The new income campaign accentuates the fiscal gap between autonomies

Without news it would be another campaign.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 04:25
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The new income campaign accentuates the fiscal gap between autonomies

Without news it would be another campaign... But there always are and this year they affect large groups. As in the obligation to declare for all self-employed workers. Or in the improvement for low incomes and mothers. In addition, the taxation of returns on investments or sales is adjusted. All with a longer calendar and the obligation to send the paperwork online. The fiscal race is not left out, with revisions that accentuate regional differences. The question, the same as always: will you pay or return?

The calendar is the same for everyone. The campaign officially starts on Wednesday. The draft can be accessed, corrected and presented from the Tax Agency website or the app. For weeks now you have been able to request the reference number and consult the tax data, the information that the Treasury has and with which it prepares the draft. That can give clues as to whether you will return or pay in the days before.

Anyone who needs help with the declaration will have to be more patient. Until April 29, it will not be possible to make an appointment to be seen by phone – from May 7 onwards – and on May 29, the request to be seen in the offices opens, starting on June 3. Thus, two months pass from the start of the campaign until the doors of the offices open. And almost four since the reference number was accessed, the first step, and July 1, when everything ends. “They are long periods, but then the operations are very limited (such as going to the office, which will last a few weeks). It is neither practical nor necessary,” criticizes Josep Ribó, president of the Official College of Administrative Managers of Catalonia.

For the first time, only declarations submitted electronically will be accepted. Whether with the help of an official or not, the shipment will be online. Doing it by hand passes for a better life. A digitalization that can harm certain groups: “It is something that helps the Tax Agency more than anything else. Restricting excludes and makes it difficult for the elderly to declare, as they will have to make an appointment or go to a manager,” says Juan Osuna, partner responsible for tax at Fieldfisher. “Older people are lost with the computer program,” adds Ribó.

Good news is the increase in base reductions for both workers (a maximum of 6,498 euros up to 19,747.5 euros) and self-employed workers (up to 10% of performance according to the estimation method).

There are also modifications in the obligation to declare. The big change is in the self-employed. If before the obligation fell on anyone whose annual income exceeded 1,000 euros, now the thing is general. “Any self-employed person who has been registered in 2023, even if it is only for one day, will have to submit the declaration compulsorily. Even though he has not received income, even though he has registered and unsubscribed on the same day,” reviews Aitor Fernández, tax expert at the online consultancy TaxDown.

On a positive note, there will be an increase in reductions in the tax base and an improvement in expenses that are difficult to justify. For those who are dealing with it for the first time, Osuna warns that “there are usually more errors in the concept of spending, what is considered and what is not.” “Some are not clear about amortization, the cash criteria or the expense allocation criteria,” he continues.

For workers with one payer, the figure required to declare remains at 22,000 euros. If it is not achieved, it is not declared. With more than one payer, it goes from 14,000 to 15,000 euros, provided that the second and subsequent payers exceed 1,500 euros. Those who may be surprised are the employees who in 2023 earned between 22,000 (the minimum to declare) and 35,200 euros gross. Since last year it was decided to set a cap on their withholdings, in practice lowering them, they received more on the payroll in exchange for delaying personal income tax payments, advancing less tax. More money in your pocket for which you will now have to settle accounts. “Advance taxes or not later has problematic management. It will return less, I don't think it will force you to pay. The joy will be less,” Osuna believes. If the result used to be payable, it may increase. “We have to look at how much we pay on our salary between withholdings and the payment of the rent normally. It is not that this year I pay more in rent, it is paid differently, before each month via withholding and now in a period or two, but the total cost may be the same. It means paying at different times,” says Ribó.

In personal income tax the starting point is the same, but the path varies. The tax is set by a state section and a regional section. In this second, either to compensate for the rise in inflation or for political reasons, five autonomies have tweaked their scheme, mainly to improve the outlook for the lowest incomes, raising their tax bases or lowering their rates. At the same time, some increase those with high incomes. All with a PP government: Madrid, Extremadura, Aragón, Murcia and C. Valenciana. This opens up more differences between what a taxpayer pays in one autonomy and another, despite paying the same amount.

To pay less you always have to keep an eye on deductions. At the national level, mothers smile. Everyone will be able to benefit from the maternity deduction of up to 1,200 euros (100 per month) per child under 3 years of age, regardless of whether they work or are unemployed. Before it was only for working mothers. And the requirements to deduct the 1,000 euros for custody expenses for children under 3 years of age in daycare centers or authorized educational centers are loosened. “Many daycare centers previously did not have an authorization defined by the Treasury. Now it is no longer necessary and the benefits are universal,” analyzes Fernández. The engine brings another improvement: 15% can be deducted from the purchase of electric vehicles, with a maximum base of 20,000 euros. In addition, the installation of a charging point deducts, with another 15% and 4,000 euros maximum base. Others such as mortgage or rent payments, energy reforms or contributions to pension plans remain unchanged.

Then there is the sea of ​​regional deductions, which bless some more than others. Level where purchases of bicycles or devices to save water can be deducted, but also the rent or purchase of housing for young people, one of the greatest emergencies today. As in the rates set by the communities, this is where differences are made between taxpayers. While in Catalonia there are no major new developments, in Madrid most of the existing ones are improved and others are added for the care of the elderly, for expenses linked to rent or for the payment of mortgage interest among young people. In the Balearic Islands or Aragon, among others, there are new ones per family, expenses on education, increase in the cost of living and housing, detailed from TaxDown. And there is no shortage of unusual notes, such as allowing for the first time to deduct the gym fee in La Rioja or the Valencian Community.

In the jump to the other block of the declaration, the taxation of savings income is modified. It goes from four to five tranches: now there is one between 200,000 and 300,000 euros with a rate of 27%, one point more than last year; and the one from 300,000 euros and up is born, with a rate of 28%, two points more than the most expensive section seen even in the previous campaign. It may seem like a distant figure, but the sale of a home can already lead to these assumptions, even in small assets. “If you bought it 20 or 30 years ago, with the evolution of the real estate sector you can have a lot of capital gains if you sell, of more than 300,000 euros,” explains Paula Satrústegui, asset advisory partner at Abante Asesores.

Here it helps to reduce the bill by offsetting losses and gains whenever possible, up to the established limits. Satrústegui gives a practical example. Anyone who has sold a home or investment funds with a profit will be able to compensate it with losses from the sale of shares. Or cross profits and losses if you have received dividends for some securities and have sold a bond with a loss in value. The bill is reduced with compensations. “You don't always have to compensate for everything and be guided by tax reasons. You also have to assess the financial moment,” he warns. It makes no sense to sell shares at a loss, to compensate, if they can appreciate.

Another factor to remember is Treasury bills, where people have flocked. They do not have withholding at maturity, but the profit goes to the declaration on the savings basis. "Now it's time to pay taxes, we have to take it into account and save a part (of money) so as not to get scared."