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NEW LAWS: What changes about life in Spain in January 2022

NEW LAWS: What changes about life in Spain in January 2022
Photo: People walk on the promenade at Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on New Year's Day 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)
A new month and the start of a new year bring many changes to laws, taxes, customer rights and other important matters that affect life in Spain. Here are the changes in January 2022 you need to know about.

Better warranties for customers 

From January 2022 consumer goods sold across Spain and the EU will have a mandatory 3-year warranty instead of 2.

One of the markets that will be most affected is that of second-hand cars. 

If you buy a used vehicle in 2022 and it breaks down before a year has passed, it will be the seller who will have to deal with the repair.

The warranty changes benefit consumers because they will be more protected, but it has its negative aspect: goods will be more expensive as companies have to cover the extra costs of having more spare parts and repair capacity.

Changes for self-employed workers  

If you’re an ‘autónomo’ (self-employed worker) in Spain, we’ve got a specific article which details the most important changes you should be aware of that will come into force this year, from imminent tax rises to the financial aid available from regional and national governments.

READ MORE: Self-employed in Spain: the key changes to expect in 2022

Vehicle registration tax

On January 1st 2022, Spain’s Registration Tax will also increase, which will make 40 percent of new vehicles 5 percent more expensive, on average €800 more than in 2021.

Spain’s vehicle registration tax (impuesto de matriculación) is a once-off sum which is paid when you buy a new vehicle, a rate which varies depending on the vehicle’s emissions.

Retirement age changing 

On January 1st 2022, the requirements to be able to access retirement with 100 percent of your Spanish pension have changed. 

To retire at 65 you will have to have made tax contributions for a minimum of 37 years and 6 months. That’s three months more than in 2021, when it was 37 years and 3 months.

If you fall below this requirement, you will have to retire at 66 years and 2 months, if you want to collect a full monthly pension. 

The retirement age will continue to rise until 2027, by which time if you have not contributed a minimum of 38 years and 9 months you will have to retire at 67 years of age.

New Housing Law

Back in October, Spain’s left-wing coalition government agreed on the country’s Housing Budget for 2022 and with it big changes to the country’s property laws.

This includes rental price freezes, a tax on empty homes, more public housing, a €250 monthly rental allowance which you can read about more closely here

The proposed new legislation still has to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet in January 2022 and lots of questions still have to be answered and so far it has received plenty of opposition from right-wing parties PP and VOX.

Public holiday on January 6th 

The second public holiday of the year after New Year’s Day — and the first chance of a long weekend by taking one day of annual leave as a puente (long weekend)— comes on Thursday, January 6th.

Crucially, the Christmas period isn’t over yet as on January 6th Spain celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men or Three Kings for Epiphany, which is just as important or arguably more so than Christmas Eve and Day for Spaniards

READ MORE: The public holidays in your region of Spain in 2022

Pets to be considered sentient beings 

In April 2021, the Spanish Parliament pre-approved a measure which enshrined the rights of dogs, cats and other domestic animals as “living beings” which “have feelings” with regards to legal affairs such as divorces or inheritances.

After final approval, this law comes into effect on January 5th 2022. 

The reform “sets out the criteria which the courts must rely on when deciding who to entrust custody of the animal, taking into account its well-being”. 

It will also give pet owners the right to compensation for “moral injury” if their animal is hurt by another person.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes about life in Spain in 2022

No more cold calls at certain hours 

Movistar, Orange, Vodafone and MásMóvil (Euskaltel included) renewed and expanded the Code of Ethics last July, a measure which came into effect on January 1st 2022.

One of the most important changes refers to the hours of sales calls in Spain, agreeing that they will not be made before 9:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and never on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.

Operators will also be discouraged from phoning before 10 a.m. or between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., they will only be able to call three times per month and if the potential customers aren’t interested they must desist from calling them for at least three months. 

The IPREM rises

The IPREM is an index used in Spain as a reference for granting a variety of social subsidies for people who are struggling to make ends meet.

It’s also a crucial factor for those applying for Spain’s non-lucrative visa, as non-EU nationals who want to move to Spain without a job have to show they have sufficient financial means to not be a burden for the state, with the bar set at 400 percent the IPREM. 

On January 1st 2022 this figure rose to €579.02 ($654 with the current exchange rate) per month, just under €20 more than in 2021 and €50 more than in 2020.

That means that the standard financial requirement for non-lucrative visa applicants is €2,316 ($2,615) per month in 2022.

So a non-EU national wanting to apply for the non-lucrative residency permit for Spain for the first time (it lasts one year) would have to prove they have €27,792 ($31,390), more than €600 than for those who applied in 2021.

Madrid offers better tax rates

Impuestos propios (own taxes) are tariffs applied by regional governments to address matters pertaining to their community which they’re looking to solve. 

These can be taxes on anything from empty homes, to polluting vehicles or gambling.

On September 1st 2021, Madrid’s regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso made headlines by announcing she would scrap the remaining ‘impuestos propios’ in the region (tax on slot and arcade machines in bars and restaurants and a tax on the storage of waste).

This won’t make a big difference to most people in the Spanish capital but the measure – which came into force on January 1st 2022 – represents the liberal attitude of Madrid’s government and its fiscal incentives.

What will make a difference to 2.5 million of Madrid’s low earners is the drop in income tax (IRPF) in the capital in 2022, where the minimum tax rate will be 8.5 percent for people earning up to €12,450 a year, the lowest tax rate in all of Spain.  

READ MORE: Why you should move to this region in Spain if you want to pay less tax


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