouse and children habitually live in Spain" tests for residency.

Agencia Tributaria's "¿Cuando una persona fisica se considera residente en España?, y ¿cuando no residente?" adds a third test, "the main nucleus or the base of its activities or economic interests reside in Spain directly or indirectly".

An odd article, but it lists some specific cases that were decided: DMS Consulting's "SER O NO SER ... residente fiscal en España. He aqui la cuestion"

Spanish: Basic software and sites

Agencia Tributaria's "Electronic Office"

Richelle de Wit's "How to Subscribe to Electronic Notifications Tax Office ?" (Notifications require Java)
Richelle de Wit's "Modelo 030 To Register With Agencia Tributaria"

My experience with various basics:

Agencia Tributaria's Appointment system

Spanish: Income tax (Impuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Fisicas, IRPF)

Filed by June 30 each year, for previous year. Basic form is form 100.

From Taxes For Expats's "U.S. Income Tax Return Preparation and Advice for American Citizen (Expatriates) Living in Spain":
Tax residents will need to pay income taxes in Spain and are generally defined as those who reside in Spain over 183 days in each calendar year and/or have their main financial interests in Spain. However, in many cases you only need to file a tax return in Spain when you make more than €22,000 per year, receive a rental income of more than €1,000 and/or receive a capital gains and savings income of more than €1,600.

From Experts for Expats' "Tax in Spain for Expats":
At the most basic level, Spanish tax residents are liable for to pay income tax on their worldwide income, once personal allowances have been taken into account.

However, a non-resident of Spain is only required to pay tax on any Spanish income (such as rental income from a Spanish property). The income tax for non-residents (Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes, IRNR, form 210) is charged at a fixed rate and there are no personal allowances or deductions.

Some people say you can be "immigration resident" or "physically resident" in Spain but "tax resident" or "fiscally resident" only in USA, so avoid paying Spanish income tax:

See Article 4 of the US-Spain tax treaty (PDF).

Each year, file form 8802 (and $85) with IRS to get form 6166 from them, which certifies that you are federally tax resident in USA.
IRS's "Form 6166 - Certification of U.S. Tax Residency"
IRS's "Form 8802 - Application for United States Residency Certification" (PDF)
IRS's "General Instructions for Form 8802"

After getting US form 6166, do you file a Spanish income tax return, or just skip it ? Have to file US form 6166 with Hacienda ?

But from SBS's "Income tax Spain":
Personal income tax in Spain is levied on a resident individual's global income from any source. Typical examples of such are: Salary income, Subsidies received, Professional income, Capital gains, Interest payments, Rental income.
An individual would be considered to be a resident in Spain for personal income tax purposes if he/she remains in the country for more than 183 days in one calendar year. ...

Are USA Social Security benefits taxable by Spain ?

Bottom line: yes.

Related question: are distributions from 401K's and IRA's taxable by Spain ?

On US income tax return, from FindLaw's "Social Security: Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States":
If you file a Federal income tax return as an "individual" and your combined income is $25,000 to $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. "Combined income" means your adjusted gross income plus nontaxable interest plus one-half of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income is over $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits.

From Taxes for Expats' "Social Security & Expat Taxes":
"Social Security payments originate from the US and can therefore not be claimed as part of a FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion)."

From Tax Partners' "Where should pay taxes Americans pensioners retired in Spain":
... with regard to pensions paid by the Social Security of the United States, as provided in Article 20.1 b) of the Tax Treaty, they may be subject to tax in the United States. In Spain, this pension is also subject to tax, taxed as employment income, for the full amount under the Personal Income Tax Act.

In this respect, the art. 24.1.a) of the Convention provides for the avoidance of double taxation, that "when a resident of Spain derives income which, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, may be taxed in the United States based on criteria other than citizenship, Spain allow deduction of tax on income of that resident an amount equal to the tax paid in the United States"

Therefore, with respect to pensions paid by the Social Security of the United States, Spain has the obligation to eliminate the double taxation which could arise. In other words, the tax payer must include the benefits of Social Security paid by the United States in the annual income tax return but can deduct from the tax payable in Spain, the tax paid in the United States in respect of such Social Security pension.

Asked Madrid embassy FBU about taxation of SS benefits, and they responded: "For questions on taxes please contact the IRS."

From IRS's "Income Tax Convention with Spain" (PDF):
Article 20 section 1(b):

"social security benefits paid by a Contracting State to a resident of the other Contracting State or a citizen of the United States may be taxed in the first-mentioned State."

[Which may mean US SS benefits are taxable ONLY in USA.]
Various people say this is true, US SS benefits are taxable only in USA.

From comments on U.S Tax Consultant's "2017 Tax Information Newsletter 01":
> Doesn't Article 20 section 1(b) of
> treaty (PDF) mean that
> US Social Security benefits are NOT taxable in Spain ?

I am sorry, but that it is not my understanding. You need to read first the Article 20 1.a which very clearly states that pensions and similar remunerations, SS benefits seems to me that falls under this category, are taxable in Spain. The Treaty contains a "Reservation clause" (Article 20.1 b) according to which the United States reserves the right of taxation on the SS Benefits, on its citizens and residents as if the Convention were not in force. The imposition taken in the United States by a resident of Spain on the basis of the criteria of citizenship does not give right in Spain to apply in the IRPF deduction by Double international taxation. If the United States taxes any income by making use of the "reservation clause" established for its citizens, double taxation has to be avoided by United States. So, you can only recuperate the taxes paid with the IRS Foreign Tax Credit, which means that you must file the IRPF first so you can have the deduction in your 1040. You cannot claim in Spain the deduction of the taxes paid in the USA.

Anyway, I am sure you know that the Spanish IRPF Law requires that all residents in Spain must report worldwide income, which includes Foreign pensions: "Todo residente fiscal en Espana debe declarar en su IRPF por su renta mundial, con independencia de la procedencia de sus ingresos. Es decir, debera declarar en Espana las rentas que obtenga en cualquier parte del mundo, sin perjuicio de lo que se disponga en el Convenio para evitar la doble imposicion internacional suscrito entre Espana y el pais de origen de la renta".

The AEAT has an information document, I have only found it in Spanish, which summarizes some of the articles of the Treaty and how they are interpreted: Agencia Tributaria's "Residentes Fiscales en España con Rentas Procedentes de Estados Unidos" (PDF).
My reading of that information document:
Yes, looks that way to me, taxed by both countries. Relevant text is:
1. En general, las pensiones privadas solo se someteran a imposicion en Espana.

2. Sin embargo, los pagos realizados bajo el regimen de la Seguridad Social de Estados Unidos, a un residente de Espana o a un ciudadano de los Estados Unidos, pueden someterse a tributacion tambien en Estados Unidos, en cuyo caso el contribuyente residente tendria derecho a aplicar en Espana en el IRPF la deduccion por doble imposicion internacional, siempre que dicha renta haya sido sometida a imposicion en Estados Unidos con base en criterios distintos del de ciudadania.

From someone on Facebook 6/2017:
I had questions about filing my Spanish tax return and so I made an appointment with Hacienda in Barcelona, and took my U.S. tax return with me. Using my U.S. return, they filed my Spanish return for me, which is apparently a free service they offer to taxpayers. They did tax my U.S. social security benefits and gave me a tax credit for tax I paid the USA on social security benefits. Hacienda said that only pensions derived from government employment are exempt from Spanish taxation.

From someone on Facebook 4/2018:
According to the Spain-U.S. tax treaty, any pension that results from employment by the U.S. government is not taxable in Spain, but pensions resulting from private employment are taxable here. For most Americans, Social Security is taxable in Spain, but pensions for federal employees are not. I had this information direct from a Spanish lawyer who was one of the people who wrote the treaty, so I believe it to be accurate.

