Legal basis and nature of the Spanish property tax
The Spanish Property Tax (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles, IBI for short) is a municipal tax taxing the ownership of urban and rural real estate.
Calculation of the Spanish property tax
The calculation of the Spanish property tax is based on the cadastral value (valor catastral) of the property. The Spanish Law on Local Taxes (Ley de Haciendas Locales) provides a framework for tax rates:
For urban real estate, the tax rate is between 0.4% and 1.1%.
For rural real estate, the tax rate is between 0.3% and 0.9%.
The municipalities determine the tax rate in this context. In certain cases, however, municipalities may also set a higher tax rate.
Tax liability, assessment and payment of the Spanish property tax
The taxable person is the one who owns the property on 1 January of each year.
Note: In a rental agreement, however, it can be agreed that the tax must be borne by the renter, see the law on urban lettings (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos, LAU for short).
The Spanish property tax is payable once a year and is due on January 1 of the year.
However, the Spanish property tax is payable only after delivery of the (municipal) tax assessment. (which often happens months later). Responsible for the assessment and collection of property tax are the municipalities.
Note: When buying a property in Spain you should therefore ensure that the Spanish property tax has already been paid.