Depositphotos_10165714_s-2015.jpgOnce we have taken the decision to sell our second home, we ask our advisor how much tax we will have to pay on the profit or capital gain, assuming there is one. Indeed, in some cases the Ayuntamientos punish taxpayers (i.e. vendors) with an unexpected and excessive municipal tax on a non-existent gain when the vendors are selling their property for the same price they paid for it years previously.

Well, now the Spanish Constitutional Court has put an end to this practice in a recent ruling.

The Constitutional Court partly annuls the Municipal Plusvalía regulation.

Date: 18/05/2017

The plenary session of the Constitutional Court has unanimously agreed to declare articles 107.1, 107.2 a) and 110.4 of the revised text of the Law Regulating the Local Tax Authorities unconstitutional and null; considering that tax on the increase in value of urban land violates the constitutional principle of economic capacity insofar as it is not necessarily connected with a real increase in the value of the property, “but to the mere ownership of the land for a period of time”. → It is declared unconstitutional only insofar as non-existent gains are subject to being taxed.

Therefore, the ruling published on 17/05/2017 reiterates the view expressed by the Court in judgments 26/2017 and 37/2017; meaning as a result that the imposition is declared unconstitutional throughout Spain when there has not been any actual increase in value.

Previously, the simple fact of having been the owner of an urban property for a certain period was sufficient for the tax to be imposed, even where there was no increase in value.

And so, the judgment establishes that “the way to determine the existence or otherwise of an increase subject to being liable to tax is something that corresponds purely to the legislature, in its  capacity of setting regulatory framework, from the publication of this judgment, setting the relevant modifications or adaptations within the legal tax regime so as to introduce the mechanism for not submitting situations of non-existent increases of urban land value to taxation”.

CONCLUSION: if you are in the situation where you have received or paid this tax and are in a position to show that you did not obtain any gain or profit from the sale, you can appeal the demand or, if applicable, request a refund of the tax, by submitting an application with the evidence to the appropriate council.


Spanish version


Una vez tomada la decisión de vender nuestra segunda vivienda,  consultamos con nuestro asesor cuantos impuestos tendremos que pagar de nuestro beneficio o ganancia patrimonial, si es que lo hay,  y en algunos casos aún vendiendo al mismo precio que lo compramos hace años los ayuntamientos “castigan”al contribuyente (vendedor) con un sorprendente y excesivo impuesto municipal que grava una ganancia patrimonial inexistente,

Pues bien, el Tribunal Constitucional Español ha puesto freno a esta práctica,
en una reciente sentencia.

El TC anula parcialmente la regulación de la “Plusvalía municipal”

Fecha: 18/05/2017

El Pleno del Tribunal Constitucional ha acordado por unanimidad declarar la inconstitucionalidad y nulidad de los arts. 107.1, 107.2 a) y 110.4 del texto refundido de la Ley Reguladora de las Haciendas Locales; considerando que el impuesto sobre el incremento del valor de los terrenos de naturaleza urbana vulnera el principio constitucional de capacidad económica en la medida en que no se vincula necesariamente a la existencia de un incremento real del valor del bien, “sino a la mera titularidad del terreno durante un periodo de tiempo”. → Se declara la inconstitucionalidad únicamente en la medida que someten a tributación situaciones de inexistencia de incrementos de valor.

Por lo tanto, el fallo hecho público el (17/05/2017) reitera la doctrina establecida por el Tribunal en las sentencias 26/2017 y 37/2017; quedando por lo tanto declarado inconstitucional en toda España la imposición cuando no se haya producido un incremento real del valor.

Hasta ahora, el mero hecho de haber sido titular de una propiedad de naturaleza urbana durante un determinado periodo temporal implicaba necesariamente el pago del impuesto, incluso cuando no se ha producido un incremento del valor


Ahora bien, la sentencia determina que “la forma de determinar la existencia o no de un incremento susceptible de ser sometido a tributación es algo que solo corresponde al legislador, en su libertad de configuración normativa, a partir de la publicación de esta Sentencia, llevando a cabo las modificaciones o adaptaciones pertinentes en el régimen legal del impuesto que permitan arbitrar el modo de no someter a tributación las situaciones de inexistencia de incremento de valor de los terrenos de naturaleza urbana”.

⇒ CONCLUSIÓN: si usted está en el caso de haber recibido o pagado este impuesto y está en situación de acreditar que no obtuvo beneficio o ganancia alguna de la venta, puede recurrir la liquidación o en su caso solicitar la devolución del tributo, presentando una solicitud debidamente fundamentada en el ayuntamiento correspondiente.


Author: J. Escobedo

I am a member of the Tenerife Law Society since 1989 with a dedicated team for anyone who needs an immediate answer or long term solution to any practical or legal issues appertaining to any property or business investment in Spain. If you have decided to move to Spain to start a new life, whether that´s buying a property or a business, then you will definitely need the services of a good Spanish Lawyer who is fully conversant with Spanish protocol and who has a good command of the English language. I am based in the south of Tenerife and I am specialist in Property Law, Inheritance issues and taxes as well as Tenerife and Canarian law and a great deal more. ABOUT MY STAFF All my friendly and professional staff are fluent in English. We have been working for foreign clientes for over 30 years in Tenerife, providing legal advice and litigation services to all our clients investing throughout the whole of Spain and we pride ourselves on providing a high quality service to our clients in the form of clearer communication and advice.

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