TAX TAXES SPAIN SPANISH LAWYERS SOLICITORS EXPATS
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One of the best ways to identify the needs, fears, problems, questions, of my Expat or International clients, is without a doubt the EXPATS groups on FACEBOOK.

This is the first of a series of posts in which I have been able to ask 3 questions to various administrators of the most important Expat groups I know on Facebook.

Undoubtedly, the characteristic that coincides in all of them is their desire to help others, and above all to share their own experience as Expat citizens in Spain, with the clear intention of HELPING OTHERS.

Without a doubt, the best teaching one can receive is from those who have lived the experience in their own skin.

All those doubts, frustrations, and why not, disappointments, forge and shape the wisdom of a person, and undoubtedly empower them to give others those tricks or shortcuts, which relieve the problems of others who find themselves in the same situation as we found ourselves before.

It is true that in these groups, there is often the risk of advice and opinions being given by people who do not have the necessary knowledge and who, in a totally imprudent manner, venture to give advice on subjects that sometimes require a more in-depth analysis and also one that is carried out by a professional.

For this reason, the work of administrators is even more valuable, as if they were firemen, who have to extinguish fires and therefore correctly moderate situations that can be very harmful to those who ask for advice.

Well, the three questions I have asked each of the administrators are these:

What was the reason that motivated you to create this group?

What is it about this group that other groups don’t have?

If you were President of Spain, what would you do to improve or ease the lives of expats in Spain?

If you didn’t know about these groups, what are you waiting for?

FACEBOOK GROUP: SpainExpat – Share News, Tips and Tricks for Happy Expats in Spain

LINK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/spainexpats

ADMINISTRATOR: Ty Martin

WEB: www.SpainExpat.com

EMAIL: editor@spainexpat.com

“I personally I have a solid understanding of what works and what doesn’t for expats, from immigration to finance to tech to lifestyle, having lived the immigrant experience in several countries around the world”

What was the reason that motivated you to

create this group?

“I have been running SpainExpat.com since 2004 where we have over 233,000 members and a previously very active forum. The fact is, Facebook offers a superior way for members to interact as a community, so I’m happy to move our members (slowly) over to our Facebook group. In addition, I personally I have a solid understanding of what works and what doesn’t for expats, from immigration to finance to tech to lifestyle, having lived the immigrant experience in several countries around the world.  If you want to read the letter of the law, the government publishes it and you’re welcome to read it. The reality is often somewhat different and open to interpretation to everyone’s individual circumstance and our Facebook group offers tips, tricks and hacks to help you creatively manage and solve bureaucratic and technical problems.

In addition, English-language products and services is an untamed market for expats in Spain; there are many scams and schemes. To address this we evaluate and promote limited time offers from mobile and internet providers, digital banks, airlines, innovative startups offering new ways to own or rent vehicles, and other  products and services reviews relevant to our community.

Some industries, like health insurance, are so important (in fact, it’s required for all visas and residences now) and fraught that we decided to build a brand new tool to inform and protect our community. It’s been such as success that we are now starting to work with Spanish consulates as the only unbiased Spanish health insurance marketplace site in English.

What is it about this group that other groups

don't have?

“You’ll see tactics for getting visas, bank accounts, residence and TIE cards that you won’t see anywhere else. For example, in the past couple of months alone we exclusively published:

– a hack for Americans to be able to fast-track their non lucrative visa to citizenship while optimizing the taxes they pay to the IRS

– a 2 day mega sale on flights from Vueling and another one from Lufthansa (flights to the US from Madrid from 120€!)

– a hack for getting a cita previa at your local oficina de extranjeria instead of sitting at your computer for hours every week fruitlessly clicking through their system.”

If you were President of Spain, what would you do to improve or ease the lives of expats in Spain?

“It wouldn’t just ease the lives of expats, but of all Spaniards if they were to undertake an overhaul of the real estate industry in Spain. The advice every expat hears in any group these days is “don’t buy” right now, and for many good reasons, including:

  1. The transaction fees and taxes are very high compared to most expat-origin countries. The government should adjust the rules and laws to aim for a 3 year break even on real estate taxes and fees at a rate of appreciation matching inflation.
  2. Permitting for renovations is arduous and painful. Move all permitting processes online and digital, and implement a maximum decision time with penalties for agencies who cause delays.
  3. Inheritance laws cause properties to sit empty for years, if not decades. One of the requirements for the sale of inherited property is that all beneficiaries are physically present at the final transaction. Imagine how long it can take to wrangle 5+ beneficiaries to a housing sale in this globalized world.
  4. Notaries, apostilles, and physical seals are a thing of the past, yet continue to bog down all kinds of business transactions including real estate. The government needs to embrace digital tools, blockchain based systems, smart contracts, and digital signatures for transactions and documentation.
  5. Property values have been all over the place and, with the double whammy of Brexit + COVID19, I expect to see further declines in many areas of Spain
  6. Rents are very affordable and there is a glut of supply thanks to short-term rentals joining the medium and long term market while there are no tourists. Protections for renters is disproportionate to those for property owners, making investment properties very risky compared to other property investment markets. It’s time to examine the laws protecting renters and encourage new forms of arbitration of disputes.

Alternatively, the government could get a quick win for expats by offering all documentation relevant to immigration in English. Their websites are currently sparsely translated, even when an option for “English” appears to be available.

Tyler Martin

Founder, Editor in Chief, SpainExpat.com

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MY FAVOURITE EXPATS FACEBOOK GROUPS #1

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