Why renting out in Malaga through platforms like Airbnb can turn out more expensive

It all comes down to the percentage of VAT you have to pay

Renting out property in Spain is currently one of the most profitable business activities, especially in places like Malaga or Marbella, where clearly tourism is boosting. Airbnb-like platforms which are based on reviews make it fairly easy to find guests for short stays. In fact, many landlords report to be making more money in a few days than if they decided to let their apartments on a monthly or long-term basis. But Spanish rental laws treat holiday lettings differently, depending on the type of services offered and on the way they are booked.

airbnb malaga spain

Laws for renting out property in Spain

A normal apartment in Spain which is rented for short periods is not subject to VAT. Value-added tax (IVA in Spanish) only applies when additional services, such as laundry, dining or regular cleaning, typically offered by hotels, are included. In such cases, the rental will need to be previously registered at the tax office (Hacienda) under the category “Alojamientos Turísticos Extrahoteleros” and 10% VAT will have to be included in your invoices.

But this is where it gets interesting: in many cases, landlords end up signing a sublease contract with an internet platform or intermediary agency, giving them the right to re-rent the property to a third party for touristic purposes. In this case, the Spanish tax system understands that the purpose of the rental is other than normal housing and, for that reason, VAT goes up to 21%. In the tax office, this type of rental must be registered under “Alquiler de Viviendas”. Whether you offer hospitality services or not does not influence taxation. The good news is, some related expenses can be deducted (e.g. repairs, consumption services).

renting out a property in spain

If you are currently subletting your flat in this way, note that not only will you obliged to pay in 21% VAT every 3 months, but the property will also need to be acknowledged by the Registry of Tourism of Andalusia. As the landlord and owner of the property, you can get fined if you fail to register it properly.

ITP – the property transfer tax (impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales)

Even if you are not obliged to pay VAT, there is tax type that applies to every rental property in Spain, that’s the so-called “property transfer tax” ( in Spanish “impuesto de transmisiones inmobiliarias). ITP tax must be paid at the beginning of the rental period through Form 600 and it’s the tenant’s duty to pay it. The tax amount is established according to the rental duration and it is relatively low (7,21 euros for a two-week rental worth 1,000 euros). ITP for long-term rentals is calculated on a regular 3-year period, which is the legal duration of a standard rental contract in Spain.

Need A Professional Consultation?

Income tax and non-resident tax on Spanish holiday rentals

From 01-01-2021 and after finishing the transition period, the United Kingdom is considered a non-member country of the E.U. and regarding the rental incomes obtained in Spain, the owners will from now on start to be taxed from the 19% to the 24% . Besides, as Non Community owners, the rental expenses will not be able to be deducted, this means they will pay for the gross income. So, according to the current law, the fiscal situation for non resident British citizens in Spain is equivalent to the rest of non european citizens, raising their tax payments.

Perhaps a future agreement between Spain and the U.K. could improve the tax situation and go back to the pre-Brexit situation.

Since the rent will be considered as income, IRPF (income tax) will also needs to be declared. The way this tax is calculated in the case of property rental also depends on whether additional services are offered as mentioned previously. If the rental includes hospitality services, it will be treated as business activity and will be accordingly registered in the tax office as “actividad económica”, whereas plain rentals are understood as a return on property investment “rendimientos del capital inmobiliario”. Please note that regarding IRPF, the 60% tax reduction that applies to long-term rental cannot be applied for short periods.

Lastly, expats who rent out their property in Spain and haven’t registered officially as residents are subject to the IRNR (impuesto sobre la renta de no residentes).

The same classification is used here: if the rental is free from services, IRNR will be as high as 19% (24% for non EU-citizens, including Norway and Iceland), whilst with business-oriented it reaches 25%. Please note that IRNR is paid to the tax office on a quarterly basis, using Form 210.

At Tejada Solicitors, we are specialists in managing holiday rentals in Malaga, Costa del Sol and the rest of Spain, both from a tax perspective, but also as a property management firm, for the periods you spend abroad.

EU database of Holiday Rentals

The argument in question is if an EU database of vacation rentals will aid in the regulation of the industry and the major platforms involved.

As reported by Spanish media, authorities from EU member states’ competition and industries have decided to establish an EU-wide registry for vacation rentals.

Booking services like Airbnb will be required to implement the requirement that all tourist rentals in the EU be listed in the register, allowing governments to compile information on homeowners who rent out their vacation homes to travelers for brief stays.

