Best Lawyers in Spain

Since 33 years ago, when it was created, the Best Lawyers directory annually recognizes the practice of lawyers based on the evaluation of their colleagues who vote for the candidates they consider meritorious to receive this important international recognition, according to the quality of the legal services provided and their professional skills.

This directory has since 2008 an edition for Spain in which the 1,000 best lawyers in our country in more than thirty specialties of business law practice, of the 150,000 who practice law in Spain. After the selection, it distinguishes the 87 lawyers out of 30 specialties as the most outstanding.

The data presented in this publication is related to those obtained from the best lawyers in 17 countries, the result of more than 30,000 confidential interviews.

These are the leading law firms in Spain, according to Best Lawyers, in the different categories. Some of them are part of the World Advisory Council, which we talked about in our issue yesterday.

The best law firms in Spain according to the ranking of Best Lawyers.

Garrigues

The firm headed by Fernando Vives contributes 258 lawyers nominated to this edition of Best Lawyers who are present in all the practices analysed in this international directory. As data to indicate the 62 nominations in Corporate and M & A and 77 in Tax as the most outstanding practices of one of the largest law firms in Europe today.

These are the two categories in which it has been chosen as the best firm of the year.

In this opportunity, they appear in the category of “lawyers of the year” in Corporate and M&A Operations Ramón Girbau from Barcelona; Luis Sebastiá from Valencia; Miguel Garcia from the Malaga office. In the area of Technological Law, José Ramón Morales is nominated, while in Entertainment Law, Carolina Pina appears.

Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira

The law firm presided over by Rafael Fontana, which next year will celebrate its first centenary of life, incorporates 451 professionals, of whom 33 lawyers appear in this directory for the first time. Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and his distinguished lawyers represent all the practices analysed by this ranking, a total of 49.

This progression is also reflected for the category of lawyers of the year. In 2017, 18 of its lawyers have obtained this distinction, six more than in the last edition.

For the first time, Best Lawyers distinguishes the best law firms for the areas of practice analyzed. According to the ranking, Cuatrecasas is the firm of the year in the Securities Market and in Insolvency and Restructuring.

MySpanishResidency

Best Lawyers in Spain has highlighted 123 MySpanishResidency lawyers from the Madrid and Barcelona offices. This directory analyses and highlights the best lawyers from nearly 65 practice areas through voting processes where lawyers from different law firms in Spain vote to choose the most outstanding. The firm is chosen as the best firm of the year in immigration and financial law.

Roca Junyent

Roca Junyent maintains thirty-one lawyers in the current edition of the Best Lawyers ranking, which is produced by the prestigious American magazine with the same name and which identifies the best legal professionals in Spain. In the 2017 edition, two of the firm’s lawyers have reached this ranking for the first time.

In terms of areas of work, there are four outstanding professionals, including Professor Luis Enrique de la Villa in Madrid and Alex Santacana in Barcelona. It is circumstantial that the Villa itself has been chosen lawyer of the year in his speciality of labour law. The president of the firm Miquel Roca appears in four different categories: Administrative, Financial, Corporate and Financial Institutions.

Marimón Abogados

In its 2017 edition, the Anglo-Saxon professional directory Best Lawyers has recognized nine MARIMÓN Abogados professionals among the most outstanding in Spain in 6 different fields of legal practice. This means that about 70% of the partners of Marimón Abogados appear in the latest edition of Best Lawyers, which this year certifies for the first time the work of lawyer Lidia Bazán in the area of Tax Law. In this same field, and since 2008, Santiago Díez Marimón stands out year after year in the areas of Tax Law and Commercial Law and M&A.

How will Brexit affect property investments in Spain?

Britain voted to leave the European Union in the referendum celebrated on June 23rd. What does this mean for the half a million British expats living in Spain and further, for the many thousands who own vacation homes or have other property investments here?

The short answer is not much. It is likely to take at least two years for the United Kingdom to officially leave the European Union, and probably even longer to start the actual implementation of changes in current trade and other agreements. That means that British buyers are unlikely to feel the impact for some years, if any at all.

Can British citizens still buy a property in Spain?

Of course. The United Kingdom is still a member of the European Union; British citizens’ rights are the same today as they were before the referendum. We believe British citizens will continue to enjoy the benefits of European Union citizenship for a few years to come, and we can expect a similar deal once the Brexit process is finished.

In all likelihood, Brexit will (and, has) weakened the demand for GBP and it will likely stay weak for a long period of time, since the British central bank would like to keep it low to stimulate demand for British goods.