Artio Partners' "Complete Guide to Social Security Benefits for American Expats Living Abroad"
Greenback's "US Expat Taxes Explained: Social Security"
ElderLawAnswer's "Getting Social Security While Living Overseas"
FindLaw's "Social Security: Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States"
Taxes for Expats' "Social Security & Expat Taxes"
Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at US embassy in Madrid
US SSA's "Must I pay taxes on Social Security benefits?"

Most US states (including mine, NJ) do not tax US SS benefits.

If you renounced US citizenship:
My reading of Ines Zemelman's "Will I Be Able to Collect Social Security Retirement Benefits If I Renounce My US Citizenship?": If you renounce US citizenship, you still can collect US Social Security benefits. If you reside outside USA, depending on country, the benefits will be taxed by USA at a higher rate than if you lived inside USA or you didn't renounce.

From people on /r/Barcelona:
I'm employed by a company, you are not required to [file Renta] if you earned less than 21k brutos [pre-tax money] in 2015. I thought I was supposed to pay back some money so I did it just to check, and it turned out I was actually owed money, so ... try to do it online, you don't have to submit it if you don't want to.


Everyone working in Spain has to do it. [But] There is indeed an amount under which you don't have to do it. Hacienda will send you the papers and you can accept their number, it's as simple as that, 98% of the time they are accurate, they know everything about us. However, please check with a local at your work or your employer, you being foreigner this may be different process and I am no tax advisor.

From Abaco Advisers' "All you need to know about resident taxes in Spain":
We do recommend that you make an annual tax declaration whether this table [of thresholds] suggests you should or not. It will help you to prove your fiscal residency - a status which can save you money [usually in real-estate transactions].

From Advoco's "Spanish tax forms explained":
The most common way of completing this obligation, for those with simple tax affairs, is to request a borrador or draft tax declaration. This is automatically generated by the AT from their systems which contain employment, bank and other records so know what most people are due to pay (or receive by way of a rebate). For many people it is just a case of checking the draft and affirming its accuracy electronically, by phone or by signing the paper copy and giving it in to to a tax office or bank.

Tax rates vary between the different regions of Spain (Comunidades Autonomas).

Some income that is tax-exempt in USA (interest on US govt bonds ?) may not be tax-exempt in Spain. And capital gains are taxed higher in Spain, so you may owe the difference to Spain. No deductions for education expenses.

If paying income tax online, must have a Spanish bank account (IBAN starts with "ES"), and return must be filed by June 24 (called "domiciliacion", paying by direct debit). But also can pay through Hacienda web site using credit or debit card ? After the "domiciliacion" date, you have to pay by taking tax return to a bank and paying into Hacienda's account.

From someone on CAB FB group 1/2016:
If you only have a simple tax return to make (usually income from legal job, a bit of interest from the bank etc), you can make an appointment in the tax office and they do it for you for free [called "presencial"]. If it turns out, you owe them money and you are not obliged to declare they will tell you that. Also, if you are not obliged to declare and you are due a rebate, you can also declare voluntarily.

From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group 3/2016:
[Some banks will do your income tax return for you ?] I USED to bank with Unicaja and the annual declaracion was included in the quarterly fees I had to pay. You could do it online or by phone, they would work out if you owed any tax, you went into your branch, signed the forms, one was sent to Hacienda, other was your record. Not bad (as long as you know exactly what you have earned).

It used to be that you downloaded a tax-year-specific program called "PADRE" to do your tax return. But starting with the 2015 tax year, there is a new "Renta Web" online way of doing a return, and as of 2016 tax year, PADRE is discontinued. Richelle de Wit's "Renta 2016 - Novelties, Relevant Dates and Deadlines"

Advoco's "Spanish income tax"
Advoco's "Do you need to submit a Spanish tax return?"
IRS's "United States Income Tax Treaties - A to Z"
Strong Abogados's "Personal taxes in Spain"
Expatica's "Taxation in Spain"
SpainGuru's "General Guideline to Spanish Tax Obligations"
Wikipedia's "International taxation"
Jose Marc Castro's "Retiring to Spain"
Experts for Expats' "Tax in Spain for Expats"
George Mills' "Spanish tax returns: A handy expat guide"
spainaccountants's "Spanish income tax 2015"
ExpatFocus's "Spain - Income Tax"
SpainExpat's "Filing Taxes as a US Expat in Spain"
AngloINFO's "How Income is Taxed"
KPMG's "Spain - Income Tax"
Expats in Spain's "Personal Income Tax in Spain" (PDF)
Expats in Spain's "Personal Taxation in Spain - Double Taxation" (PDF)
PWC's "Global Mobility Services: Taxation of International Assignees - Spain" (PDF)
BOE's "Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Fisicas" (the actual law)
Philip Carroll's "Personal Taxation in Spain"
Philip Carroll's "Personal Taxation in Spain - Rates and Allowances"
Philip Carroll's "Personal Taxation in Spain - Double Taxation"
Spain Accountants' "Rates and allowances"
CincoDias's IRPF calculator
Spain Accountants' "2014 residents tax returns" (good overview of a tax return)

My experience with Renta WEB 2015, in 2016:

My experience filing Form 100 / La Renta online in 2017:

My experience filing Form 100 / La Renta online in 2018:

Spanish: Wealth tax (Impuesto sobre el Patrimonio, 714)

Form 714.

From AngloINFO's "Spanish Wealth Tax":
Spanish wealth tax is payable by non-residents and residents based on assets held at 31st December each year. Spanish residents are liable on their worldwide assets, and non-residents are liable to wealth tax on their Spanish assets only.


Bank balances are valued at the higher of the closing balance on 31st December or the average balance during the 4th quarter.


The wealth tax form has to be completed and tax paid between 2nd May and 1st July for the previous 31st December.

From Agencia Tributaria's "Period for presenting 2014 Wealth Tax":
Must file wealth tax return between April 7 and June 25.

From Visa Spain's "Spain reintroduces wealth tax. Impuesto del Patrimonio":
Wealth Tax is paid on the net amount of wealth of an individual. ... Wealth Tax is a national tax which is managed by each region, that is why some regions may apply credits to the tax and make it be effectively nil ... The regions can also set up their own minimum exempt. The National minimum exempt is €700.000 but this goes down in Catalonia to €500.000.

[Rate starts at about 0.2% of amount over the minimum exempt, and goes up.]

From Agencia Tributaria's "How the 2014 Wealth Tax return is presented":
Must file online, and it's separate from the personal income tax return.

From Agencia Tributaria's "Obligation to declare Wealth 2014":
Must file wealth tax return if: you owe money under the tax, or total value of property is greater than €2 million.

From Costa Gestion's "Spanish Wealth Tax in Andalucia":
The Spanish tax regulations state that cumulative wealth and income taxes cannot exceed 60% of a resident's total taxable income (there is no limit for non-residents), subject to a minimum of 20% of the wealth tax calculation. ...

The tax IS in effect for 2016 and 2017 tax years, according to Blevins Franks' "Another Year Of Wealth Tax In Spain".

Costa Gestion's "Spanish Wealth Tax in Andalucia"
Blevins Franks' "Spanish Wealth Tax. How Does It Affect You And What Can You Do?"
La Vanguardia's "Guia Basica Del Impuesto Sobre El Patrimonio" (PDF)'s "Como Calcular el Impuesto Sobre el Patrimonio"

My experience filing form 714 in 2016:

My experience filing form 714 in 2017:

My experience filing form 714 in 2018:

Spanish: Foreign assets declaration (720)

Not a tax, just another thing to file.

