39,000 property tax irregularities detected in Alicante
Undeclared swimming pools and extensions are punished by a nominal 60-euro fine
It is now two years since the “catastro” property tax authorities began using advanced aerial photography to identify irregularities in the way in which homes are registered and taxed, and in that time it is reported that over 39,000 such cases have been identified in the province of Alicante.
This is despite the fact that the search for undeclared properties or extensions has so far been carried out in only 58 of the province’s 141 municipalities, and major centres of population such as Elche, Orihuela and Torrevieja have not yet been scrutinized.
The aim of the “cleaning up” of the Catastro records is to increase the tax revenue of the Town Halls concerned, since the tax on real estate is one which goes directly into municipal coffers, and it comes in response to the relatively common practice in Spain of adding taxable areas to a property (such as extensions, patios or swimming pools) and failing to register them. This requires the use of light aircraft and drone technology, and it is proving to be a success all over Spain.
Once offenders are identified, the punishment is a relatively reasonable one: no backdated tax is levied and the fine is just 60 euros, but of course the unregistered “extras” are then included for future IBI or “catastro” calculations.
Of the 39,062 irregularities which have so far been logged in the province of Alicante as many as a quarter are entire properties which had not previously been registered, while 30% are concerned with extensions and reform projects and a similar proportion refer to unregistered changes in the purpose for which buildings are used. Another 10% or so concern unregistered swimming pools.
As for the municipalities where these irregularities have been uncovered, the leader at present is the provincial capital with 7,181. Next on the list is Teulada, where the figure of 4,176 is especially high when it is taken into account that the total number of properties is only just over 21,000, and where as many as a third are related to swimming pools.
Other municipalities featuring near the top of the list to date include Dénia (3,060), Benitatxell (1,578), Calpe (around 1,500), Pedreguer (approximately 1,000) and Pilar de la Horadada (913), but in the major resort of Benidorm only 615 infringements have been found.
Elsewhere in Spain, the province where most irregularities have been pinpointed is currently Málaga, with a running total of 56,123, followed closely by Sevilla, Lugo, Valencia and Barcelona.