The tax office is remitting by recorded delivery service to all owners the new ratable value of property in Marbella. There is one month to file a complaint before the Tax Office or the Economical-administrative Court of Andalucía.

23 years have elapsed since the last revision of the ratable value of property in Marbella which has put to light a clear difference between the market and the ratable value of properties. In accordance with the report of the revision, the ratable value approximately represents now 20% of the market value of properties. Furthermore, the Local Council of Marbella has approved a new Town Plan in 2010 which modifies the zoning of land therefore is demanding that the ratable value of this is adapted to reflect such modifications. These are sufficient reasons to revise the ratable values of property but this has arrived in a bad time when most citizens are hit by the recession and find themselves fighting to pay their debts and their economies cannot stretch anymore.

The ratable value is used to calculate a number of taxes such as the Rates (IBI), the Income Tax relating to the ownership of real estate property not used for commercial or professional purposes or as home, the Non Resident Income Tax, the Plusvalia Tax. It furthermore serves to check the value of real estate for death duty, gift tax and transfer tax.

In the cases we have professionally acted we have detected differences in the land surface, land attributed to persons who are not owners of same, land attributed to one owner when is communal ground shared by a group of owners, valuation of properties which exceeds more than 50% of the market value which in accordance with the report of the revision is the limit set for the revision of the ratable value. This latter case is going to appear in a big number of cases due to the financial recession and the drop in property value. All these reasons would be enough grounds to support an appeal.

¿Can the citizens with their battered economies let the ratable value go unchecked? In a serious and responsible exercise taking into consideration their own personal assets they should carefully check out that the ratable value has been correctly assessed. It is true that the service received is full of references, coefficients and data difficult to understand or which one has to resort to vast and complex legal and technical documentation and regulations to do so. However, there are professionals that have studied and have become acquainted with such legislation and documentation and who can do such work for an economical fee which, in case of reduction of the value, might as well be paid with one year on tax savings.

Checking the ratable value is crucial as same will be the base for the above mentioned taxes for the next decades until a further revision takes place.

In some cases property values will rise by up to five times! Some property owners naively think they can protest at the town hall when their taxes come due. Nothing could be further from the truth. This tax is regulated by the national government and the only way to contest new property values is at the proper agencies and within one month of receiving notification. Other property owners will ask for a reduction of local property tax rates to the Local Council – and this might help – but only for one tax, the IBI. The key is to be sure the property value itself has been impeccably calculated so that all the taxes that depend on it will be fairly figured. Once again, there is just one month to file complaints, and then everything is set in stone.

Therefore, our recommendation as law professionals is not to complaint and do nothing which might have a negative bearing in the tax burden for the coming years but it is worthwhile using a professional adviser to check that the new value has been correctly assessed. If this is not the case, he will advise you to lodge an appeal in the corresponding office to put the value right. If there is an error, you can get it fixed and save yourself money in the future. If everything is right, at least your conscience will rest easy knowing you did everything you could.

Please note the information provided in this article is of general knowledge only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice.