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VAT of imports in Spain: What should you know?

If you import products to Spain, you have arrived at the appropriate site. We explain all the details about the importation of goods and their operation, focusing on the taxes that you have to pay, as well as the exemptions that exist.
We also recommend that you read this article if you have supported the IVA abroad and want to request a refund.

What is considered import?

Let’s start by defining what it is. Import is considered the entry of goods into the interior of the country from a third country, Ceuta, Melilla or Canarias. The purpose of the goods or the condition of the importer is not relevant, unlike what is required in an intra-Community acquisition (LINK). Therefore, an individual can perform this taxable event.
The entry of goods in Spanish territory is not a taxable event if:

  • The goods are placed in zones and free warehouses.
  • Link to the customs regimes of Article 24, such as inward processing or temporary importation, with the importation occurring when the goods leave the areas or abandon the special customs regime.

Who is the taxable person in imports?

According to Article 86 of the VAT Law, the taxpayer of imports is the one who performs them. Thus, importers will be considered.

  • The recipients of the imported goods.
  • Travelers, for those goods that lead when entering the territory of application of the tax.
  • Property owners.
  • Acquirers, owners, tenants or charterers of the goods that collect the article 19 of the Law.

Lien on imports and exports of goods

Such transactions are taxed in the destination country of the goods, which could mean double taxation if they were also taxed in the country of origin. In order to avoid this double taxation, States leave exports tax free.
In addition, the deduction of the VAT rates incurred in the purchases of goods and services in the exported goods is allowed. If, after the deduction, the exporters have a favorable balance, they can obtain the refund of the balance monthly.

VAT on imports

The import VAT must be paid by the importer, as we have seen previously. Usually 21% applies, although there are reduced rates (10%) and super reduced (4%). The minimum threshold for VAT application is € 22 for shipments sent by companies and € 45 for shipments between individuals.
The VAT is calculated on the value of the goods, to which must be added the customs duties, and on the fees and other expenses of the customs agent.

Exemptions on imports

Articles 27 to 67 of the Law contain a number of exemptions on imports. Among others, they are exempt from taxation:

  • Medicines imported in connection with sports competitions.
  • Laboratory animals.
  • Goods obtained by agricultural or livestock producers in foreign lands.
  • Goods for transfer of the headquarters of activity.
  • Assets for charitable organizations.
  • Imported goods to help people with disabilities or victims of catastrophes.

If you need advice on tax issues related to imports or exports, contact GM Tax. We analyze each case individually and in close proximity to the objective of obtaining the best solutions for the client. Call us!

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