Briton’s pension tax battle

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August 16
San Miguel de Salinas

Dear Alex

I am writing with regard to your article ‘Briton’s pension tax battle’, which was in the Costa Blanca News of 13- 19 August.

Like ‘Bill’ I am a public sector pensioner and have lived in Spain for 18 years. The rules around public sector pensions are clear and subject to the double taxation agreement between the UK and Spain. Basically, most public sector pensions must be taxed in the UK and the agreement states that such pensions cannot be taxed twice.

A few years ago, the Spanish tax agency decided that, while such pensions are not taxable in Spain, they would be included in the calculation to determine the rate of tax payable on any other income. I have always filed my tax returns in Spain and provided the necessary proof that my public sector pension is indeed taxed in the UK, as shown on my annual P60.

My advice to Bill would be to find an accountant, lawyer, or ‘asesor’ who is familiar with the double taxation agreement to advise on the best course on action. There is no point in paying an interpreter to go with you to the tax office as someone competent in taxation law is needed.

Over the years my ‘asesor’ has dealt with the tax office on my behalf and I depend on him to sort out any issues arising. He is, of course, not free and his professional fees reflect the fact that he is competent and up to date with tax law.

From your article I get the impression that Bill has failed to submit annual tax returns, having followed advice of an estate agent, and your article will serve as a wakeup call to any pensioners in a similar position.

I wish Bill well in his battle and it may be that his local Consulate can help him to find an accountant, lawyer or ‘asesor’ to take on his case.

Lynda Summerfield

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