The Register of the Economists' Association (REAF) recalled on Thursday that it is illegal to deduct voluntary contributions the foundations that manage many charter schools and the religious employers have been quick to call for calm and defend its legality: "Catholic Schools wants to send a message of tranquility and prudence to the families of the concert centers and the centers themselves to the news appeared yesterday, according to which the voluntary contributions can not be considered donations and, therefore, they would not be susceptible of relief ".
"Nobody from the Ministry of Finance has officially told us anything, we are going to ask, of course, because we are worried," says José María Alvira, secretary of Catholic Schools, and insists: "We adhere to the Patronage Act of 2012 and nothing has changed. "The employer's Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers (CECE), known as new concerted, which combines ultraconservative centers with very high family contributions, refuses to answer this newspaper.
The Tax agency (AEAT), according to the religious employers, has admitted for almost 20 years such deductions in general. However, the Ministry of Finance reminds that the fees can not be deducted. They do not detract, neither now nor in the past. It is not a novelty, but the practice is quite widespread and yesterday, when a group of tax experts recalled it, the Tax Agency confirmed that this relief is illegal.
The centers ask for this donation orally for "Guarantee the quality of education" -Which in his opinion is not covered by the item received by the State, which covers teachers' salary and current expenses- and in many cases they provide families with a proof to deduct. For that reason, in a recent report the State Confederation of Parents of Public Education (CEAPA) Rates sheets are included for dozens of schools in which this fee is claimed to keep the center open, but the deduction is not cited. In addition to this contribution, parents pay complementary services (overtime class, nursing, speech therapy or chapel) in theory also volunteers, which are not deducted in the statement, in addition to transport or dining concepts, with higher prices than in public school.
Specifically, the tax advisors held a press conference on Thursday to explain how to prepare for the 2019 income tax return. I tried to give advice and warnings about what can be deduced and what can not. They explained that donating every year to the same non-profit entities (for example, NGOs) the same or higher amount implies a deduction of 75% for the first 150 euros donated and 30% on the excess. This last percentage of deductions increases to 35% if the same donation has been maintained for the previous two years, at least. And the advisors made a point: be careful to deduct the fees paid to charter schools, because the Tax Agency rejects that, despite being supposedly voluntary payments and made to a foundation - those that can not demand payments - can be considered a non-profit donation.
The director of studies of the REAF, Rubén Gimeno, detailed a case in Asturias, in which the delegation of the Tax Agency rejected that it was a deductible donation, to the having a "consideration", and assured that similar cases had occurred in other provinces.
Alvira, Catholic Schools, denies this consideration for these schools that are owned by religious congregations, dioceses or foundations. "There is no contribution to the teaching project itself. The voluntary quota has no purpose, it can be used for other countries, for social work, or for the school ... ", he assures. "That is, you can not say that the money goes to the class where the child is studying."
Hacienda confirmed after the press conference that it is not that the agency has changed the law or that there is an inspection campaign, but that specific actions are taken in which, when this practice is detected, the deduction is rejected, because there are circulars and jurisprudence for years that already makes that warning. It is considered that the periodic monthly nature of the payments (only from September to June), which is a fixed amount according to the number of students and that is not paid when they finish their schooling, shows that they are delivered in exchange for a specific benefit, as maintenance of facilities. In this case, not being able to deduct not only affects the payment of taxes by the parents, since if these fees are no longer considered as donations, the tax advisors point out that the centers must declare for these additional income in the Tax of Companies, and therefore taxed at 25%.
In the case that set as an example the REAF, detected by the inspection in Asturias, as collected by Europa Press, the taxpayer had paid 49 euros a month for one congregation for each child, which allowed him to raise his quota to return of 4,510.12 euros . When the AEAT is eliminated, the deduction results in a return of 4,172.62 euros, with a difference of 337.5 euros.
"I imagine that the quotas in the new agreement will be voluntary and that they will do something with this money because it is reasonable," says Alvira. "We are doing a lot of damage to the image," confesses the secretary of Catholic Schools. When the report was made with payments to a Barcelona subsidiary of 900 euros, the The president of this employer's association, CECE, Alfonso Aguiló, who is now silent, said indignantly: "You can not discredit in this way a sector that works honestly and with significant economic difficulties.