Modelo 720- Declaration of Foreign Assets- 2017 update

It is now four years deeply unpopular Modelo 720, the declaration of foreign assets, has been with us. Happy birthday- not !  As of today, there have been no updates on the Agencia Tributaria website since last year, so for now we are assuming that nothing has changed in the rules.

After the initial bewilderment and even fear (looking at the kind of fines that the Agencia Tributaria propose for errors in declaration, produced by Modelo 720 when it was first released), I would say that things have calmed down now.  We have still not come across any Tax Office fines or penalties,  and it appears from correspondence received from them that they are mainly using the data submitted in Modelo 720 to check that income from foreign assets (e.g. rental income from a foreign property) is being properly declared in Spain- subject to the provisions of the relevant international Double Tax Treaties.

However we continue to advise that those filing this declaration take extreme care to fully and correctly disclose all details. I    wouldn´t want to take any risks with the Agencia Tributaria given their capacity for giving and enforcing sanctions and penalties.

As nothing has changed in the rules since last year, I am copying below our general guidelines and have added some more specific technical notes in a further post.

For more information and guidance, please visit our website

Obligation to declare

Spanish residents with foreign assets or income in any of the following categories exceeding 50,000 Euros on 31st December.

  1. Accounts in any kind of financial institution e.g. banks, building societies.
  2. a) Investments/ rights of representation in foreign companies or other entities.                                                                                                                   b) Investments in foreign collective investment institutions (e.g. unit trusts).                                                                                                                         c) Foreign life/ invalidity insurance; income from foreign annuities.
  3. Property and rights to property.

Note that the threshold is for the total value of each of the three categories.

Where assets are jointly held (e.g. with a spouse), it is the total value of the asset which is relevant. A separate return must be submitted for each person.

Presentation deadline

This tax return must be submitted by 31st March following the end of the year in which the taxpayer is obliged to declare.

Frequency of declarations

The Agencia Tributaria guidelines state the following:

After the initial return is presented, a new return must be filed when the total of any category of assets/ income increases by 20,000 Euros or more, either at 31st December or during the last quarter of the year.

Valuation of assets

Property: purchase price;

Investments which are traded on the open market: market value as at 31st December;

Other investments: value on last published balance sheet.

Penalties for non-disclosure

The guidelines mention “minimum” penalties of 30,000 Euros for non-disclosure ! I can’t envisage how such big penalties could be applied, or even if they would be enforceable if challenged under EU law.

Information is, in principle, shared very easily between financial institutions and Tax Offices in both EU and non-EU countries these days; this means that, in theory at least, the figures that you declare can be checked by the Agencia Tributaria.

The Agencia Tributaria FAQ’s imply that even the slightest error, even unintentional (e.g. in a bank account number) will be punished by a minimum fine of 10,000 Euros !

This would appear to be nothing more than scaremongering.  But the fact is, we don’t know.  To date we have not heard from any prospective clients who have received a fine,  so at this point we can only conjecture

For more information and guidance, please visit our website

Registration of foreign companies for French VAT

If your company is already registered elsewhere in the EU and requires to register for VAT in France, including obtaining an EU Intracommunity  number, the process is reasonably straightforward compared to other EU countries such as Spain.

French VAT registration is effected via the department of the Tax Office that deals with foreign companies, la Service des Impòts des Entreprises Etrangêres. Applications are made by post and processing times are generally quite quick, as little as two weeks.

Once the French VAT application has been accepted, a French tax code (SIRET) and Intracommunity VAT number is issued, with a notice sent out which explains how to file VAT returns. The frequency of presentation depends on the expected volume of operations in France of your company.

For further information and assistance, please visit our website franceaccountants.com or contact us by e-mail at info@franceaccountants.com .

2017 income tax rates in France, for income earned in the year 2016

The French tax rates for the year 2017 have now been published. There are no major changes, with the new tax bands as follows.

Up to 9,710 Euros : 0%                                                                                                               From 9,710 to 26,818 Euros : 14%                                                                                         From 26,818 to 71,898 Euros: 30%                                                                                       From 71,898 à 152,260: 41%                                                                                                   Above 152,260 Euros: 45%

You can also find the up-to-date tax rates and allowances on our website at franceaccountants.com/tax.html .

In April the Tax Office system will open for the online filing of the 2015 income tax returns (Declaration des Revenus). They have not yet released the exact dates of commencement and deadlines. We are working on the basis that these will be the same as last year and re-published these on our website at franceaccountants.com. We will update this when the exact dates are published by March.

For further information and assistance with your French tax returns, please visit our website www.franceaccountants.com .