April 16, 2021

Chaos in the Spanish tax system | Economy

Chaos in the Spanish tax system | Economy

The tax system is composed of the principles that govern it, by the structure and nature of the taxes that comprise it and by the tax administrations that manage it. In Spain, the principles are reflected in Article 31 of the Constitution, the most important tax is the IRPF, and the management and distribution of the proceeds are shared by different Administrations, based on current regulations at all times.

If we examine the evolution of the Spanish tax system in recent years, we see that we have gone worse and that the situation is of real chaos, since the principles reflected in Article 31 of the Constitution are not met; The main direct tax, the IRPF, has become a tax on payroll; the management is shared by different tax administrations, but some often make proposals that, if carried out, would make the system jump through the air. Nor has it been possible for all citizens to contribute, due to the enormous tax fraud that exists. In addition, there is a lack of regulatory stability, despite the promise of all governments to simplify it.

Of the taxes, by way of illustration, we must highlight the situation of corporate tax and its brutal loss of revenue: from 44,000 million euros in 2007 to about 16,000 million in 2011. But the crisis has passed and the collection is not recovered , since in 2017 it was only 23,000 million. The fact that they do not agree Government and companies regarding the average rate of tax paid by large companies adds even more uncertainty to this tax – according to the Treasury they paid 6.14% in 2016 and according to the CEOE they paid a tax rate of 19.02% – a magnitude that should be clarified, given the repercussion that can have on the collection of one of the government's star measures, that of applying a minimum tax rate of 15%.

In relation to the basket of taxes, political parties and successive governments agree on the need to reform the system of autonomous financing, regulated by a law of 2009. In the future reform we must specify what is done with the gibberish that is the application of the Inheritance tax, since the heirs will pay a lot, little or nothing, depending on the residence of the deceased, and that is a state tax. The estate tax, also state, has nothing to envy, being a zombie tax that was abolished in 2008, revived in 2011 and is extended every year. Nobody knows what will happen to him and if the State will continue collecting the 1,000 million euros a year that the 190,000 large fortunes that declare it pay. To all the above, we add the controversy regarding the collection that will have the new taxes that the Government intends to create on economic transactions and the one that taxes certain digital services.

There is a crucial aspect in the reform of the financing system and it is the distribution of the collected fees. It is difficult to know what the solution is when listening to the autonomous communities. It would be like handing out a cake at a child's birthday party, with 17 guests that you have to attend. Some saying that the last time they ate less than they had to, and that's why they have a historical debt; others who have collaborated more in the acquisition of the cake because they are richer and, therefore, have to eat more; others who have always eaten more than their share because they have a quota, but nobody dares to say it, even though everyone knows it. If we let the birthday party take its course, without doing anything, we know for sure that the party will not end well.

Do not forget the irresponsible requests of some politicians who seek to cut the management of taxes, only to expand parcels of power, against the effectiveness demonstrated in this regard by the Tax Agency.

To conclude, there is nothing more exasperating for the citizens that recognizes the existence of a problem, that of our tax system, and that the successive governments do not want or are not able to solve it, because for the politicians always other interests prevail.

José María Peláez is Inspector of State Treasury


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