90 in 180 days – is it really that bad?

Filed under : Property

Since I joined De Cotta Law in 2021, I have spoken to lots of clients about the ‘90 in 180 day rule’. Many Brits claim that this is unduly restrictive, with some of them even deciding to sell their second homes in Spain because of it.

Post ‘Brexit’, a British national can only spend 90 days in every 180 days in the Schengen Zone. The Schengen Zone consists of 27 countries and Spain is one of those countries.

The 90 in 180 day rule does mean that one cannot spend more than three (3) consecutive months in Spain, but if timed right, one can still spend close to half of their year in Spain.

In my experience, when clients reflect on this, while some remain discontent with not being able to spend the four (4) consecutive months they were perhaps used to spending in Spain over the winter, many feel better.

When discussing this with clients I also tend to stress that the rules on Spanish tax residency have not changed. It has always been the case, even before Brexit, that if you spend 183 or more days in Spain or Spain is your habitual residence, then you are deemed to be Spanish tax resident and you would need to report your worldwide income and assets to the Spanish Tax Authority.

Generally, one will pay more tax in Spain than in the UK and for some, this a sufficient reason/motivation to keep their time in Spain under 183 days and their habitual residence outside of Spain.

For those reading this who still have questions, including questions about visas and spending more time in Spain, then please do not hesitate to contact me for a confidential consultation.

Whilst most of the phrases and terminology in this article is focussed on British nationals, the rules and principles can be equally applied to some other 3rd country nationals.

Samuel James Baker

Lawyer, De Cotta Law

Email:   [email protected]

Tel:        952 527 014

For our Canary Islands office call Vera Liprandi, Partner at the Tenerife office on +34 922 719520 or Email: [email protected]