As we are all aware, over the last couple of years in particular, Public Administration Offices are making a conscientious effort to ensure that the many of the Laws and Regulations that have gone unenforced for a number of years are fully applied from now on.

At this moment, the Catastro Office has initiated an inspection campaign to update its database. The Catastro Office is a Property Registry Office normally situated within the local Town Hall but should not be confused with the Land Registry Office. This registry allows the Town Hall to update its records with regards ownership, size, characteristics and value of the properties within its jurisdiction. This department must be notified whenever a property changes hands or is altered in a significant way so that the details can also be modified and if necessary its tax value updated.

As per article 11 of Real Decreto Legislativo 1/2004, 5th March, the property owner is legally responsible for informing the Catastro Office of any significant alterations made to the property, even if they have been granted building permission from the Town Hall, however, many have neglected to do so, so the Department came to a decision to take matters in their own hands and have now employed the use of GPS systems and aerial images to verify each property. These images (that are so clear you can even see washing lines) allow them to determine the difference between the description they have on record and the reality and in this way they can recalculate its official tax value.




What does this mean and how do they use the new information? Well, in recent weeks Inspectors from this department have begun to notify property owners of their findings by means of an official and very detailed report. These reports identify the current owner, address of the property in question, the name of the Inspector involved, description of the property on-file and detail of the modifications they have detected as well as confirming the new tax value.

The official tax value is made up of 1) the value of the land and 2) the value of the construction; this will also depend on whether we are talking about urban or rustic land. This official tax value also determines how much the owner pays each year in concept of council rates so if the Inspector detects alterations to the property, the owner is liable to pay the difference between the tax value on record and the recalculated tax value. Also note that the Administration has the right to backdate the tax and claim the previous four years if they were not properly notified at the time the alteration was made.

The Inspectors initial report however is not final because it has to allow for human error and a response from the owner. Property owners can exercise their right to oppose the information contained in the report if they feel it is incorrect which must be done in writing and within fifteen days of receipt of the report. The department will consider the allegations and resolve the matter accordingly but if their findings are correct, another notification will be sent to confirm and that information will be passed on to the Collection Department at the Town Hall so the corresponding council rates bills can be issued for payment. The same is also true if they do not receive any communication from the owner to oppose the report.

The only way to avoid any unwanted involvement from the Catastro Department is to duly inform them if you alter your property, even if you only cover an existing pergola. At least this way you do not risk having to prove when the alteration took place or having to pay backdated taxes.

As seen in:

As seen in:

About Sabrina L. Williams

Although I was born in the UK, I moved to the Canary Islands, Spain at a young age and I haven't looked back. The Canaries is a fantastic place to live, I mean you can do all types of outdoor activities practically all year round because of the great weather. Horses are my poison but the islands are also a superb spot for water sports so they do attract a lot of attention from people around the world. Anyway, enough about that. Back in 2011, I made one of the biggest, scariest yet best decisions I'd ever made and set-up my own business in the middle of a recession. I love what I do as no two days are the same, plus Spanish law keeps me on my toes as it is constantly changing (often without warning!) so there is always something new to learn. As I've branched out in the world of Administrative Consultancy, I decided to create a blog to discuss topics of interest to others in my industry and my clients, share tips and experiences, to see what new ideas people have for improving their businesses and the like so I hope you'll find the time to join me on this venture...

Leave a Comment