Spain: Amendments in the Special Tax System for expatriates “Lex Beckham”


published on 21 March 2023 | reading time approx. 3 minutes


In accordance with the special tax regime for expatriates regulated in Article 93 of the Spanish Personal Income Tax Law, individuals who acquire their tax residence in Spain as a result of moving to Spanish territory may, with certain special features, opt to pay non-resident income tax, while maintaining their status as taxpayers for personal income tax (IRPF) during the tax period in which the change of residence takes place and the following five tax years.





This special Spanish regime is colloquially referred to as the “Lex Beckham” because it was introduced at the same time as the footballer David Beckham moved to Spain and thus the associated taxation of his Spanish income during his contractual relationship with Real Madrid was more favorable.
As of 1 January 2023, important new features have been introduced whereby not only employees and directors (now with fewer restrictions), but also persons carrying out certain economic activities will be able to opting for this special regime, extending it also to certain family members.
The benefits of this special tax regime in Spain are that, besides being tax resident in Spain, only the income obtained from Spanish sources but not the worldwide income will be taxed at a fixed tax rate of 24 per cent (47 per cent if more than 600,000 euros), except for wage income which will be taxed regardless of the place where it is generated.
The requirements to opt for taxation within this special tax regime are as of 1 January 2023:
  1. No prior tax residency in Spain during the last 5 tax periods (previously it was 10 years) before moving to Spanish territory.
  2. The followings are allowed to opt for this special tax regime:

    Eligible Persons
    Employees Previously, only those employees who moved to Spain due to a labour posting (except professional sportsmen and women) were entitled, requirement that was fulfilled when an employment or statutory relationship with an employer in Spain was entered or if the posting was ordered by the employer in a so-called letter of posting issued by the employer.

    As of 1 January 2023, employees, whether or not posted by their employer, working remotely from Spanish Territory using exclusively IT, telematic and telecommunica­tion means and systems will be entitled, if they obtain a so-called visa for interna­tional remote working, issued in accordance with the Spanish Regulation 14/2013, on support for entrepreneurs and their internationalization.
    Company directors and officers​Directors and officers of a company will be able to access the regime, as of 1 January 2023 there is no limitation on their participation anymore, unless it is an asset-holding entity, for which a participation of less than 25 per cent is required.
    Entrepreneurs​Persons carrying out a certain entrepreneurial activity in Spain, i.e. an activity that is innovative and/or of special economic interest for Spain, are eligible, for which they must obtain a favorable report issued by ENISA the public company in charge of this recognition.
    Highly qualified professionals​Professionals who provide services to emerging entities or who carry out training, research, development and innovation activities, if the remuneration they receive represents in total more than 40 per cent of their other business, professional or personal incomes.
    ​Family Members of the taxpayerA notable new feature is the possibility for the taxpayer's children under 25 years of age (or of any age in case of disability) and their spouse or, if there is no marital relationship, the parent of the children, to benefit from this regime, provided that several requirements are met. It is required (i) that they move to Spanish territory with the taxpayer at the time the latter moves or during the first period of applica­tion of the regime, (ii) that they acquire their tax residence in Spain, (iii) that they had not been residents during the five tax periods prior to the move and (iv) that the sum of their taxable income in each of the tax periods of application of the regime is less than the taxable income of the taxpayer giving rise to the application of the special regime.

  3. The income shall not be classified as obtained through a permanent establishment located in Spanish territory, with exemption of certain entrepreneurs (2.c) as well as certain highly qualified professionals (2.d), mentioned before.
Among the other improvements is the establishment of the exemption of remuneration in kind if it is exempt under personal income tax regulations in Spain.
The option, waiver or exclusion from the special tax regime has to be issued using the tax form 149, and taxpay­ers who opt to apply this regime must file a special personal income tax return using form 151.

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