In Spain special taxes for banks, energy providers and large private assets came into force on 1 January 2023.

In Spain temporary special taxes (Gravámenes temporales) came into force at the beginning of 2023.

Banks, energy companies and private assets with a net value of more than three million euros are affected.

The corresponding law – Ley 38/ 2022 of 27.12.2022, published on 28.12.2022 in the Spanish Official Gazette (Boletín Oficial de Estado) – came into force on 01.01.2023.

According to the wording of the law, the additional burden applies – initially – only for the years 2023 and 2024.
Experience not only in Spain shows: extensions of the period of validity are not excluded in the case of taxes and solidarity surcharges.

As a result, this special tax, also called the „temporary solidarity levy“ (Impuesto Temporal de Solidaridad) in the law, is supposed to help reduce the chronic deficits of the Spanish state budget.
The Spanish national budget, which was already in high deficit before the Corona crisis, is in an increasingly strained situation due to the pandemic, measures to fight inflation and the Ukraine war.

According to press reports, the Spanish treasury plans to collect at least an additional four billion euros in 2023 and 2024.

The new special tax has come under criticism, especially with regard to the additionally taxed private assets, which will now be burdened with additional taxes of 1.7% to 3.5% per annum.
The main argument is that the special tax would harm Spain as an investment location.

Moreover, the planned revenue effects are rather small compared to the total tax revenue.

In addition, the new tax does not systematically fit in with the wealth tax (Impuesto sobre el patrimonio). This is levied in Spain in some autonomies, while in other autonomies, such as Andalusia and the Comunidad de Madrid, it is de facto suspended (comparable to the situation of the wealth tax in Germany).

Furthermore, the Spanish tax administration is currently unable to cope with the administrative burden. This is because the Spanish tax administration was surprised by the passing of the law shortly before the end of the year.

A look at Spanish tax practice shows that these criticisms are not unfounded.

According to information from tax authorities in various regions of Spain, the tax forms required for the special tax are not yet available in many autonomous regions of Spain.

The principle of self-assessment (autoliquidación) also applies to this additional tax in Spain.

Taxpayers in Spain are not sent a tax assessment notice by the tax office. Rather, they are obliged to prepare a tax return themselves in due time and to transmit it to the competent office by telematic means.