When the Supreme issued a ruling on Thursday saying it was the banks and not the clients who had to assume the costs of the tax to register the mortgages before a notary, the entities assured that they had been perplexed. The consumer associations celebrated the decision. This Friday, the perplexity reached them allWhen an informative note pointed out that the whole process could go to wastewater. In 24 hours the uncertainty returned to cover everything.
The legal services of the banks and the notaries had not yet digested the decision on Thursday and Friday they had to take a crucial one: what to do until the full Supreme Court decides who pays this tax. Because it can take days (even a week). And the mortgage wheel does not stop: there are concerted appointments to sign credits, citizens with purchase agreements already closed and signals given to sellers who can not wait.
Doubts between banks and notaries
Bank and notary sources say that on Friday less mortgages were signed than usual. Some can not wait because the down payment or another purchase is at stake. And on Monday, the unknowns are so many, that it is difficult to know what the banks will do, although most of the respondents said they will continue to apply the old regulations, that is, the customer will pay the tax. If you do not agree, the bank will offer to postpone the signature until the situation is clarified. Because there is no common recommendation of employers on whether to accept paying the tax or continue demanding that the customer pay. Everyone will do what they consider best.
The tax of documented legal acts taxes certain notarial or mercantile documents and is paid before the haciendas of the autonomous communities. Some apply a rate of 0% for the first home, such as the Basque Country, and others such as Andalucía or Aragón that charge 1.5%. They can be between 1,000 and 3,000 euros. More, if the mortgage is very bulky. A not insignificant figure.
The notaries, in principle, pointed out this Friday that they will warn that the last judgment of the Supreme Court said that the tax would correspond to the creditor, that is, to the bank. However, remember that this tax is not paid at the time of signing, but there is a period of two months to settle it. Therefore, the bank and the client can leave the payment in the air until there is a clear decision. But something should be in writing.
And what about the claims?
The same consumer associations that applauded the sentence of the Supreme that established that it was the banks and not the clients who paid the tax of documented legal acts (AJD) of the mortgages have been stupefied to know the turn of the institution. "We consider that it is one more episode of the soap opera in which the abusive clauses have become and very negative for the consumer", commented the spokeswoman of the OCU, Ileana Izverniceau, after the high court notified this Friday through a note informative that leaves in the air the decision he had made public only one day before the "enormous economic and social impact "that could have. The OCU, however, like other associations and legal platforms, encourages users not to desist in their claims.
The Supreme Court has already changed its mind three times so far this year about who has to pay the tax on legal acts documented. In February he said that it was the clients who had to pay for it. On Thursday he issued a ruling stating the opposite and only a day later announced that it will be the plenary session of room III. of Contentious-administrative who will confirm this jurisprudential turn. "We must clarify that there is a final sentence and that this Friday has been a suspension (…), among other things because two sections faced with two contradictory sentences," says Manuel Pardos, president of the Association of Users of Banks , Savings Banks and Insurance (Adicae). Consumer organizations estimate that there are some six million families that have the right to request a refund.
The judicial route is still the most recommended
The spokeswoman of the OCU remembers that the decision of Thursday is firm and considers very little probable that the court reverses in its decision on the AJD. "The sentence has a certain complexity in the interpretation, but allows to claim the return of amounts and we encourage you to do so" He says Izverniceanu. In this case, you will have to go to the bank and if it does not work, go to court. The organization maintains that all consumers – except those who already have a final judgment – they are entitled to reimbursement of the amounts retroactively, something that the sentence of Thursday does not establish clearly and that has created great confusion between consumers and lawyers. And remember that there have already been controversial statements of the Supreme Court in this regard, the most recent one concerning the ground clauses, which had to correct the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Fernando Herrero, Secretary General of Adicae, regrets the enormous confusion which has been created in just one day, and insists that Thursday's ruling says that it is the bank that has to pay: "Therefore users have to organize, group and claim." Pardos insists that the sentence is a victory and announces that the association will maintain its performances: will file 60 class action lawsuits and will take to the streets to inform consumers.
Also Javier Gaston, spokesman for the Collective Complaints platform, advises consumers to keep claiming: "The procedure can last a year or two, do not wait." But at the same time he recognizes his Absolute stupefaction: "A court that dictates a sentence that apparently is firm and that questions itself is surreal and affects very negatively the image of justice in Spain and legal security."
Doubts with tax refunds
The director of the Tax Agency, Jesús Gascón, said on Friday that it is feasible to request the return of the mortgage tax to the regional offices. In this case, they may request reimbursement for undue income only those who have signed a mortgage in the last four years – the statute of limitations for debts with the administration-, reported on Thursday José María Mollinedo, general secretary of the Trade Union of Technicians of the Ministry of Finance (Gestha).
On Friday morning, the officials of the tax administration office of the Community of Madrid had not yet processed any claim. "We do not know if it is the banks or it is the public administration that should return the undue charges to users," explained one of the officials of the office, who said that few people went to the windows to request information.
According to Adicae, the claim has to go against the bank, as it is a contract that the client has signed with her. "It does not seem that the Treasury has to return amounts or that it is limited to the four previous years," confirms one of the lawyers of the association.
Will I pay more for my mortgage?
The main Spanish banks collapsed on Thursday on the stock market after knowing the ruling of the Supreme Court. On Friday, the pages Web of hiring on-line Mortgage loans from some entities were down. "We can not establish a cause-effect relationship" between the information note of the Supreme Court and this computer failure, says Herrero. "If some banks stopped granting mortgages waiting for the full Supreme Court to pronounce and no entity would take advantage of the situation, it would be evident that there is no competition," he says. "And we will denounce it," Pardos concludes.
Gaston believes that the sector will not leave aside the housing business because it needs to recover its mortgage market. Another thing is to revise upward their offers for the consumer to assume the cost of the tax if finally the Supreme maintains the sentence. "If the banks decided in concert to raise prices, there would be a violation of the law," he says. Izverniceanu. "And if a single entity does, it will lose its position in the market."