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As of 3 June 2021, controls on the entry and exit of cash into and out of the EU have been tightened. This is due to the approval of Decree Law 7/2021 of 27 April, which modifies article 34 of Law 10/2010 on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This article 34 regulates the obligation to declare means of payment on entering or leaving the national territory, for an amount equal to or higher than €10,000 (or its equivalent in other currencies and other means of payment). This obligation already existed prior to the reform approved in 2021, however, this reform has introduced a series of relevant changes.
One of the main changes approved in this area is that the definition of means of payment has been updated to include, in addition to the means established in the previous regulation, the following: 1) Prepaid cards, understood as those non-nominative cards that store or provide access to monetary values or funds that can be used to make payments, purchase goods or services, or to obtain cash, when these cards are not associated with a bank account. 2) Raw materials used as highly liquid stores of value, such as gold. In particular, this change regarding highly liquid deposits may have ramifications that have yet to become apparent.
Another substantial change is the regulation affecting minors. In the previous regulation, there was no specific mention of minors in this article. Now a specific regulation is determined, differentiating between minors who do not travel accompanied and those who do. 1) In the event that the minor does not travel accompanied, then the person exercising parental authority, guardianship or curatorship shall be responsible for compliance with the obligation to declare the means of payment. 2) In the case where the minor is accompanied, then the amount of the means of payment is deemed to be carried by the person of legal age accompanying the minor. This is very relevant, as in this way the persons responsible for the minor will be considered as carriers of the amounts of the minors and in this way it will result that the thresholds of amounts established in the Law can be unintentionally exceeded.
Modifications have also been introduced by this reform that affect uncarrier shipments (postal items, courier shipments, unaccompanied baggage or containerised cargo) for an amount equal to or higher than €10,000 or its counter value in foreign currency. In these cases, the sender will be obliged to complete the relevant declaration in order to be able to send the money 30 days in advance.
Finally, the way in which the declaration of means of payment is to be made has been regulated more comprehensively. In the case of transport from another EU country, form S1 (which can be found here: https://sede.agenciatributaria.gob.es/Sede/procedimientoini/DD01.shtml) must be completed. This form will be unique, regardless of the type of movement carried out (entry, exit or internal movement), and valid for a single transport operation. The declaration shall be submitted to the relevant Customs Service. In case you want to enter or leave the territory of the EU then you must fill in form E1 (which can be found here: https://www.sepblac.es/wpcontent/uploads/2021/06/E1_DeclaraciondeEfectivoacompanado.pdf).
In the event of failure to carry the corresponding completed form, the person is exposed to the seizure of the means of payment and the risk of being sanctioned. This is also particularly relevant in relation to non-residents, who are those who, perhaps on a more regular way, enter the country with a higher quantity of these means of payment.
In summary, this reform is very important because it can potentially significantly affect people who, unaware of the latest changes in this area, transport amounts of cash or especially highly liquid commodities across the borders of our country. In this sense, if a person transports cash, in an amount that is close to the limit, and if he/she also carries some kind of jewellery that has a certain economic value, he/she exposes him/herself to seizure and the risk of being sanctioned.
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