Form 720, to be filed by March 31 for assets owned outside Spain as of previous December 31.

From Ray Clancy's "Expats in Spain face new tax reporting requirements" 1/2013:
A new reporting regime in Spain means that expats with assets outside the country worth over €50,000 who are taxpayers will need to declare them [starting] in 2013. ...


'This is a new, additional requirement for Spanish taxpayers. You remain obliged, as always, to also fully declare your annual worldwide income for income tax purposes, and your taxable worldwide assets for wealth tax purposes', said a spokesman. 'From now on, anyone who is tax resident in Spain must declare all the assets they own outside Spain. ...'

Apparently you have to file again next year only if there was an increase of €20K or more. But an increase in which value ? Some articles say must report if total value increased by €20K, others say must report if any of the three categories (Accounts, Investments, Property) has increased by €20K.

One difference between the wealth tax and the assets declaration: wealth tax uses net values (e.g. property value minus mortgage balance), while assets declaration uses gross values (e.g. property value).

Jessica Winch's "Spain tells British expats to declare overseas assets"
Expats in Spain's "Declaration of Your Overseas Assets" (PDF)
Richelle de Wit's "Reporting Overseas Assets Modelo 720-1"
Philip Carroll's "Reporting Overseas Assets: The Modelo 720"
Javier Ullastres Asesores's "Reporting Assets Outside Spain"
Claudia Vargas Puccio's "M720FAQs"
Janet Anscombe's "New rules on resident foreign assets reporting"
Abaco Advisers' "The 720 asset declaration form"
Strong Abogados' "Report of Foreign Assets (Form 720)"
Sede Electronica Modelo 720
Agencia Tributaria's "Help with Form 720"
Lost in Sant Cugat's "Modulo 720 time"

My experience with filing form 720 in 2/2016:

First, gather IBAN or Swift or BIC numbers for your banks and accounts. Best to contact your banks. Maybe see The Swift Codes and United States Bank Swift Codes. But confirm the numbers with your bank; the info for my bank in those sites was obsolete.

Go to Sede Electronica Modelo 720

Fill out top fields. Don't check either "Declaracion complementaria por inclusion de datos" or "Declaracion sustitutiva".

Click on "Bienes o derechos". Form will change to a table.

For each bank account, in turn:
Click on "+" to add a line to the table. Form will change again.

Fill in information. Don't fill in "NIF Representante"; you don't have a representative. In "Clave de condicion del declarante", select "1- Titular" (you are the owner). In "Clave tipo de bien o derecho", select "C- Cuentas abiertas en entidades que se dediquen al trafico bancario o crediticio y se encuentren situadas en el extranjero" (accounts at foreign banks).

In "Subclave de bien o derecho", select
"1- Cuenta corriento" (checking account) or
"2- Cuenta de ahorro" (savings account) or
"3- imposiciones a plazo" (time deposits) or
"4- Cuentas de credito" (credit accounts) or
"5- Otras cuentas" (other accounts), as appropriate.

In "Codigo de pais", select "US - Estados Unidos de America". It's in the list among the E's, not the U's.

In "Clave de identificacion de cuenta", select "O - Otra identificacion".

In "Codigo BIC", fill in the Bank Identifier Code or Swift Code for your bank. None of my banks had IBAN or BIC or Swift numbers, so I left it blank.

In "Codigo de cuenta", put account number.

In "Identificacion de la entidad", put official name of your bank.

In "NIF en el pais de residencia fiscal", I put "ABA nnnnnnnnn" for my bank. (American Bankers Association routing number, for US account.)

In "Domicilio de la entidad o ubicacion del inmueble" section, put official address of your bank.

In "Fecha de incorporacion", I put Jan 1 of year I was declaring. Supposed to be the date when the account was created.

In "Origen del bien o derecho", put "A- Bien o derecho que se declara por primera vez o que se incorpora en el ejercicio de la declaracion". I think this is correct for first time you file a 720. Next year, select "M- Bien o derecho que ya ha sido declaracion en ejercicios anteriores" ?

In "Valoracion 1: Saldo o valor a 31 de Diciembre ...", put value of account on Dec 31, in Euros.

In "Porcentaje de participacion", put "100".

Click on green arrow button at bottom of page to check for errors.

Click on folder button ("Guardar declaracion") at bottom of page. It will save a file to your computer. If you stop filling out the declaration and come back some other time, import this file to pick up where you left off. And I think next year, you should be able to start by importing this file, and save a lot of typing.

When done, make sure you've saved to file one last time. And go back to first page of form, and see a total value for all accounts.

Then click "Firmar y enviar" to sign and send. See a "I confirm this all is true" page. Check the box and send.

See PDF form and "Su presentacion ha sido realizada con exito". Sending has succeeded. Save the PDF file to disk, maybe print it, maybe copy the confirmation numbers out of the first page of it.

My experience with filing form 720 in 3/2017:

Gather IBAN or Swift or BIC numbers for any banks and accounts that are new since last time you filed this form.

Go to Sede Electronica Modelo 720

Change to English.

Click Submissions / Filing financial year 2015 and following.
Choose ID method.
Get "Declarante y resumen de la declaracion" page.

Change "Ejercicio" field to previous year.
Click "Cargar" button at bottom of page.
Load ".ses" file from previously filed year.

Now page should have data from previously filed year, but "Ejercicio" field has changed to current filing year.

Correct anything in the top fields, such as phone number.
Don't check either "Declaracion complementaria por inclusion de datos" or "Declaracion sustitutiva".

Click "Guardar" button at bottom of page.
It will save to a new ".ses" file on your computer.
If you stop filling out the declaration and come back some other time, "Cargar" this file to pick up where you left off.

Click on "Apartados / Bienes o derechos" in bottom left of page.
Form will change to a table.

For each bank account that is SAME as last year, in turn:
Put check-mark in check-box for account.
Click "Ver bien o derecho" button at top of page.
Update amount for account.
Click "Ver declarante" button to go back to list of accounts.

Click "Guardar" button to save to ".ses" file.

For each bank account that is NEW since last year, in turn:
Click on "+" to add a line to the table. Form will change again.

Fill in information, as given in my previous year's experience, above.

Click on green arrow button at bottom of page to check for errors.

Click "Guardar" button to save to ".ses" file.

When finished with all accounts, review all values on 2nd page, go back to 1st page, click "Validar declaracion" button to validate the form, get "No existen errores" result.

Click "Guardar" button to save to ".ses" file.

Then click "Firmar y enviar" to sign and send.
See a "I confirm this all is true" page.
Check the box and send.

See PDF form and "Su presentacion ha sido realizada con exito". Sending has succeeded. Save the PDF file to disk, maybe print it, maybe copy the confirmation numbers out of the first page of it.

My experience with filing form 720 in 2/2018:

Gather IBAN or Swift or BIC numbers for any banks and accounts that are new since last time you filed this form.

Go to Sede Electronica Modelo 720

Change to English.

Click Submissions / Filing financial year 2017 and following.
Choose ID method.
Get "Declarante y resumen de la declaracion" page.

Bummer: "Ejercicio" field is read-only now. Can't load ".ses" file from previously filed year and then change the year. Filed a request to change that, with Agencia Tributaria's "Tramitacion de quejas / sugerencias"

Tricky: I was able to open the ".ses" file from last year in one tab, and the new year's form in another tab, and copy and paste information from one to the other, one field at a time. Tedious, but better than re-typing all of it.

Spanish: ETE (Encuesta sobre Transacciones Exteriores) declaration

For worldwide assets/transactions over €1 million.

Electronic filing only, to the Bank of Spain before January 20 for previous year.

It applies to any individual or company (except financial companies) resident in Spain.

