Following on from when new Data Protection Laws were first reported, this is a reminder that the deadline for these laws to come into force is now extremely close. After four years of debate, new regulations were approved which means that in line with European Directives, come the 25th May 2018, we say goodbye to the old system and say hello to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In Spain, this means the Ley Orgánica de Protección de Datos (LOPD) is being replaced by the Reglamento General de Protección de Datos (RGPD).

We are now into the fourth month of the year and the changes keep coming! This time it has to do with the monthly contributions, sole-traders must make to Social Security but as was the case last year, the contribution was not altered in January, instead it was left until July and it looks as though the same is going to happen this July as well. The General State Budget for 2018 was approved on the 27th March of this year and in it a 1,4% increase on these monthly contributions was approved which equates to approximately 3,88 euros. I can imagine that some will breathe a sigh of relief because last year, the increase was almost double but at the end of the day, it is still less money in our pockets at the end of the month.

We’re now three months into the new tax year and as usual, there is much work to do, taxes to file and legislation to plough through as we try to figure out what’s new in the business world in Spain. This time it is to do with IGIC (Impuesto General Indirecto Canario), the Canarian equivalent of VAT. Since we live on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic, we had to have some advantages, right? Well, one of those advantages is a reduced VAT rate so as opposed to countries on mainland Europe that may pay around 20% to 27%, in the Canaries, the general rate is 7%. Bear in mind, everything we have is imported so this is a massive deal!

Anyway, Law 7/2017, 27th December of the General Budget for the Canary Islands was approved and within it, new legislation that directly concerns business owners and their obligation to declare IGIC. Those sole-traders and professionals whose total volume of operations for the previous tax year did not exceed 30.000 euros (excluding IGIC), may be eligible to an IGIC exemption, meaning they would be excluded from this tax. If on the 1st January 2018, they find they meet the criteria, they must inform the Canarian Tax Office (Agencia Tributaria Canaria) of their wish to either be included or excluded in this special system before the 2nd April 2018.

Scenario: You go on holiday and enjoy seven fun-filled days with your family and return home with the usual feelings of renewed interest in life mixed with dread as you know you have to go back to work the following day. You open the front door and begin to wheel your suitcase in but to your surprise, somebody else is now living in YOUR home! Congratulations, you now have an Okupa!

As is customary, a new year brings with it a new set of law reforms, improvements, progress and change and 2018 is no exception. A couple of issues ago, I explained the Sole-Trader Reform that came into effect on 1st January but now I am going to talk about a Project the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning has had in the pipeline for a while now but is now in motion.

In this instance, Íñigo de la Serna, Cabinet Minister of the above-mentioned Department submitted a draft of the Decree in Congress last year; decree that outlines the Housing Plan Project 2018-2021 his department has been working on after extensive research and dialogue with Autonomous Regions, Town Halls, Associations, Political Groups and other administrations uncovered the needs that had been detected in this area.

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