is one of the most important taxes in the Spanish tax system. While it is true that the Spanish Constitution recognizes the right to inheritance, it is also true that the enjoyment of private property is limited by virtue of the general interest.

In this article we will explain how this tax works, the variations that exist according to the territory and some reasons for these differences.

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance and gift tax is a tax levied on the transfer of property and rights on death or on donations of international property.

The most common is that they are spouses or children, although it is also possible that they inherit nephews, parents or other relatives or people without any consanguinity.

The deceased person determines in his will who his heirs are and, without prejudice to what the Civil Law marks, these will be the beneficiaries and in charge of paying this tax

This tax is levied on inheritances and legacies, so that it will have to be paid by natural and legal persons, depending on the context.

Accepting an inheritance implies taking responsibility for the payment of inheritance tax. Hence, in recent years the number of people who
reject their inheritances
has increased.

Inheritance Tax in Spain: Why are there so many differences between Autonomous Communities?

Many people wonder why there are so many differences when calculating inheritance tax. Although it is the State that establishes the taxable event, the Autonomous Communities have full collection and regulatory power.

The legislative figure that regulates it is Law 29/1987 on Inheritance and Gift Tax,although there is independent development in certain communities. For example, Catalonia developed its own law, different from that approved in the rest of the State, for the peculiarities of its civil law.

In practice, what happens is that each Autonomous Community establishes its own exemptions,so that it is possible to find some places where low and medium incomes pay absolutely nothing.

Although there is a demand for harmonization on the part of the State, the medium-term trend does not seem to be going in that direction. Competition between neighbouring communities prevents widespread increases and, in addition, some territories wish to use this resource to attract capital and heritage.

In addition, it is necessary to consider another element: This tax is paid in the territory where the person was registered at the time of his death.

All administrative matters will have to be carried out with the corresponding Tax Agency of the Autonomous Community in which the deceased was registered

As a general rule, a maximum period of 6 months is offered to be able to make the payment,since in some cases it is necessary to sell properties to settle the tax.

It is also important to take into account how the civil law of each Autonomous Community works. This point is fundamental because, in the absence of a will, what is established by this broad legislation will apply.

In this sense, there are large variations according to the Autonomous Community in the amounts that are quantified per natural person and that, consequently, determine whether or not the tax must be paid.

The Autonomous Communities where you pay more (and less) for inheritance tax

The differences in the inheritance and gift tax can be applied from one year to the next, taking into account that with the economic crisis that was experienced between 2009 and 2014, these taxes were not reduced.

Each Autonomous Community has the capacity to raise or lower the tax through the deduction

and it does not always apply to all assets, since it varies depending on the level of disposable income or kinship

In the distinction of inheritance tax by communities there are areas where the deduction is low, as in Catalonia or Andalusia. Consequently, middle and high incomes usually pay the tax. It is also important to note that the closer or more vulnerable the heir is, the fewer payment obligations he will have.

In autonomies such as Asturias,an exempt minimum is set from a certain level of income. There are also others that eliminate the habitual residence in the goods to be settled for this tax.

However, in most cases the amount to be perceived is symbolic or very small.

Finally, in cases such as the Community of Madrid, Galicia, La Rioja, the Basque Country or Navarre, this tax is practically not paid more than a symbolic amount.


Inheritance tax is one of the most unpopular taxes among society, because it acts on inheritances. However, although there are exceptions, since the Autonomous Communities took full collection and regulatory power, the trend has been a progressive decrease in their payment.

It is not a question of conviction, but of a strong tax competition that has been generated between the different territories that make up the country.