Friday, November 03, 2006

Art Laffer, llama su oficina

In Spain, do as the Spanish do; evade capital gains taxes of 35%:

There is an anecdote which some Spanish property lawyers tell about King Juan Carlos.

They relate with apparent nonchalance how he only declared 50 percent of the cost when he sold one of his many homes – technically breaking the law by avoiding tax. However, the attitude of those who tell this story is not one of appalled concern that even the monarch has such disrespect for the law.

Instead, the king is seen as a chip off the old block; the attitude appears to be "if he can get away with it, why not the rest of us?"

If you buy a house in Spain, you will almost certainly be asked to break the law as a routine part of the process. Refusing usually means you face losing the house of your dreams....

In simple terms, the fraud works like this: to reduce capital gains tax, a seller will ask a buyer to declare they are buying the house at a reduced price - and then pay them the difference in cash.

This practice of using 'black money' to make cash buys 'under the table' for all kinds of services is part of the culture in Spain – as the story about the king proves.

A recent estimate suggested 30 percent of all EUR 500 notes in Europe are in circulation in Spain. This is not purely by chance, but linked to money laundering.

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