Spain non-resident hedge funds - Introduction
A recent court judgment has held that non resident hedge funds should be treated like residents in Spain if they meet certain requirements.
Under the Non-resident Income Tax Law, hedge funds resident in Spain are taxed at a lower rate of 1%, while those resident in other countries are taxed at a higher rate of 19%, unless there is a relevant double tax treaty.
The Supreme Court ruled that this different treatment is discriminatory and goes against the free movement of capital regulated in article 63 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
More detail on the Supreme Court's decision
The court held that non-resident hedge funds should be treated like residents if they can prove that they are open-ended entities, that they have relevant authorization, and that they are managed by an authorized management company pursuant to the terms of Directive 2011/61/EU.
The nonresident hedge fund has the burden to prove these requirements, but a certain flexibility should be allowed due to the lack of specific regulations in Spain in this regard. If the Spanish authorities have reservations about the documentation provided by the fund, they must initiate an exchange of information procedure with its State of residence.
The Court also concluded that the restriction on the free movement of capital could only be considered neutralized by the provisions of a double tax treaty if the treaty permits the hedge fund (not its members) to deduct the total amount of Spanish tax withheld in excess. However, given the way hedge funds operate and are taxed, that neutralization is impossible in practice.
What is the significance of the decision?
This judgment is significant as it removes discrimination against nonresident hedge funds and brings Spain in line with the free movement of capital provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The decision clarifies the requirements that nonresident hedge funds must meet to be treated like residents and offers some flexibility in terms of providing documentation. It also highlights the difficulty in neutralizing restrictions on the free movement of capital through double tax treaties in practice.
Spain non-resident hedge funds - Conclusion
In conclusion, the recent Supreme Court judgment in Spain has removed discrimination against nonresident hedge funds and clarified the requirements for them to be treated like residents.
This decision is in line with the free movement of capital provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and offers some flexibility in terms of providing documentation.
However, the decision also highlights the difficulty in neutralizing restrictions on the free movement of capital through double tax treaties in practice.
If you have any queries about issues around Spain non-resident hedge funds, or Spanish tax matters in general, then please do get in touch.
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