Cristóbal Montoro, the national finance minister, contemplating tourist taxes for Spain's municipalities.

14-03-2012JuanJo Martin

Spain's government is looking at introducing a nationwide tourist tax to be charged by individual municipalities as part of a revamp of local financing - both municipal and regional.

A commission of advisors, made up of representatives of the national government and the federation of municipalities and provinces, has presented a recommendation to the national finance ministry which, were it to be adopted, would allow any municipality in Spain to levy a tourist tax. At present, there are only regional tourist taxes - two of them: one in Catalonia and the other in the Balearics.

The tourist tax proposal has been made with town hall financing in mind, and the report given to the government argues that it is "reasonable" for tourists to contribute to the financing of local public services. It goes hand in hand with negotiations for changes to regional financing, with the Balearic government to the fore in wanting changes. These, as Madrid has been saying for some months, will have to be agreed by the regions. The national government is willing to amend the financing system, but it is looking for some consensus before going ahead.

The conference of presidents is the mechanism for arriving at consensus, though the national government could introduce changes even if there isn't consensus. Two regions - Andalusia and Madrid - are opposed to municipal tourist taxes, and there may be others, so the government could find itself clashing with them. Andalusia is obstructing Seville's wish for a tax, while the Madrid regional government vetoed one in the city of Madrid. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that the municipal tourist tax could be approved by the end of the year for implementation at a time yet to be established.

The recommendation makes clear that the tax would not be obligatory. Town halls would therefore be able to decide to implement it or not. In Majorca there are bound to be town halls which would want to be able to, and certain mayors have already expressed their support. The town halls were distinctly put out when they didn't receive any direct funding from last year's tourist tax revenue.

The report also advises that there shouldn't be duplication, while it also deals with harmonisation. In order to avoid discrepancies and indeed confusion, the tourist tax should be much the same everywhere. This therefore raises two issues. One is that the rate of the tax should be similar or the same wherever it applied. The second is that a municipal tax would be given precedence over a regional one, which would have to go in order to prevent duplication. In fact, the advisors say that administration of the tourist tax should be handed to the town halls. The Balearic government would fight tooth and nail against this, arguing - with some justification - that it would be an invasion of autonomous powers.

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John P / Hace over 3 years

Obvious that if Mallorca got away with charging,rest of Spain would follow.Sat in Enland having lunch with family.Enough is enough ,son and family turkey,daughter canary isles,after years in Paguera. Greed will catch this island out. Now is the time for the UK to lmpose a tax on Spanish visiting us,let's pretend it is a tourist tax and if they complain,TOUGH!

+11-

Mike. / Hace over 3 years

now Tunisia has been given the all clear by our government this week Majorca will not know what's hit them next year !

+14-

Steve Riches / Hace over 3 years

Do politicians not understand how wealth is created? A tourist arrives, spends 10 Euros at a bar, the bar owner pays tax on it then spends the rest locally, and the people who receive that money also re-circulate it into the system until that 10 Euros has become hundreds of Euros bringing wealth to the community and taxes for the government. Instead, now the tourist arrives and has to give his 10 Euros directly to the Government in tourist tax. Easy pickings but a dreadful loss for all. Madness!!

+9-

Steve Riches / Hace over 3 years

Suicidal

+9-

Henry James / Hace over 3 years

Well,I for one,have had enough of being seen as a walking cash machine,I pay more than enough tax in the UK to pay for all the services in the UK,I am not here to pay for Spanish services as well,there are lots of other countries that will welcome all of us who will now go elsewhere and will not start by demanding money the minute we arrive.

+23-

Tim / Hace over 3 years

I've recently returned from my holiday from the island and I feel it's an embarrassment for hoteliers charging for this tax. What evidence will the Majorcan council show that the money is getting reinvested into the island. This tax is a joke and will eventually drive people to other holiday destinations.

+25-

Steve Kane / Hace over 3 years

For gods sake tourists in Spain AND the UK give enough as it is and as for the whole of Spain how would they cope without TOURISTS

+21-

S. / Hace over 3 years

The Chancellor of the Exchequer in The UK, has been made aware of Spains Tourist Tax Model. To date, £650 BILLION is spent by Tourists in UK. The Introduction of a Tourist Tax upon entry to Great Britain, based on the Spanish Model, will generate the money urgently needed to support the NHS, Nurses Pay etc. Whilst the pound is at such a weak level, Tourists are pouring into the UK. So thank you Spain and The Baleares , for the concept of Tourist Tax. Although , as the Pound is so weak , almost £1 to €1 , There will be eventually a reduction of Tourists. Which will continue for the duration of " BREXIT " for at least 5 Years.

+18-