Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, revealed last week that, following the introduction of the special reporting procedure for identifying foreign accounts, which is part of the new Fraud Act and which provides penalties of up to 150% of the value of any undeclared asset, 131,411 Spanish taxpayers have declared foreign assets amounting to 87,700 million euros, which is equivalent to approximately 9% of the Spanish GDP.
Rajoy announced these figures after the European Council meeting in which one of the central topics of discussion has been the fight against fraud and tax evasion.
The data collected by the Treasury after the deadline to declare any accounts, assets or property abroad to 31st December 2012 with a value of more than 50,000 euros, which ended on 30th April, shows that most respondents are individuals (129,925), compared to only 1,486 legal entities. 76.5% of the total declared, more than 67,000 million euros, corresponds to assets – mostly real-estate, deposits or securities – owned by individuals.
The new reporting procedure requires the holders of any property or right located outside of Spain with a value exceeding 50,000 euros, to submit annually, by electronic means, the form 720 ‘Information Statement on Assets and Rights Abroad’. This includes all bank accounts, all kinds of immovable property and rights to property or securities, insurances and any income deposited, handled or obtained abroad. Starting next year, and for subsequent years, the period for the presentation of this disclosure will be between 1st January and 31st March.
Rajoy defended the new measure implemented this year as a tool to combat tax fraud, to which he said “Spain attaches the utmost importance. All the European Union countries are demanding great efforts of its citizens.”
The European Council agreed to promote and expand the scope of tax information exchange, and in the text of the conclusions of the summit, stated that “it is important to take effective measures against tax evasion and tax fraud, particularly in the current context of fiscal consolidation, in order to protect revenues and ensure fair and effective tax systems”.