Can he fight tax agency? Legal advice from David Searl

David Searl and his book, ‘YOU AND THE LAW IN SPAIN’

Q. Since 2015 I have kept a file on the UK-Spain tax treaty of 2013 and the controversy about declarations of civil service pensions, whether from June 12, 2014, or January 1, 2015. Which is it? Now I have been hit with a penalty of €2,180 for allegedly NOT declaring my public service pension for 2014. Given that I only received £7,000 in that period it seems extraordinary. The appeal to Hacienda is exhausting and has been going on since November 2019. David’s answer to an earlier enquiry omits the possibility of invoking Article 25, which HMRC has recommended. My income is the Public Service pension and UK state pension, the same income as in 2014. For 2019 they refunded me €5.60! They continue to deduct the penalty amount monthly from my bank account.
I B (Costa del Sol)

A. The tax agency finally declared that the treaty was in effect for all of 2014. Invoking Article 25 will not help. If the tax agency has already garnisheed your bank account, your legal recourse is to initiate a ‘contencioso-administrativo’ procedure, in which a citizen acts against the state. My own case took three and a half years.

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Send your questions for David Searl through lawyers Ubeda-Retana and Associates in Fuengirola at, or call 952 667 090.


  1. Last year the Hacienda contacted me to claim the I had failed to pay tax on my Police pension for 2014 As usual the letter demands a response withing 10 days so I sprinted off the list of Government pensions from the HMRC web site, took that to my Tax adviser he sent them an email telling them it was a government pension not Taxable in Spain, attached the copy of the list I had printed off and a few weeks later I received confirmation that I was not liable for tax on my Police pension. I can’t understand why you had this much trouble.

  2. My claim for tax paid twice resulting in a Mistake I made declaring income/interest a year late took 2 years to get back.
    I got it all back plus some interest but it is painfully slow with NO feedback from them.
    It was not a lot of income/interest.
    The original “Mistake” when they discovered it took about 9 months for them let me try to prove I had done nothing wrong, “turns out I had!!!”. Then they took the tax but no penalty or fine but it was a long time Hanging over me.

    It was “only 500€” but it was “MY €500”


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