EU governments want more control over the sector so they may increase taxes on owners or limit vacation rentals in places where local housing costs are allegedly being driven up by tourist lodging.

There is no deadline for creating this register, reports the Spanish press.

*The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues

Image source: Pixabay

tejada solicitors team law firm malaga

“The only way to do great work is to love what  you do.”

– Steve Jobs –

Contact Form

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Terms and conditions - Data protection acceptance


In fulfillment of the Information legal duty established in the article 13 of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679, You are given the following basic information relative to the personal data given.

En cumplimiento del deber legal de información establecido en el artículo 13 del Reglamento (UE) 2016/679, se les facilita la siguiente información básica relativa a los datos personales facilitados.

Purpose / Finalidad


To give the services offered across the web or to attend to other types of relations that could arise with LEGAL AND TAX ADVISORS S.L.P. as consequence of the requests, negotiations or steps that the User realizes by means of the web, as well as the management of sending information and commercial communications by request of the user.


Prestar los servicios ofrecidos a través de la web o atender otros tipos de relaciones que puedan surgir con LEGAL AND TAX ADVISORS S.L.P. como consecuencia de las solicitudes, gestiones o trámites que el Usuario realice mediante la web, así como la gestión del envío de información y comunicaciones comerciales a solicitud del usuario.

Organic law 15/1999, of December 13, of Protection of Personal Data Information (in forward, “LOPD”) and Royal decree 1720/2007, of December 21, by which the Regulation of Development of the Organic Law 15/1999 (RLOPD) is approved, Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the PE and of the Council of April 27, 2016, which procedures will be of obliged fulfillment from May, 2018.

Ley Orgánica 15/1999, de 13 de diciembre, de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal (en adelante, “LOPD”) y Real Decreto 1720/2007, de 21 de diciembre, por el que se aprueba el Reglamento de Desarrollo de la Ley Orgánica 15/1999 (RLOPD), Reglamento (UE) 2016/679 del PE y del Consejo de 27 de abril de 2016, cuyas normas serán de obligado cumplimiento a partir de mayo de 2018.

Addressee / Destinatarios

Internal automated file of LEGAL AND TAX ADVISORS S.L.P. and third parties for the development, maintenance and control of the juridical relation that is established when legal authorization exists from the user to do it.

Fichero interno automatizado de LEGAL AND TAX ADVISORS S.L.P. y terceros para el desarrollo, mantenimiento y control de la relación jurídica que se establezca cuando exista autorización legal por el usuario para hacerlo.

Rights / Derechos

Access, rectification, transfer, opposition and right to the oblivion. +info Political Privacy.

Acceso, rectificación, cesión, oposición y derecho al olvido. +info Politica Privacidad.

Additional Information / Información Adicional

You can obtain the whole additional and detailed Information that you need on the treatment and protection of your personal information and the Privacy and Cookies Policy on the link + info Political Privacy.

Puede obtener toda la Información adicional y detallada que precise sobre el tratamiento y protección de sus datos personales y la Política de privacidad y Política de cookies en el enlace + info Politica Privacidad.

Governing Law

For the resolution of all disputes or issues related to this website or the activities developed herein, the Spanish legislation shall be applicable, to which the parties expressly submit themselves, being competent to solve all conflicts related to its use by the Courts and Tribunals of Velez-Malaga.

If any clause included in these conditions of use is declared fully or partially null or ineffective, such nullity or ineffectiveness will only affect the said provision or the part of it that is null or ineffective, while the remaining parts will be upheld as the rest of the conditions of use and such provision or part thereof that is considered affected will be deemed as totally or partially removed.

Ley Aplicable

Para la resolución de todos los conflictos o cuestiones relacionadas con este sitio web o con las actividades desarrolladas en el mismo, será de aplicación la legislación española, a la que las partes se someten expresamente, siendo competentes para la resolución de todos los conflictos derivados de su utilización los Juzgados y Tribunales de Vélez-Málaga.

En el caso de que cualquier cláusula incluida en las presentes condiciones de uso sea declarada total o parcialmente nula o ineficaz, dicha nulidad o ineficacia sólo afectará a dicha disposición o a la parte de la misma que resulte nula o ineficaz, mientras que las demás partes se mantendrán como el resto de las condiciones de uso y dicha disposición o parte de la misma que se considere afectada se considerará total o parcialmente suprimida.