Following on from Part 1 of our insight article on ‘How does the UK Non-Dom regime compare to other jurisdictions? Part 1’, we continue to explore the options open for those looking at potential alternatives in Continental Europe.
Part 1 looked at Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. Here we focus on the relatively ‘newer’ regimes offered by Spain and Greece.
Spain operates an impatriate tax regime commonly known as the ‘Beckham Law’ which, for a number of years, has enabled eligible individuals to continue to pay taxes as non-residents on their non-Spanish income in the year that they move to Spain and for a number of years thereafter. Previously, this was only available to individuals with employment contracts with a Spanish employer, but legislation recently introduced by the Spanish government has sought to widen the application of the scheme to attract entrepreneurs, directors of certain asset holding companies, digital nomads with non-Spanish employers and the spouses and children under 25 of eligible individuals. The recent changes also shorten the period of non-eligibility as a result of previous tax residence from 10 years to 5.
The benefits of the Beckham Law include: (i) individuals only pay income tax on Spanish source income, rather than worldwide income; (ii) individuals can spend more time in Spain throughout the year without triggering tax residency and (iii) income tax is charged at a flat rate of 25% on the first €600,000 of income, then increasing on a progressive rate up to a maximum of 47% (reduced from the usual top rate of personal tax of 50%).
The recent amendments introduced into the Spanish impatriate tax regime provide a more flexible framework for a wider range of persons considering a move to Spain to qualify for the regime. The reduction of the previously required 10 year term of prior non-Spanish tax residence to 5 years is also welcome. However, the uncertainty introduced by Spain’s new Solidarity Tax may potentially be a significant disincentive in certain cases and should be carefully considered by high net worth individuals before moving to Spain.
Between 2019 and 2021, Greece introduced a number of favourable tax regimes aimed at attracting investors to Greece. The regimes of note are:
- Non-domiciled regime – similar to Italy’s non-domiciled regime, the individual pays a lump-sum tax of €100,000 per tax year, irrespective of the amount of income earned abroad, for a maximum of 15 years. In order to qualify for this regime, the individual must have been tax resident outside of Greece for seven of the last eight years and they must invest a minimum of €500,000 into Greek real estate, bonds or stock. There is no need to declare any non-Greek source income or gains. Greek source income is taxed at normal Greek rates, although there is a tax incentive plan designed to attract wealthy non-Greeks which was introduced in 2021 and which provides decreased tax rates in certain circumstances for income derived from business activity.
- Non-dom regime for pensioners – under this regime, individuals entitled to a foreign pension are subject to favourable taxation of their income, namely tax at a flat rate of 7% on their foreign-sourced income. There are certain criteria which an individual must satisfy in order to take advantage of this: the individual must not have been Greek tax resident for the previous five of the six years and they must transfer their tax residence from a state with which an agreement on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation with Greece is in force. Those subject to this regime are required to declare their income earned both in Greece and abroad.
The test for residence is on a day count basis; there is a presumption of residence if the individual spends more than half a year in Greece and, if not, residence is decided under a centre of vital interests test.
For further information, please contact:
Christopher Groves, Partner, Withersworldwide