Important Spanish Legal Terms To Know


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spanish legal terms

What are the important Spanish legal terms to know or useful words?

We are going to explain here some of them here. A list might be confusing, so let’s start with terms to do with law.

Spanish Terms for Law

First of all lawyers or solicitors are called abogados (or abogadas if female). We have one of each on our legal team. They belong to a Barristers’ College, which regulates them known as a colegio de abogados. When they are dealing with a purchase/ sale of property or one of our team, they maybe acting for the buyer (comprador/a) or the seller (vendor/a). They will draw up a contract of purchase and sale (contrato). A purchase would be a compraventa. When someone completes at the Notary on the purchase or sale, they will receive a Copia Simple (which is a copy of a deed without any signatures).

There is also a Nota Simple which is a document showing a property’s details and the debts against it, obtained as an extract from the Land Registry (Registro de La Propriedad). Another expression you should know is Valor Catastral which is the catastral value of a property, from which the tax value for transactions is calculated. It is found on your suma or IBI council bill, often with the letters V.C.

A property deed is called an escritura and the deeds of your property should be kept in a safe place, although they will be registered in the land registry. When you purchase you need a certificate that has been issued to say the property is habitable. This is called a certificado de habitabilidad or certificate of habitation. In addition a new property or works done needs a declaration called a declaracion de obra nueva, made through a notary.
The Notary is called a Notario/a and is where important documents in Spain are signed. They ensure that the law is followed, even though a lawyer is usually the person preparing these documents. These could be for example a property deed, a contract, a power of attorney (poder) or a Will (testamento). All property purchasers or to do most transactions in Spain require a NIE numbers (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjeros) or a tax identity number. Spanish Nationals have a NIF (Numero de Indentifacion Fiscal). Let’s hope you never have to go to a Juzgado which is a Court.

Spanish Terms for Accountancy

Well, there are many different taxes (impuestos), so I am only going to cover a few important ones. VAT in Spain is known as IVA (Impuesto sobre el valor añadido) and unfortunately we expect this value added tax to go up next year. Transfer tax when buying a property is known as ITP or Impuesto sobre transmisiones patrimonales, which is currently 10% on
resales in this Valencia area.

What else? Well, some transactions stamp duty is applicable such as a dissolution of joint ownership (extinción de condominio) have stamp duty. This is known as impuesto sobre actos juridicos documentados (AJD). Inheritance tax or donation tax is impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones. There are many others of course, but one you will hear a lot is Renta de las Personas Fisicas (IRPF) (which is the Spanish annual tax return for residents). There is also one for non residents called Impuesto sobre el patrimonio y sobre la renta de no Residentes. (Imputed non resident tax that we have written about a great deal on this site). Your accountant or asesor is your tax representative or Representate Fiscal. And generally most people refer to tax office as the Hacienda.

Other Useful Terms

Other important Spanish legal terms to know are words such as Administrador de Fincas which is the Community Administator which may manage your community of owners. The town hall is the Ayuntamiento and to rent is aquiler. You will often hear the word denuncia which is a formal complaint made to the police, which they then decide whether to take
forward and prosecute. Social Security is Seguridad Social and the word for insurance is seguro. Codigo postal is your postal code and apellido is surname (they come up all the time!). At your house the soltano is the basement and trastero is a storage room. Many people don’t realise those. Trespaso is the lease of a property often mentioned with regard to locales (pubs or bars).

Finally, at the Bank (banco), cambio is small change and is also a currency exchange. An account is a cuenta and a mortgage is a hipoteca. Saldo is your balance and tasas are fees. Ingreso is income, and transfers are transferencias and direct debit is domiciliacion bancaria.

We hope this gives you an idea anyway and of course if we can help you with anything, just let us know. We hope you recognise more of these words next time you are in this office and looking at paperwork or in other places.

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