Spanish Government Restricts Cash Payments to Close Black Market

On Friday last week the Spanish President Mariano Rajoy introduced a new financial reform bill into congress, which includes a 2500 Euro limit on cash payments where one party is a business person in an effort to reduce the size of the black market and eliminate false invoices.

Rajoy’s government estimates this will bring an additional 8.1 billion Euros into government coffers and is just one of several measures being introduced to combat tax avoidance. Current estimates suggest as much as 30% of the Spanish economy is fueled by the black market, but as the financial crisis deepens this may increase.

Businesses and self-employed who continue to pay or accept payments greater than 2500 Euros in cash will now be subject to fines that could total as much as 25% of the total disbursement.

All businesses are affected, including hotels and guesthouses, and whilst the move may be difficult to police, Spain’s taxation authorities may adopt more stringent assessment criteria in the event significant cash transactions are suspected.

Private individuals receiving an invoice greater than 2500 Euros, for example building repairs or installations, buying furniture or other high value goods, or paying for holidays etc will now be required to pay using their bank issued card (cc or debit) or send an electronic payment.