It applies if assets outside Spain are over €1 million, as well as other cases.

inforconta's "ETE Declaration"
Grupo Belmar's "Declaracion de Transacciones con el Exterior al Banco de Espana. ETE"
Javier Ullastres Asesores's "Declaracion de Transacciones con el Exterior al Banco de Espana. ETE"
Borja Canete's "A quien debo informar de las cuentas en el extranjero?"
Banco de España's "Formulario ETE"
ETE law (PDF)

My experience with filing ETE 1/2016:

Banco de España's "Formulario ETE"

For assets/transactions between €1M and €50M, you want the "summary" statement.

You download and fill out either a PDF file or XML file. I used PDF.

If PDF file, use Adobe Acrobat Reader, not some third-party PDF-reader application such as Foxit.

What exchange rate to use when converting US dollar amounts to Euros ? Sent email to the bank, got no response, IRS hasn't published rates for 2015, used rate from here, $1.08589/€. Later, someone said use Bank of Spain exchange rates as of Dec 31.

In the form, I checked "active" (the first choice, "Operaciones financieras activas con el exterior (09 01 01)"). All it asked for was totals for start and end of year, and totals for transactions; didn't have a line for each account separately, no way to list names of accounts or account numbers. I took my end-of-year number and put it in both the start and end fields, and put zeroes in the transaction and interest fields. Clicked "Validar" button to validate the form. Saved the file to disk.

To transmit the completed file to the bank, you must have an FNMT digital certificate installed on your computer.

Record the "Referencia" number you get at the end.

My experience with filing ETE 1/2017:

Exchange rate: this document (PDF) referenced by this Banco de España page says Euro = $1.0541 on 12/30/2016.

Downloaded new PDF from "Formulario para la declaracion anual resumida (Version actualizada a octubre 2016) Archivo PDF: Abre en nueva ventana (1 MB)" on Banco de España's "Formulario ETE"

Fill out PDF as done for 1/2016, copying data from old PDF where possible.

In the form, I checked "active" (the first choice, "Operaciones financieras activas con el exterior (09 01 01)"). Copied final total from 2015 form to starting total ("Saldo inicial") in 2016 form. Put new total from accounts 12/31/2016 in final total ("Saldo final") for 2016.

Subtracted the two numbers (inicial and final) and put the difference in net ("Transacciones netas"). A dialog popped up and wanted me to put in numbers for "inversions" and "desinversions", to add up to the net number. Since I had a net gain, I just put the net total number in the "inversions" field.

Clicked "Validar" button to validate the form. Saved the file to disk.

Sent PDF via "Personas fisicas / Envio de declaraciones" on Banco de España's "Formulario ETE" (click "Browse" to select PDF file on disk, then "Anadir" to add it to list to send, then "Enviar" to send it). Got a nasty-looking "Compruebe que esta enviando la ultima version" message, but I am sending latest version of file, clicked "Confirmar".

Record the "Referencia" number you get at the end.

Check "Descarga de respuestas" a few days later to check that it was received okay. I checked 6 days later, nothing appears in the list.

My experience with filing ETE 1/2018:

Exchange rate: this document (PDF) referenced by this Banco de España page says Euro = $1.1993 on 12/30/2017.

Downloaded new PDF from "AnualResumido" link on Banco de España's "Formulario ETE" (on right-hand side-bar of page).

Filled out PDF as done for 1/2017, copying data from old PDF where possible. Used Adobe PDF reader/editor; Foxit does not work properly on the pull-down fields.

Finished as in previous years: Validar button inside PDF, then go to web site, "Personas fisicas / Envio de declaraciones", choose digital certificate, Browse, Anadir, Enviar, Confirmar buttons, then copy referencia number and save it.

Spanish: Inheritance and gift taxes (Impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones)

"Estate tax" is paid by the estate of the deceased person.
"Inheritance tax" is paid by the heirs of the deceased person.
USA has (federal and state) estate taxes.
Spain has inheritance tax.

From Taxes For Expats's "U.S. Income Tax Return Preparation and Advice for American Citizen (Expatriates) Living in Spain":
Inheritance and gift taxes are levied on behalf of the 17 autonomous regions, which set their own tax rates within certain limits. If they do not, national limits apply. A tax on wealth transfers applies to rights and assets located in Spain.

From Spanish Solutions' "Good News on Spanish Inheritance and Donation Tax":
Currently inheritance tax is paid by a beneficiary on an inheritance they receive in Spain. This is calculated by looking at the net assets in Spain of the deceased person, applying a tax-free allowance which differs depending on the relationship between the deceased and the inheritor, calculating the percentage tax applicable to the inheritance and then making a final calculation.

From Deloitte's "Spain Highlights 2016 (PDF)":
Inheritance and gift tax is levied where the heirs or donees are resident in Spain or where the inherited or gift assets are located in Spain. Rates range from 7.65% to 34% (rates in certain regions may be higher). The tax also is imposed on nonresidents receiving assets (e.g. estates) located in Spain. Spain's autonomous regions have the authority to increase or reduce the tax burden.

From Hola España Magazine - An Expat's Guide to Everything - 1st Edition:
A new EU regulation from 17th August 2015, also allows an individual to elect, via his Will, for the succession law of his country of nationality to apply to his death.


It is the person who receives the assets, whether by way of a lifetime gift or as a bequest, who is liable to pay the tax ..., and the rates of tax applied depends on:
However, ... the ownership of an asset cannot be transferred until the tax is paid. As you cannot sell the asset to pay the tax, problems can arise for the beneficiaries in Spain, where tax usually has to be paid within six months of the death.

To further complicate matters, each autonomous region of Spain may set its own exemptions and rates of tax. This can make the rates and allowances more or less beneficial, depending on the region.

Real estate (real property) is treated specially, different from the treatment of money.

"Spanish Law does not have an equivalent to the trust."
from Vicente & Otaolaurruchi's "Wills & Inheritance in Spain"
Answer from lawyers: there is a "fideicomiso" which is a little similar.

Would a joint bank account be frozen if one of the signators dies ?
Answer from lawyers: yes, frozen until will is probated.

Spanish resident inheriting money from USA decedent:

If I am resident in Spain and inherit money in USA, will I have to pay Spanish inheritance tax on it ? Suppose the estate tax paid in USA was zero; does that change the situation in Spain ? Suppose I later move the money to my bank account in Spain; does that change the situation in Spain ?

From someone on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
I am wondering if there are any Americans here who have declared an inheritance from the USA and successfully appealed and won the case against the Spanish tax system.

I know this has been resolved for EU members (inheritance is calculated according to the law in country of death, but not so yet for the USA or non-EU countries).

It is absolutely devastating to see them be able to tax an inheritance in this way.

Those residents here ... really look into this if there is an inheritance in the future of any amount. It is not a pretty scene.

Spanish citizen spouse inheriting money from US citizen / Spanish resident spouse:

Spouse gets to exclude first €16K of inheritance from taxes, according to Global Property Guide's "Inheritance tax and law"

In Catalunya, spouse gets to exclude first €100K of inheritance from taxes, according to Blevins Franks' "The tax landscape in Cataluña in 2017"

From (2011) Paul Whitelock's "Inheritance Tax scrapped in Catalunya":
"Since only the national government is empowered to abolish taxes altogether, the Catalan Executive has set a fiscal bonus of 99% on the tax amount, which in practical terms corresponds to the almost total elimination of ISD in the region."
"But be aware that, wherever you live in Spain, as a foreigner you must have been officially resident for the five years prior to your death for your estate to be dealt with under local rules. If not, your estate will be subject to the less favourable State rules."
"To be classed as habitually resident in a particular AC, the deceased or donor must have been resident there for five continuous tax years, otherwise the State rules will apply."