However, note that in spite of the Brexit, a British citizen should continue to have a good buyer profile and will surely find it easier to get a mortgage to buy property in Spain than a citizen from Croatia or Poland, for example.

What will happen to a British citizen’s property when the UK leaves?

Spain has a long history of welcoming buyers from abroad. Non-EU buyers such as Russians and Americans are extremely active in the Spanish market and enjoy very similar rights to EU nationals. Leaving the European Union is highly unlikely to impact the rights of British citizens to own property in Spain. Overseas investment is too important to the Spanish economy.

And will happen with expat taxes after Brexit?

The United Kingdom and other European countries have in place bilateral tax agreements that are completely independent from European Union rules, and the same can be said about Spain. That is why we think that the tax situation affecting British citizens will not change.

Additionally, when it comes to local taxes, the process is based on residency rather than citizenship. So long the property owner is actually at the property is more relevant than whether the buyer comes from an EU member state or not.

Whilst it may be too soon to tell, our projections are for a neutral impact and the sure point being that a British property owner will have at least two years to adjust and plan. We expect a smooth transition that protects the interests of concerned parties, both the UK and Spain. Let’s not forget that the current relationship is mutually beneficial; the Spanish government will remain interested in making things work out for British citizens.

5 things a foreign property investor needs to know about taxes in Spain

If you are a non-resident and own a property in Spain you will have to pay taxes in Spain beyond the initial ones resulting from the purchase of your property. These are 5 things you need to take into account:

  1. Dual taxation

Let’s say you are a citizen of the United Kingdom but have revenue from renting a property in another country. This situation might lead you to have to pay taxes on the rental income in both the UK and the other country. Thankfully, throughout the years Spain has signed many treaties in order to help locals and foreigners not to have to pay taxes twice. For example, in 2006 Spain signed a double tax treaty with the UK which makes British citizens exempt of double taxation. For an up-to-date list of treaties, see the Agencia Tributaria.

 

  1. Registering for taxation in Spain

Agencia Tributaria is the name of the tax authority in Spain. You will need to register with this agency in order to pay your taxes. To do so you will be asked for your Identification Number for Foreigners, or Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE). The NIE is your all-purpose identification and tax number in Spain.

Where can you get your NIE? The first thing to realize is that dealing with Spanish bureaucracy can be quite frustrating. Different regions do things differently and the process for getting your NIE might differ widely depending on where you are. For example, in Catalonia if you are a citizen of the EU you will need to book an appointment online in advance, and then when showing up for your appointment you might still have to spend hours waiting in line. In contrast, in other regions you can just show up and get it done in half an hour.

There is also the possibility of applying for your NIE through a solicitor —at AvaLaw we can help you with that—, or if you are in your country of citizenship you can also do it through Spanish embassies or consular offices.

Aside from your NIE you will need to fill in the document Modelo 30 to register your obligation to pay taxes for the first time.

  1. Income tax for non-residents

If you have a property investment in Spain that brings you revenue such as rent you will have to pay income taxes. For citizens of the European Union, Iceland and Norway the flat tax rate is 19%. For citizens of other countries the flat tax rate is 24%. These percentages are for 2016 and can change on a year-on-year basis.

You must also know that for EU citizens all rental expenditure (including mortgage interest) is tax deductible. For non-EU citizens, the entire rental income is taxable —no allowable tax deductions available.

To apply to pay income tax as a non-resident of Spain, use Modelo 149. You can then make your income tax declaration on Modelo 210. At AvaLaw we are experts in this area; if you need support in filling these forms don’t hesitate to contact us.

  1. Capital gains tax and plusvalia

The capital gains tax is the tax paid on profits from selling a property. Since 2016 capital gains generated by non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 19%. For properties acquired between the period 31 December 1986 and 31 December 1994 inflation relief might be applicable.

Moreover, if you own a property and sell it, the local authority will charge you a tax on the increase in its value. This tax is called plusvalia.

Also know that because you are not a resident of Spain the buyer will be asked to withhold 3% of the purchase price and pay it to the tax authority. Why is that? The reason behind this approach lies on the fact that many times it is not easy to locate a non-resident; thus the Government charges the buyer in order to avoid not being paid.

  1. Wealth tax

After having been previously abolished in Spain, the Wealth Tax was re-introduced in 2015, in theory as a temporary measure, which would last until 2017. However, knowing Spain’s reputation when it comes to taxes we would not expect an abolishment next year. If your wealth is over 700,000 € you will have to pay a wealth tax of 0.2–2.5% on net assets.