Minister of Finance María Jesús Montero. / Europa Press

Europe considers Spain's "disproportionate" tax penalties for foreign assets illegal

The Spanish Treasury department is already working on modifying the Modelo 720, declaration of assets abroad, form and expects to have to refund a maximum of 230 million euros

CLARA ALBA

Spain's Ministry of Finance is already working to correct the Model 720, declaration of assets abroad, that yesterday received a hard blow from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), which considers the rule is against EU law because of its "disproportionate" penalties. The Minister, María Jesús Montero, has promised to modify the text before the end of the quarter, reminding taxpayers that the obligation to submit the information on foreign assets remains in force until March 31.

It is the penalties that have come into question as, according to the European justice, they establish "very high fixed amounts of a minimum of 1,500 and 10,000 euros and with a total amount that is unlimited." In some cases, the total amount owed exceeded 100 per cent of the value of the assets abroad.

This rule came into force in 2012 with the PP Government but in the last three years the penalties have not been applied. The ones that are being challenged are those prior to 2019.

Although it will have to be studied case by case, the Treasury estimates that they will be faced with paying out refunds close to 230 million euros. A figure that the ministry considers assumable taking into account that, according to data from the Tax Agency, there are currently 60,000 taxpayers who present this type of tax declaration.

As the minister explained, the changes to soften the rule will be developed through one of the legislative projects that are already being processed in the Congreso de los Diputados (not by means of a royal decree-law). Montero explained this procedure after she presented the tax collection data for 2021, which reached a record 223,382 million euros showing a 15% rise. The figure exceeded what was budgeted for, thanks to the better performance of commercial activity and employment.