From Expatica's "Spanish inheritance law and estate taxes":
"Generally, regional taxes will only apply to habitual residents (ie. residents in Spain for at least five years), while national law will apply to non-residents."

"In Catalonia there is a 99% relief between spouses on inheritance tax." from All Law's article (2017)
[but I think only for estates up to €100K; less relief for bigger estates]

"The inheritance of most assets (excluding real property) is regulated by the law of the deceased's nationality, irrespective of the nature of the property or the country where they are located (principle of lex personae)."
from Global Property Guide's "Inheritance tax and law"

On various places, I asked:

Estate planning question:

I am a US citizen married to a Spanish citizen, and we live in Spain. When I die, I would like to share my money among my 4 US siblings and my Spanish wife (20% to each). But I would like to avoid the hassles of inheritance/probate/wills across two countries. And the money to my wife would mainly go to putting 3 nieces and nephews through university, in Spain.

Suppose that right now I moved 20% of my money from USA to Spain, into a bank account with joint signature authority by me and my wife. We pay the kid's schooling out of that.

When I die, nothing changes in Spain, my wife keeps using the account to pay the schooling and for anything else she wishes. No paperwork, no taxes, etc.

Is this taxable or something ? At what point would it become a gift or inheritance to my wife ? Somehow there must be a catch. One catch is that my wife would have full authority starting now, she could drain the account and go buy shoes if she wished.

I paid for a 30-minute consultation with Spain/USA tax lawyers in Barcelona 10/2018:

My affairs are pretty simple: money in accounts, no real estate, no business, no life insurance, no children, wife in Spain, siblings in USA. Yet the lawyers kept saying "it's complicated, we need to give you a questionnaire about your details before we can answer more, for more money".

Our situation: I have lots (over $1M) of money in the bank; my wife has very little. We were married in Spain about 9 months ago, and (a couple of months later) did a "bienes separados" declaration. I want to leave a big chunk of money in Spain to her and to educate 4 nieces/nephews after I die. The rest of my money will stay in USA and go to siblings there.

Some things the lawyers did say/write: So, where does this leave us ? I think I'll try to keep the two countries separate: a will in each country that doesn't mention the other, no one inheriting across national borders, money in Spain kept just below the FATCA reporting threshold, in a bank account owned only by me (not joint). When I die, my wife will inherit that Spanish money and pay Spanish taxes on it. My US estate will be taxed in USA and my siblings in USA will inherit the US money.

Via email, I asked the lawyers for a price quote for doing a USA (NJ) will, a Spanish will, and then filing Spanish will properly in Spain. They tried to get all details from me, as if they were going to go ahead and do them and then bill me for them. I refused to give details, just asked again for price quotes. Finally they said €1500 for NJ will, €500 for Spanish will, and €300 to file Spanish will. Which is completely outrageous.

Went to a Spanish-only notario in Barcelona end of 10/2018:

We want to change our marriage regimen to "gananciales" (shared property), and do a Spanish will (testamento) for me.

The lady said:
I'm not sure this notario knows anything about international taxes and inheritance. My guess is no.

A relative works for a notario and consulted them for us 10/2018:

They said:
I'm not sure this notario knows anything about international taxes and inheritance. My guess is no.

Global Property Guide's "Inheritance tax and law"
Spanish Property Insight's "Spanish succession tax"
Expatica's "Spanish inheritance law and estate taxes"
Worldwide Lawyers' "A Guide to Claiming Spanish Inheritance Tax refunds" (PDF)
iAbogado's "Inheritance and Gift Tax in Spain"
Abaco Advisers' "A guide to Spanish inheritance"
Legal 4 Spain's "Estate Tax Planning FAQs"
Lost in Sant Cugat's "What kind of marriage do you have?"
All Law's article (2017)
In Spain Today's "The inheritance tax in Spain"
Abad Abogados's "Inheritance tax calculator" (probably using the State rules)
Vicente & Otaolaurruchi's "Wills & Inheritance in Spain"

Myra Cecilia Azzopardi's "Good News for Tax Residents of Andalucia"
Luis M. Vicente Burgos' "Facts about Inheritance Tax in Andalusia (Spain)"
Hugh MacArthur's "Andalusian Death Duties"
Michael Davies' "Inheritance tax in Andalucia"
Richelle de Wit's "Changes Inheritance Tax Andalucia"

Blevins Franks' "The tax landscape in Cataluña in 2017"
Paul Whitelock's "Inheritance Tax scrapped in Catalunya" (2011)
Eva María Rodríguez's "El Impuesto de Sucesiones y Donaciones en Cataluña"
Legalium's "Cambios en el impuesto de sucesiones y donaciones en Cataluña"
English translation of "The Code of Succession, Act 40/1991 of 30th December" (PDF)
Agencia Tributaria de Catalunya's "Impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones"
Iberley's "Reducciones Impuesto sobre Sucesiones y Donaciones Cataluña"

See "Spanish Will" section of my Living in Spain page.

Spanish: Other tax filings

If you own a business, property, or car, there will be forms to be filed and taxes to be paid.

Each time you rent out your property, a form has to be filed ? Maybe can bunch them up into quarterly reports.

If your income is high, you may have to pay estimated tax quarterly ?

If you own a property, probably you will have to pay:
Tenants have to pay a tax of about 0.5% on their rent. Tax is ITP, and rarely enforced until recently.
Myra Azzopardi Swainson's "Tenants Obliged to Pay Tax on Rentals"

Expatica's "Taxation in Spain"
If you are non-resident, yet own property in Spain, you have to pay "non-resident tax" (form 210).
Abaco Advisers' "All you need to know about non-resident taxes in Spain"
Advoco's "Spanish non resident tax"

US: Federal income tax return (1040)

File by April 15 (approximately) each year, for previous year.

USA taxes US citizens on their worldwide income.

File a return each year, even if you have no income, or no income subject to US tax, or your income falls below the taxable threshold, or you owe no tax. Stay on record, don't create any question that you might be evading taxes.

File IRS form 8822 (once) to inform IRS of your new address, if your old US address now is invalid.

Many online services enable you to file tax returns electronically, for free or for $20 or so. This may not work well if your tax situation is complex. If you have to file Form 8938 (FATCA) with your return, check to see if your online service supports that form (for example does not, as of 2/2017). Some online services may force you to upgrade to a premium edition if you need to file form 2555 for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Some online services may not let you file a tax return from a computer outside USA ? Some online services or software may not let you e-file a tax return with a foreign address (for example Turbotax Free Edition does not, as of 3/2016). Some online services or software may not let you pay with a non-US credit card. Some online services or software may not let you put "NRA" where your spouse's SSN or ITIN should go.

Expats get an automatic 2-month extension on the deadline (IRS page), but have to pay estimated tax by the original deadline, then pay interest (for that 2 months) on the additional tax due when the final return is filed. Does that extension include extension for filing Form 8938 (FATCA) ? I'm told yes.

From IRS's "Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rates":
"The Internal Revenue Service has no official exchange rate. Generally, it accepts any posted exchange rate that is used consistently."

