Experts warn of investment flight if the regime of the socimis is modified (CincoDías, 19 September 2018)
The negotiations between the Government and Unidos Podemos to agree the General Budgets of the State of 2019 with greater social spending have put on the table a good number of proposals to increase the tax collection. Among them the party led by Pablo Iglesias has proposed to modify the taxation of socimi.
“We consider it necessary to reverse the special regime of the socimis, whose main novelty consists in a tax of 0% for corporate tax. It is necessary to reverse the Government’s policy, based on forcing tax regulation to create a tax haven for companies that promote a new real estate bubble, “says the purple formation in one of their working documents, in which they see it necessary to discourage the promotion of this type of companies that “promote the bubble model”.
The proposal to tighten taxes on these companies has sown uncertainty in the sector and experts fear the flight of investments in search of other neighboring countries with greater legal security.
The consulted experts deny that the socimis do not pay taxes and remember that they are obliged to distribute at least 80% of their profit via dividend to the shareholder, who is the taxpayer through the IRPF – with a minimum of 19% and a maximum of 23% -. In the event that the shareholders are foreign, there are double taxation agreements. The fiscal regime of the listed companies of investment in the real estate market (socimis) was promoted by the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2009 and reformed by the Treasury in 2013, date from which an investment boom has been lived through. of these instruments. They are proprietary companies dedicated to the rental of hotels, offices, commercial premises, logistics warehouses and, to a lesser extent for now, homes.
“The government does not raise anything. It’s a request from Podemos. The socialist government has an economic team and what we know from the conversations we have had is that neither has been nor is it in its program or in its priorities to attack this regime. They are perfectly aware that the socimis do pay taxes, “recalls Ismael Clemente, CEO of Merlin, the largest Spanish socimi, at the Europa Press Real Estate Forum.
This director of the Ibex recalled that the Government is “perfectly aware” that there is a type of investor in the socimis that matches the public fixed income. “You put him a stick on the side and then you call him to go to public debt auctions. Or when you screw up the cycle, you call back to avoid having to depend, as has happened with Portugal, on opportunistic funds, “he added. “The socimis have brought 20,000 million euros of capital to which another 20,000 million debt is added. Therefore, they have moved 40,000 million assets that were dead in the system, “he said. Only the four largest (Merlin, Colonial, Hispania and Lar España) already control assets for 27,336 million.
Antonio Sánchez Recio, partner responsible for real estate at PwC Tax & Legal Services, recalls that there are many investors who have decided to invest in Spain because these vehicles exist and recognizes that a change in their taxation “could cause a loss of investments”. Other sources added that it would mean an “escape to other neighboring countries with taxation similar to the current one” and warn that Portugal is already making progress in the creation of regulations on socimis, known internationally as reits.
“The tax incentive is being effective in achieving its energizing spirit and a positive outcome is expected on the maintenance of the regime,” says David Carro, general director of DCM Asesores.
The experts consulted also reject the reform of this vehicle used to stop the rise in rental prices. “There is no tangible evidence that this measure has an effect on the price of leases,” they say. The truth is that large investors, among which would be the socimis, investment funds and servicers, control only between 2% and 4% of the park of flats for rent, according to market data.