in two ways possible

Spanish government notification to non-residents

19 / Dec

Tax authorities, municipalities and other government agencies have two ways of communicating with natural persons. The first way is online, by means of a so-called digital signature. This is a Spanish version of DigiD. The second way is old-fashioned by post. However, both ways of notifying can cause problems.

Notification by means of digital signature

When the government sends a notification using the digital signature, you will receive an email that a message is ready in your folder on the website of the respective government body. This message can only be opened with the digital signature. Now, it is often the case that non-residents do not have a digital signature. This can be overcome in two ways. The first way is to provide a fiscal or legal representative with a digital signature. The government can then send the message to this representative with the digital signature, which can then be opened by him or her. A second solution is to ask the municipality to send the message by post or email. Generally, the notice is then still sent via the aforesaid method.

Notification by post

This form of notification is where in many cases problems arise that can be harmfull for the person to whom the notification is addressed. Government agencies generally look at the address listed with the NIE number and then send the notice to this address. However, this could be the address of an old gestor from 20 years ago who has already retired, or it could be the address of the Spanish home where you spend only a few weeks a year.

To signify receipt, the government will send a postman who will ring at the address with your NIE number and try to deliver the notification. If no one answers or accepts the notice, the postman will make another attempt within 3 subsequent working days. If even then the message is not accepted or the door is simply not opened, the postman will return the message to the government agency that sent it. This is followed by notification in the BOE. The BOE is the “Bolletin Oficial del Estado” which is similar to the Dutch National Government Bulletin.

According to case law, it is not sufficient to notify taxpayers in this way alone, but the government is ignoring this and keeps it at that.

Preventing problems

The best way to prevent notifications from disappearing or simply not being delivered is to include in the Spanish “censo”, or personal data register, an address you are certain of messages will arrive at. In particular, enter that you are non-resident with your address details from your home country, as well as a notification address in Spain. When entering only a foreign address, the government will still use the previous known Spanish address.

If you need help updating your personal details, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Selena Escandell Beutick