Taxes For Expats's "Expat Tax Guide"
Taxes For Expats's "Expat Tax Obligations"
SpainExpat's "Filing Taxes as a US Expat in Spain"
Thomas K. Running's "The Ultimate Tax Guide for American Nomads & Expats"
IRS's "Taxpayers Living Abroad"
IRS's "Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad"
Jane A. Bruno's "The Expat's Guide to U.S. Taxes" (PDF) (2009)
Form to get Randall Brody's "U.S. Expat Tax Guide" (mostly about FEIE, Foreign Tax Credit, FBAR, FATCA, back filing)
Jonathan Lachowitz's "Everything U.S. Expats Need to Know About IRS Tax Forms (But Were Afraid to Ask)"
Don D. Nelson's "US Expatriate Tax Rules Every Expat Living Abroad Needs to Know"
"US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group
IRS's "Get Transcript"

If your US taxes are very complicated, you may want to use an expatriate tax service for your US tax return. Such as:
Greenback Expat Tax Services

Some items:

My experience with filing 2/2018:

Using TaxAct online through a VPN, if I connected through a VPN server in Spain, it kept saying "username/password incorrect", even though I had just reset password successfully. When I changed to a VPN server in USA, problem went away.

Price has gone up; it will be $29 for federal return and $37 for NJ state return.

The software does support "married filing separately" with spouse who is NRA. You have to give name of spouse, then check a box that says "spouse is not required to have a TIN / SSN". But after doing that, I remembered I just got married this year (2018), so I'm still single for my 2017 tax return.

Switched to TaxSlayer; supposed to be $17 for federal and $22 for state.

Every time I logged in, it made me verify with a code sent to my email, maybe because I was using a VPN.

Had to enter a US phone number when filing at the end. I paid using a US bank account number. Federal return accepted by IRS within 10 minutes, state return about 24 hours later.

US: Other federal tax filings (FBAR, FATCA)

You must file certain forms if you have more than $10K in a foreign bank account at any time during the year, own more than a 10% ownership interest in a foreign corporation, or are the beneficiary or trustee of a foreign trust. Some forms are filed with your tax return, some separately (and on separate deadlines).

FBAR / 114:
If the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the year, the FBAR form (FinCEN Report 114) must be filed electronically, separate from income tax return, by April 15 each year. Automatic six-month extension. See IRS's "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)".

Taxes For Expats's "FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR)"
Treasury's "FBAR Filing Info"

From someone on reddit:
"The $10k limit is counted as the sum of the max amount of each account during the year, so if you have $5k in one account and then transfer it to another, then that counts as $5k + $5k = $10k, despite never actually having had $10k."

If you are required to file an FBAR, you must report ALL non-US bank and financial accounts, even if the balances are small or zero.

From discussion on "US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group:
A 'defined benefit pension plan' is a promise (but not a guarantee) to pay, and as such it is not a financial asset, and therefore not reportable for FBAR purposes.

If your pension scheme meets the definition of "social security", then most likely it is not reportable. If it does not meet the "social security criteria, then it is probably an "annuity" and therefore reportable.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans do not have to be reported on the FBAR - but you can if you want. The reason is that the plan is not in your name, you have no disposition powers, and there is no guarantee of payment just a promise of payment.

There is no penalty for reporting things that don't need to be reported.

My experience with filing FBAR 4/2016:

Treasury's "Individuals Filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)"

No registration required. Have to give email address and phone number at start. Will have to fill in mailing address and SSN in form.

No way to save form halfway and continue later; have to do it in one shot. [But someone else said this is not true.]

I filed a mostly-empty form (I have no foreign bank accounts), just to see how the process goes, so I don't know if there's anything tricky about entering the bank account information. You will need to know maximum account value during the year, bank name, account number, and bank mailing address. If there are multiple owners, you will need to know name, TIN, and mailing address for each owner.

Have to click the "Sign" button at the end; it does nothing but show a dialog saying "I acknowledge I am signing this document" and then puts "Signed" in a form field.

Then click the "Submit" button.

Get a confirmation page, copy the info, download a PDF copy of your submitted form.

View the saved PDF form to make sure everything is right.

Receive an email confirmation that your form was received.

Two days later, receive another email confirmation, giving a BSA Identifier. Save that.

Someone said you can fill in a PDF form and then upload this, instead of doing the web pages. An advantage of the PDF is that next year you can un-sign it and modify it and submit again, saving a lot of work.

My experience with filing FBAR 4/2017:

Treasury's "Individuals Filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)"

"Result" PDF from last year is not same form as "submit" PDF for this year: different number of pages, if nothing else.

I clicked on the PDF Form option, downloaded empty PDF form, filled it out. Once you've "signed" it, it can't be altered any more.

Click on PDF filing, fill in info, upload PDF file, click File button, get Confirmation page including Tracking ID. Within a minute, received an email saying filing was accepted.

My experience with filing FBAR 2/2018:

Treasury's "Individuals Filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)"

I clicked on the PDF Form option, downloaded empty PDF form, filled it out, copying and pasting info from previous year's PDF. Once you've "signed" it, it can't be altered any more. I filled out the form with Foxit Reader, but signing did not work properly. Switched to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC; signing worked.

Click on PDF filing, fill in info, upload PDF file, click File button, get Confirmation page including Tracking ID. Within a minute, received an email saying filing was rejected, file was corrupted or underlying XML structure was altered. Did it again using only Adobe, everything worked.

FATCA / 8938:
Also, if you control certain other foreign assets, you have to file Form 8938 (FATCA). Attach Form 8938 to the annual income tax return, so deadline would be April 15. See IRS's "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" and IRS's "Types of Foreign Assets and Whether They are Reportable on Form 8938".

Individuals don't have to file FATCA if: the individual otherwise does not have to file an income tax return, or individual lives full-time outside USA and owns less than $200K of foreign assets. See the IRS pages linked below.

Some online tax-return software doesn't support form 8938 (for example does not, as of 2/2017). TaxAct does.

Taxes For Expats's "Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming and Remaining Compliant with FATCA (Form 8938)"
IRS's "FATCA Information for Individuals"
IRS's "Information for U.S. Taxpayers on Form 8938 Requirements"
David Kuenzi's "Why Americans Should Never Own Shares in a Non-US Mutual Fund (PFIC)"

IRS's "Comparison of Form 8938 and FBAR Requirements"

I asked the question:

Is it possible, and is it advisable, to file FATCA and FBAR reports just to say "I have no foreign bank accounts" ?

Answer from someone: "If you don't need to file, then there is no reason to send in a blank form. However, the Department of Treasury's efile system will still accept FBARs with no foreign bank accounts listed."

From /u/TaxTalkinGuy on reddit:

Investing in non-US mutual funds can be a tax reporting nightmare and result in higher tax in some circumstances. It's much easier to simply keep investing in US mutual funds through a US brokerage account.

If you own stock of a non-US mutual fund, you'll be required to file IRS Form 8621, which is complicated in the best of circumstances and impossible to comply with in the worst. Also, the non-US mutual fund will be subject to a complicated regime called the "passive foreign investment company" rules, which often result in worse US tax treatment as compared to owning US mutual funds. Finally, investing in non-US mutual funds can have non-tax detrimental effects as well, such as generally higher fees and more risk (very few countries have equivalents of the FDIC and SIPC).


If you're planning to stay in your new country long-term, it's tempting to dive right into saving through the local array of tax-advantaged accounts. However, some research into the US tax treatment of each particular offering will go a long way in avoiding headaches on your US tax return.

Certain types of plans require more reporting than others. For example, if the plan has a trust structure (so that by holding the account you're really the beneficiary of a trust), you may find that your US tax reporting burden will be lessened if you don't make contributions yourself to the trust (or only make contributions to certain portions of the trust). This can get complicated and is fact specific, so it requires careful research and planning with each particular type of savings vehicle in mind.

Jonathan Lachowitz's "Everything U.S. Expats Need to Know About IRS Tax Forms (But Were Afraid to Ask)"
Annie Hill's "The Expat Guide to U.S. Personal Finance" (links to many articles)

US: State tax return

File by April 15 (approximately) each year, for previous year.

You may still have a "tax domicile" in your home US state; if so, you have to file a state tax return.

