Consider a UK citizen who is resident (namely living, and paying income taxes, but not of permanent residence or of Spanish citizenship) in Spain and becomes an heir/beneficiary of a UK death estate.

Under what circumstances would any related taxes on the estate or inheritance be due / not due to the Spanish authorities?

  • 1
    I cannot answer for an international inheritance, but for national inheritance the taxes are paid to and following the laws of the Comunidad Autónoma where the deceased did reside, regardless of where the inheritor lives. And even if there are no taxes, remember that you may be required to report assets (I am not sure if only bank accounts) in foreign countries when filling your income tax declaration.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 8:30
  • Please convert to answer, as it is correct.
    – 88892
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


There is an interesting read on Spanish inheritance tax at https://www.spanishpropertyinsight.com/2016/02/08/spanish-inheritance-tax/

Unfortunately, it describes this situation (UK estate, Spanish tax-resident inheritors) as "a scenario you categorically want to avoid for your heirs at all costs. It entails for your loved ones spending greater time, money and hassle. It has no associated advantage and numerous drawbacks."

The issues seem to be (more detail on that webpage):

  • The Spanish taxation system starts to impose punitive charges and penalties on unpaid IHT after 6 months. But UK probate can take much longer than that to sort out.

  • The Spanish system taxes the recipients of inheritance, while the UK taxes the estate distributing it. Normally countries have tax-treaties to avoid such issues with "double taxation". However:

Absurdly neither the United Kingdom nor Spain have included this matter in article two of their double taxation treaty when it affects thousands of British citizens every year. ... For some bizarre reason (only privy to politicians) Spain has only signed such a treaty with the following three countries: France, Greece and Sweden. ... This translates in practice into having to pay for inheritance tax both in the UK and Spain.

Seems a nasty situation to be in. Personally, I'd be looking for professional advice.

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