Selling a Property Into New Year – Who pays the SUMA?

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Posted and filed under Legal Issues in Spain.

Selling a Property Into New Year – Who pays the SUMA?

Question

We have seen variations on this SUMA query over the years:-

My friend sold her property on Spain early January 2018, but completion was meant to take place in December 2017. The new owner delayed it, not may friend and then she was sent a bill for the council tax for 2018. She doesn’t even own the house any more but it told she has to pay the whole amount of 2018. Is this true and what if she doesn’t pay?

Answer

The answer is that the legal responsibility to pay this property tax (also known as SUMA or IBI)  to pay the IBI is that of the legal owner of the property on January 1st. Her conveyancing lawyer should haveadvised her that as the completion date was in January, and the new owners would have the benefit of the full year, that an arrangement could have been made for her to say pay one month, and the new owners the rest.

But this was not done, it appears, so now regrettably the responsibility is hers. If she does not pay, then the debt stays against the house and the suma office will continue to pursue for it, adding fines and interests. Eventually this debit is likely to have a come back on your friend, so she would be advised to pay it. The new owners may not bother taking legal action against her to pay it, but it is not really worth the risk.

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