In New Jersey (my state): a "non-resident" state tax return is for those who earn income or own property in the state, but reside outside the state and pay state tax to another state.

I asked the question:

Is there any problem with appearing to be "resident" in two countries, both USA and (in my case) Spain ?

I am a US citizen, about to move to Spain and get residency there. I would like to maintain my US mailing address (my brother's house), my US driver's license, US credit card, US bank accounts, voting. I probably won't bother to get any of those things in Spain.

I don't mind paying tax to both places, since I'm a retiree living off savings, so pay almost zero income tax to Feds and state in USA. And it seems simplest just to keep filing the normal forms in USA. And putting my USA address on those forms, not my Spain address. I would file FBAR and FATCA forms as required.

Is this legal ? Is it wise ? I don't want to have to inform my US banks and credit card of my foreign address. I may move back to USA some day, and things would be simpler then.

Answer from someone on "US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group:
If you want to be treated as a resident of both countries, no one will object as long as you file a tax return in both countries, declare your worldwide income to both countries, and pay any tax imposed on that income by both countries. Several of my clients in Italy do this as a matter of choice. Sometimes there are valid reasons to do so. I for example always paid self-employment tax to both countries on the same income to increase my retirement benefits in both countries.

Answer from someone else on "US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group:
[Maybe more about federal return ?]

If you keep your resident status in your tax filing, you will enjoy the regular tax credit but you will be taxed on your foreign income. On the other hand, if you file as non-resident you will enjoy tax exemption for foreign income up to $100,800 for 2015. Also, you still will be able to file your taxes as non-resident and you don't have to mention a foreign address. You may keep your US address on your tax return, as long as you have a good connection with this address.


You do pay fine if you don't enroll in ObamaCare, unless if you file your tax as US NON RESIDENT, then you are exempted from that fine.

From Taxes For Expats's "Expat Tax Guide":
Some of the criteria that a state looks at to determine if you are a resident for state income tax purposes includes your driver license, if you register to vote there, if you maintain an address there, the location of your bank accounts, if you own or rent real property there, the license plates on your cars, and if you still receive utility bills in that state. There are many other factors used by state taxing agencies to determine if you are a resident, but they are too numerous to mention here. You must be careful to reduce or eliminate all indices of residency or your previous state of residency in the U.S. will come after you for state income taxes. You must carefully plan your departure from your previous home state by reviewing your states tax residency laws and taking the actual steps necessary to prove to that state you no longer have a "tax domicile" there after you move abroad. If you do not, the taxes, penalties and interest later assessed by that state can be huge.

Taxes for Expats' "State Taxes and American Expats"
Taxes For Expats's "State Taxes and the American Expat"
TaxMeLess's "do I have to file a U.S. state return each year?"
US Expat Tax Help's "State Taxes and US Expatriates"
Chaz Attamah's "Moving to Spain? 5 Things to know about US Expatriate Tax Compliance."

Many online services enable you to file state income tax return electronically, for $20 or so. This may not work well if your tax situation is complex. And some may not support the part-year feature (for the year in which you moved) or the non-resident tax return. Some may require a US mailing address on the tax return.


Annual filing deadlines:


I'm told that will not let you request credit reports from a computer outside USA.

For people earning income in Spain:
Thun Financial's "IRAs, Roth IRAs and the Conversion Decision for Americans Living Abroad (2017)"

You can't transfer a US IRA account to some account in Spain without being taxed/penalized: "You cannot withdraw your US IRA and put it into anything other than a US 'approved account', which means rolled over into another IRA or 401(k) type plan."

If you're working in Spain and former employer refuses to pay past wages due:
From someone on Facebook:
I've had this issue several times. The most effective method I've found is:
  1. Speak to a gestor to figure out exactly how much I'm owed, get them to write it down.

  2. Tell your boss that your gestor says they owe you x amount.

  3. Tell your boss that if you don't get the money quickly, like 2 weeks, you'll go to the Asesor Laboral to file a denuncia.

  4. Watch them cr*p their pants at the thought of a Labour inspector looking through all their papers (I guarantee your boss is breaking the law in other ways too).

They usually pay within a few days.

I've done this three times, and it's worked every time.

Also DO NOT sign any nominas until you have been paid IN FULL. Don't take promises for future payment. If you sign the nomina, you might be giving up your right to future claims.

Worker's Pension from Spanish Social Security:
A worker could be contributing to state SS system each month via: There is a special case for regulated professionals (lawyer, doctor) who are autonomo: instead of paying into RETA, they could pay into a "Mutual" association for their profession. They have to pay every month regardless of actual income, like any autonomo. But they can suspend payment (and their autonomo activities) for a while if they give proper notice. The Mutual may not provide unemployment coverage (paro) while working, and probably not healthcare coverage in retirement, only money after retirement. The money could be paid out lump-sum or monthly. The rules for each Mutual may vary.

Generally, you don't want to end up paying into both state regimens, because they combine in slightly restricted ways (mainly, when you pay into both in the same month, you don't get 2 months of time-credit, you get 1). Also, you can only get one healthcare coverage, before and after retirement, so in some sense you're wasting some money.

But it IS possible to pay into both regimens, contribute to both for 15+ years, and collect two pensions.

If in one year you pay into both Regimen General and RETA, and end up paying more than the maximum allowed, you can/must reclaim the excess. At the end of the year you can file a request for refund of "exceso de cotizacion".
Diego Lorenzana's "Asi podeis calcular (y reclamar) vuestro exceso de cotizacion"

BBVA's "He cotizado en varios regimenes: ¿Cual de ellos financiara mi pension de jubilacion?"
Expatica's "Social security in Spain"

Obtain a record of your employment history in Spain: go to Seguridad Social's "Informes y Certificados" and click on "Informe de Vida Laboral" or "Working life Report". This shows who you worked for, when, and how many days, but not money. "Contribution Group" codes are defined in Seguridad Social's "2017 contribution bases and rates".

Obtain a record of your contribution base history in Spain: go to Seguridad Social's "Informes y Certificados" and click on "Informe de bases de cotizacion". [If you are registered as both a salaried worker and an autonomo, you may see two "NAF"s.] This shows who you worked for each month, for how many days, and how much money (contribution base) was taxed by SS (so, if it shows €900, tax paid was something like €300). [Unfortunately the layout is awful; each year is presented on maybe two pages, no way to see or download the whole history in one shot. The instructions say there is a way to download it as PDF, but I see no button for that. Also, there is no summary info, such as total contributions, total months, total days, etc.]

To be eligible for a pension:
  • Must have 15 years of contributions into system.
  • Must have 2 years of contributions in the last 15 years before retirement.
  • Must be 65 years old (depends on your birthyear; this is rising to 67) or older.

If you come up a couple of years short of the 15-year minimum to get a pension, can you just pay in money every month for a couple of years to reach 15 years ? Answer seems to be no.

Euraxess's "Working in Europe | Pension rights | Spain"

Retirement Benefits:
INSS's "Seguridad Social"
Pension calculator: go to INSS's "Seguridad Social" and click on "Autocalculo Jubilacion" button.
BBVA's "Pension plan calculator"

Using the INSS pension calculator:
  1. Go to INSS's "Seguridad Social" and click on "Autocalculo Jubilacion" button.
  2. No digital certificate is needed or allowed; this calculation is just a worksheet, not tied to your official records. That's good: you can try different scenarios. And it's bad: you can't pull any data from the contribution history automatically, you have to enter everything manually.
  3. In "Access the Service", click "No certificate".
  4. Get "Introduccion al Sistema" page. Everything is in Spanish, even if you started in English. Page says this is an estimate, guesses future inflation rates, no guarantees, etc.
  5. Click "Continuar" button.

