Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in early October for a few weeks
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Paying local tax (IBI) in Mazarrón

Nothing is more certain in life than death and, of course, taxes. The local tax here in Spain (similar to a 'council tax' in places such as the UK) is abbreviated as IBI ('Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles'). if you own a property in Spain then, sooner or later payment of IBI becomes due - normally back-dated effective the date you signed the title deeds ('escritura') for the property. Particularly with 'new-build' properties it may take some time (upto several years) for the local municipality ('ajuntamiento') to register your property in their systems and be in a position to start collecting this local tax from you. However, when they do evenetually start it will always be back-dated to the date you signed the title deeds.

I signed my own title deeds in October 2007 and tried to pay IBI in September 2008 (normally the tax may be paid 'vountarily' without penalty between July and early-October of a given year), to find that my property hadn't yet made it onto the local town hall's computer systems - I was told to come back the following year. Yesterday, therefore I took myself down to Mazarrón to visit the 'catastral' office (cadastral office) to find out if I was yet able to pay this tax (few like paying taxes, but it's better in my view to get it over with rather than accumulate a backlog to pay later and possible penalties for late payment). Happily the local town hall is now in a position to receive this tax from me and they provided me with the bill reference number for both 2008 and 2009 and explained which office to go to to get the printed invoices which I could take to the bank to settle, as well as a form to set up a direct debit instruction for future years' taxes.

In the case of Mazarrón the relevant office to get the bill references and the invoices printed are the 'Catastral' office (located immediately opposite the 'Club de Pensionistas' (see '22' on the map below for marked references) and the 'Recaudación'. The best way to find these two offices is by reference to the new Town Hall building ('Ajuntamiento Nuevo'), a largish and quite modern cream, red and dark glass building, situated on a corner at the far end of the 'Plaza del Ajuntamiento', just down from the Post Office ('Correos') shown as '3' on the map - follow the lane opposite the Town Hall down to the 'Club de Pensionistas' and you will find the entrance to the 'Catastral' office just opposite. After obtaining the references from the 'multas' desk to the left inside the door (they were very helpful to me and I was dealt with in less than five minutes, with me attempting to use my halting Spanish). It helps them if you take a copy of your 'NIE' (foreigners registration document number) and your 'Escritura' as they can quickly identify your file in their computer using these. The lady there very kindly gave me the map reproduced below to help me find my way to the 'Recaudación' office to obtain the printed invoices to take to the bank.

Back up the lane to the Town Hall and around a few corners to find the relevant office. All was calm inside and I went to the first desk on the left inside the door where the young man on duty was again most helpful - I showed him the reference numbers I had been given by the other office and very quickly he pulled the relevant information up on his screen and printed off the invoices for me - these have in addition to the regular printed information you would expect on such a form a 'bar code' which can be scanned by your bank to make registering your payment very straightforward.

Street map of a part of central Mazarrón
- Click on the image to see an enlargement -

After getting the invoices I headed straight to my bank and after providing them my account number (easily found using my ATM card), the invoices were duly fed through the clerk's teller machine and the payments made with a direct debit being put in place at my request to take care of future years' taxes.

The whole thing, including the drive down to town then back to the bank to make the payments, took just a little over one hour. It was completely painless and trouble-free - if paying any tax can ever be considered 'painless'.

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