Hacienda, the Spanish tax authority, is working hard to identify properties which, irrespective of whether or not they have a works licence, have not been declared by their owners or by the local town halls and registered for tax purposes.
The authorities are targeting not only newly-built properties, but also those which have undergone modernisation works and those whose use has changed.
This is part of the Plan for the Adjustment of Rateable Values which came into force in 2013 and will be applied until 2016 to combat tax fraud and at the same time increase the amount of money in the public coffers. Unsurprisingly, a higher rateable value means paying more in municipal taxes such as IBI and capital gains, regional taxes such as inheritance and transfers, and State taxes such as income tax and wealth tax.
This regulatory process, which is being carried out all over Spain with the exception of the Basque Country and Navarra (because in those areas the powers have been delegated to their regional governments), will pay special attention to coastal areas where there are large residential developments and rural areas with numerous self-build properties. Malaga province fits both of these categories perfectly.
At the moment the Dirección General del Catastro intends to go through 28 municipalities with a fine toothcomb during the initial phase, to check whether the registered description of the property coincides with the reality.
This first stage will include practically the whole of the Malaga coast: Manilva, Casares, Estepona, Marbella, Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Malaga, Vélez and Algarrobo, as well as the towns in the Malaga metropolitan area (Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín el Grande, Coín, Cártama, Álora and Pizarra) and the upper Axarquía region (Alfarnate, Alfarnatejo, Riogordo, Colmenar and Periana).
There is a fee of 60 euros to update the property records. With regard to the taxes, a rateable value will be assigned to the property in question, with a date from which it comes into effect. This information will then be incorporated into the property register of the municipality and the increased charge will be applied from the following year. The owner also has to pay any amount that he or she has failed to pay in the past, or at least for the past four years, as beyond that period the matter is considered to have prescribed.