  6. Get "Datos personales" page:
    The "Referencia/Nombre" field can be any name you want, your name or "Estimate if I stop working right now" or whatever.
    Birth date is important, it drives the retirement date.
    In "Fecha de jubilacion", select "Calcular fecha de jubilacion ordinaria" to get ordinary retirement date.

    In "Situacion familiar", there is:
    • "Tiene conyuge a su cargo" if married and spouse doesn't work, spouse is dependent. (Gives larger pension.)
    • "Tiene conyuge pero NO a su cargo" if married and spouse does work. (Gives smallest pension.)
    • "No tiene conyuge" if not married. (Gives smaller pension.)
    INSS's "Minimum Amounts"
  7. Click "Continuar" button.

  8. Get a "Datos del periodo laboral" page. Notice that the page has an upper section (for entering a new period of working) and a lower section (for showing a list of the periods you've specified so far).
  9. Specify a period of working:
    In "Regimen", select "Regimen General".
    In "Situacion Laboral", select "Alta en Empresa" (working for a company).
    Specify start and end dates. [For simplest test, try start 1/1/2000 and end today's date.] Neither of these dates can be in the future.
    In "Indique el motivo de cese", select "Cese por libre voluntad del trabajador".
    Click "Acceptar" button.
  10. See that a line has appeared in the lower section "Relacion de periodos laborales", showing the period worked.
  11. Add more periods worked, if you wish.
  12. Click "Continuar" button.

  13. Get a "Informacion laboral" page.
    First line translates as "If you are going to continue contributing after the date of this study, fill in the following information:"
    For simplest test, fill in this page.
    In "Regimen", select "Regimen General".
    Leave date field empty (will contribute right up to retirement date).
    Leave percentage field empty (will work full-time).
    Leave "Coeficiente de bonificacion" field empty (no bonus ?).
  14. Click "Continuar" button.

  15. Get a "Datos del parto/aborto" page. Leave it empty.
  16. Click "Continuar" button.
  17. Get a "Datos del hijo" page. Leave it empty.
  18. Click "Continuar" button.
  19. Get a "Informacion laboral" page. Leave it empty.
  20. Click "Continuar" button.

  21. Get a "Detalle de cotizaciones y bonificaciones" page.
    Notice your retirement date ("Fecha de jubilacion") at the top.
    The terms don't translate properly, but the four numbers of "dias" seem to compute as:
    • Carencias exigidas - Generica: total days you must work to be eligible (15 years = 5475 days).
    • Carencias acreditadas - Generica: total days you actually worked by the time you retire.
    • Carencias exigidas - Especifica (ultimos 15 años): total days you must work in last 15 years before retirement to be eligible (2 years = 730 days).
    • Carencias acreditadas - Especifica (ultimos 15 años): total days you actually worked in last 15 years before retirement.
  22. Now is a good time to save the "study" to disk so you could reload it later.
    Click "Guardar" button.
    Get "Guardar supuesto" page.
    Click "Guardar" button.
    Choose folder and set filename and save as ".aut" file.
    Click "Volver" button.
  23. Click "Continuar" button.
  24. Get "Informacion sobre su Jubilacion ordinaria" page.
    It looks like it's listing 4 errors, but it's just listing 4 important pieces of data.
  25. Click "Calcular pension" button.

  26. Get "Bases de cotizacion" page.
    See lines of years, and columns of months.
    Three whitish buttons under the table: Click "Bases minimas" to specify minimum contribution base in each month, or "Bases maximas" to specify maximum contribution base in each month, or "Limpiar" to wipe them all out and start again. Can't go straight between minimum and maximum, have to click "Limpiar" inbetween.
    Buttons for each row: don't know what first button does; second is a "Limpiar".
    [I think "minimum base" means "minimum contribution base (salary) needed to get a month's credit toward pension" And "maximum base" means "maximum salary we'll tax", so millionaires can't make huge payments into the pension system and get huge payouts later.]
    [These numbers will be adjusted later to reflect inflation to retirement date.]
  27. For simplest test, click "Bases minimas".
  28. Click "Introducir mas bases" button.
  29. See page with another set of years.
  30. For simplest test, click "Bases maximas".
  31. Keep doing "Introducir mas bases" and alternating "Bases minimas" and "Bases maximas" until you run out of years and see a "Continuar" button.
    [BUG: I said start at 1/1/2000, but it takes me back to only 2006.]
  32. Click "Continuar" button.

  33. Get "Bases de cotizacion para el calculo" page showing contributions for each year.
    At top, see "Base Reguladora (NN años) = MMMMMMM / PPP = QQQQ €" line.
    NN = number of years in "regulatory base": 19 (rising to 25).
    MMMMMMM = total amount contributed in last 19 (rising to 25) years.
    PPP = 19 (rising to 25) x 14.
    QQQQ = "regular" monthly (or 1/14th of annual ?) pension amount (if you worked 35 years or more). I think there are 14 pension payments per year.
  34. Click "Continuar" button.
  35. Get "Detalle del calculo" page.
    At top, see "Jubilacion ordinaria (Ley 27/2011 - Edad legal exigible) Importe pension: RRRR €" line.
    RRRR = your actual monthly (or 1/14th of annual ?) pension amount. This is reduced from the "regular" by 2% to 3% for each year less than 35 years (being raised to 37 years) that you were contributing (this is "demora"). If you contributed for only 15 years, you get 50% of the "regular".

  36. If you want to save to ".aut" file, click "Guardar" button.
  37. If you want to save to a PDF file, click "Generar informe" button.

  38. If you click "Inicio" button at top of page, or start again later, you will get "Introduccion al Sistema" page. To load ".aut" file, click "Recuperar supuesto" button.

How they could make this whole process much easier:
  • Contribution history should give summary numbers, for each year and for whole working life: average contribution base per month.
  • Pension Calculator should let you type in those numbers, for any working period or year, past or future.
INSS's "Suggestions and complaints"
(But page gives no postal address or email address. Postal address is: Quejas y Sugerencias, Servicio de Comunicacion Interinstitucional, Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social, C/ Padre Damian, 4-6, 28036 � Madrid. Sent a complaint, got back a response saying they don't accept complaints by postal mail, but page says they do.)

I filed a suggestion form about this, and got a response early 3/2018 "your suggestion points out a number of technical problems with this function, we're working to improve it".

Advoco's "Spanish pension benefits" (2011)
Advoco's "Spanish pension benefits 2012"
Richelle de Wit's "Pension Facts Spain 2017"
INSS's "Minimum Amounts"
BBVA's "Retirement pension: how is it calculated?"

If you worked in multiple EU countries:'s "State pensions abroad"'s "FAQs - State pensions abroad"

Renouncing US citizenship:
Expat Info Desk's "Five Steps to Renouncing US Citizenship"
Expat Info Desk's "5 Common Misconceptions About Giving Up US Citizenship"
Renunciation Guide's "A Guide To Relinquishing or Renouncing U.S. Citizenship"
Max Reed's "Renouncing U.S. citizenship after U.S. tax reform"
State Dept's "Renunciation of U.S. Nationality Abroad"
U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands' "Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship"
US State Dept's "Advice about Possible Loss of U.S. Nationality and Dual Nationality"
Andrew Henderson's "Why and How I Renounced My US Citizenship"
Alexander Marino's "Renouncing your US citizenship: Is divorcing Uncle Sam right for you?"

US Inheritance Tax and Non-US-citizen Spouse:
Nolo's "Estate Planning When You're Married to a Noncitizen"
Gedeon Law & CPA's "US Estate Tax When Spouse Is Not A US Citizen"

This page updated: July 2018.

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