THE Inheritance Tax in Spain, is a personal tax (not relevant to companies), payable by the beneficiaries of an inheritance. We want to talk about the definition of chattels in inheritance tax in Spain.
The concept of chattels.
The word Chattels (ajuar in Spanish) is defined as the set of furniture, belongings and clothes used in the home.
For the purposes of inheritance tax in Spain (IHT), article 15 of the Law says:
The chattels will be part of the estate and will be valued at 3 per cent of the amount of the deceased’s relict estate, unless the interested parties assign a higher value to it, or reliably prove it doesn’t exist or that its value is less than that resulting of the application of the referred percentage.
Therefore, the IHT law does not define what chattels are but only explains its calculations, saying that it will be 3 per cent of the estate.
The chattels in the Spanish civil code.
On the other hand, in the Spanish civil code, it refers to the chattels (article 1321), as the clothes, furniture and belongings of the common habitual residence and excludes from it jewellery, artwork, historical objects and other items of extraordinary value.
The problem of chattels for inheritance tax.
Thus, on the one hand, for civil purposes, the chattels (ajuar) refer to movable property, etc. linked to the habitual residence and personal use.
But for tax purposes, the inheritance tax rule bases its calculation on 3 per cent of all assets even if they are not for personal use.
For example, if the estate is formed of commercial properties and investments, from the civil point of view the estate is nothing to do with chattels. For tax purposes however, it would be considered that the value of the chattels is 3 per cent of the value of those items.
Change of doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court (SC).
We must highlight the court decision dated 03/10/2020, Resolution number: 342/2020, that could be seen in the offical web of CENDOJ and in this link.
In it, the Supreme Court changed its doctrine, stating that the chattels in the inheritance tax in Spain must be interpreted as follows;
1.- As the movable assets assigned to the service of the family home or to the personal use of the deceased.
2.- That for the purposes of its calculation, 3 per cent should be charged on the assets related to private or personal use of the deceased, excluding others. So, no 3 per cent need be charged on all of the estate as previously.
3.- Therefore, money, shares, real estate assets (investments) or other intangible assets, should not be considered for the calculation of the 3 per cent.
This new interpretation is much more beneficial for individuals, which will mean a fiscal saving in inheritance tax.
Likewise, if you have paid inheritance tax; the chattels calculation could be reviewed, and you could get part of the tax paid back.
If you need expert legal advice on Inheritance, Probate, Wills or IHT, contact us.
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The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it merely conveys information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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