The number of taxpayers who have a net wealth of more than 30 million euros has multiplied by two in the last 10 years, going from 443 people in 2012 to the record of 831 registered at the end of 2021, the last year for which there are figures available. However, according to data published this Monday by the Tax Agency, less than half of the large fortunes end up paying the wealth tax. Specifically, only 307 of these billionaires paid taxes for this concept in 2021, 37%. Or what is the same: 524 people were exempt from paying it.
The main explanation for this phenomenon is found in the tax residence of all these taxpayers. In Spain, the autonomous communities have the regulatory capacity over this state tax, so they can apply different bonuses and deductions that, in practice, sometimes end up suspending its effects. Given that in 2021 the only autonomy that had 100% discounts in place was Madrid (Andalusia was added in 2022), it is possible to conclude that these 524 taxpayers had their tax residence in the central region, something that allowed them not to pay a single euro for this concept despite having to declare assets exceeding two million.
Other sections of wealth also benefit from this bonus scheme, however. Thus, of the 8,300 people throughout Spain who declared they had between 6 and 30 million euros of assets, only about 4,250 (50%) paid the tax. For their part, of the 63,400 taxpayers who spend between 1.5 and 6 million euros, more than 51,000 paid the tax, 80%. Finally, 146,000 of 153,700 people with between 300,000 euros and 1.5 million of wealth also paid property taxes.
Thus, of the 231,300 taxpayers throughout the country, a total of 201,700 taxpayers paid the tax, leaving a joint collection of 1,352 million euros distributed among all the autonomous communities of the common regime, with the exception of, logically, Madrid. In fact, the income from this tax could have multiplied by two if the region governed by Isabel Díaz Ayuso did not subsidize the tax, a decision that dates back to 2008 and that allowed 18,798 high taxpayers to stop paying just over 1.2 billion in 2021. of euros in taxes, which represents an average saving of almost 65,000 euros.
The data from the Tax Agency show the impact that the Madrid bonus has on the total discounts applied by the rest of the territories. In the 15 communities with a common regime (given that the Basque Country and Navarra have their own tax systems) the regional reductions amounted to 1,226 million euros. Of this amount, 1,212 million were due solely to the Madrid bonus.
The figures from the agency dependent on the Ministry of Finance also show other major differences between one territory and another. For example, the weight that Catalonia has in the total collection. Of the 1,352 million earned by the communities, almost 600 million (43%) were obtained from the Generalitat through just over 80,000 high-level taxpayers. Next are the Valencian Community, with 188 million raised and 26,500 high net worth, and Andalusia, with 107 million in income and 17,700 taxpayers.
All these differences in collection, both downward and upward, have made this figure one of the most questioned in Spain. The wealth tax, whose management falls directly on the autonomous communities, affects taxpayers who own assets worth more than 700,000 euros, excluding habitual residences up to 300,000 euros. It has been and continues to be the subject of great controversy, both at the regional and national level. On the one hand, several regions have traditionally accused Madrid of carrying out unfair tax competition by subsidizing it at 100% for years and attracting large fortunes to its jurisdiction with this measure. The central region, however, has been joined in recent months and weeks by other territories such as Andalusia or the Valencian Community, which have announced total bonuses in the heat of the PP and Vox governments.
The decision of the Andalusian Government, which in September of last year approved a 100% reduction in the tax, led the central government to implement the temporary solidarity tax on large fortunes, a tax with a design similar to that of Heritage (but from state collection) designed to counteract all regional bonuses. The possibility of shielding the tax and establishing minimum and maximum thresholds in its tax rates has also reached the debate on the regional financing system, a reform that could arrive in the next legislature.
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