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Making the decision - inheritance tax vs gift tax

Which is better for you and your family

Making sure your loved ones benefit from your hard-earned money is a priority for the majority. You can’t take it with you but it’s nice to have control over who you’re leaving it to.

For some, ‘gifting’ their property seems like the best option. It means the process can be completed during your lifetime and it doesn’t mean that you have to move out of your home. However, it does mean that you are no longer the legal owner and decisions about it will be made by those you donate it to. You need to consider carefully what the benefits and disadvantages are for you and your inheritors in the inheritance tax vs gift tax debate.

Donating a house in Spain was, for many years, one of the most expensive ways of transferring a property. This changed in 2015 when due to a European resolution, Spain was obliged to apply the same fiscal advantages to residents and non residents of the EU.

Following Brexit this new advantage may be removed and the payment of donation tax for non-residents could, once more, mean a considerable drain on inheritors’ resources. A new consideration in the inheritance tax vs donation tax debate. With this in mind, some people are taking the decision now to gift their property and avoid excessive Spanish inheritance tax and donation tax in the future.

Every case is different, but here we have put together a couple of examples.

Case study 1: Parents donating their house in the Valencian Community

Mr and Mrs A have taken the decision to donate their house now to their two children rather than wait for the consequences of the Brexit vote. As things stand, their property is valued at around €200,000. They have taken this decision as currently their children will have no donation tax to pay.

Case study 2:Parents donating their house in the Murcia region to two children

Mrs. C has a house in Murcia. In this case there is something to pay as in Murcia there are no specific allowances for donation. Each child would have to pay €4,966.14  (total €9,932.28) on the property which is also valued at €200,000.

Inheritance tax vs gift tax post Brexit

In both of the cases we’ve outlined above, if the donation was made after Brexit or upon an inheritance transfer and legislation is reverted, then the cost of the donation or inheritance would be substantially higher.

As non-members of the EU each child would have to pay €12,415.36 as there would be no allowances or reduction applicable. It is also important to note that these amounts would be payable (in total €24,830.72) before the house could be sold in the case of inheritance.

Therefore, if you are considering donating your property at some point in the future, and you are a UK national, then it is highly recommendable to proceed now to benefit from the EU tax advantages.

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