Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Look homeward, Anglos

You can go home again...if the Spanish government makes it difficult to stay;
In the sunny cafés of Calpe, a seaside town in Alicante province, there is one prevailing topic of concern among the white-haired, suntanned British retirees: the Spanish Tax Agency.
The mistrust triggered by the new obligation to declare assets located abroad is just one of the reasons pushing hundreds of thousands of elderly Europeans to drop off the official statistics, and in many cases, bid Spain farewell forever.
Why might that trouble the Brits?
“We are very worried about that law,” confesses Vilma Archer, a British 72-year-old who has seen her Costa Blanca-based knitting group dwindle over the years.
The “law” she is referring to is a new obligation to fill out a form (“modelo 720”) declaring one’s assets abroad. The government’s goal is to catch tax dodgers, but many foreigners are wary of making this information available to authorities.
“We brought our money and our pensions over, and the Spanish government has no business butting in,” says Archer, sitting inside the cafeteria of an elegant hotel on the Alicante coast. “In Greece, they took the money out of citizens’ accounts. We’re scared. We know the Spanish government needs money and can take it away from us. Many friends have sold their homes and left. Others took their names off the padrón and are now renting so they won’t have to be registered.” 
We're from the padrón and we're here to help you by confiscating your assets;
 ...the padrón helps local authorities figure out what kind of public services the town needs, and also plays a role in determining the state subsidies for which they may be eligible.
No es un almuerzo gratis.

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