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Money Transfers for Expats in Spain

Submitted: July 2013

There are no legal restrictions on capital flows to and from Spain. Capital controls have been abolished since the 1992 European monetary crisis.


Bank restrictions and charges

You can generally transfer money free of charge and without restriction to another Spanish account.

Your bank may charge you for your transfers outside Spain, even if they are SEPA payments to another EEA country. You might wish to check the applicable charges and restrictions at your Spanish bank.

Foreign exchange considerations must also be taken into account, unless you use offshore euro holdings. See Foreign Exchange for Expats in Spain.


Cash control rules

You must make a declaration to the Customs Authority (servicios de aduanas) if you transfer at least €10,000 (or currency equivalent) worth of cash to a foreign country. This amount is increased to €100,000 for transfers within Spain.

All transactions over €2,500 are required by law not to be made with cash. Therefore, these transactions must be completed through a verifiable means of payment.

Cash transfers include banknotes and coins, banker’s drafts, bearer instruments, e-money and negotiable cheques. International bank transfers are not within the scope of cash control rules.


Spanish Foreign Account Tax Compliance

Pursuant to Royal Decree 1588/2012, all Spanish residents are subject to strict tax compliance rules with regard to their foreign accounts. By law, residents must disclose their reportable overseas assets to the tax authority (Hacienda) on a form 720 by 31 March each year, but only if their aggregate value exceeds €50,000. Once the initial declaration has been made, there are no further reporting requirements unless the foreign assets increase later on by at least €20,000.

Reportable assets include:

The Spanish Government takes foreign account tax compliance rules seriously, as it is a key policy tool against corruption and tax evasion. Failure to comply with these rules may result in the following:

As foreign account reporting requirements are residence-based, you should check your residence status for tax purposes. A local tax adviser or a wealth manager may assist you on this specific aspect. See Wealth Management for Expats in Spain.


Euro-zone crisis and money transfers for Spanish residents

The Euro-zone crisis has posed and still poses substantial challenges to the stability of the EU monetary union as a whole. For example, Cypriot savers have been subject to a “surprise bailout tax” on bank deposits as well as fresh capital control rules in March 2013, as a result of a bailout agreement to save the Cypriot financial system.

As Spain is also badly affected by the Euro-zone crisis, expatriates might wish to transfer or keep their savings outside Spain in anticipation of any form of financial repression in the future. See Investment for Expats in Spain.



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