The Supreme Court establishes jurisprudence by issuing a judgment which has repealed the taxes applied to empty flats by the Badalona Town Hall because they are considered "irregular" and even "arbitrary". The Badalona Town Hall unanimously agreed to impose a tax on those empty flats owned by banks and real estate investment funds.
The Supreme Court bases part of its judgment on the notion that the tax in question is more like a sanction than the remuneration for a service obtained by a taxpayer. In addition, the Supreme Court also mentions in its judgment that these types of taxes fall within the purview of the autonomous governments and not of local authorities.
In July 2019, the Supreme Court already repealed a similar tax approved by the Barcelona Town Hall which has also been approved in Sabadell and Lleida. The Town Hall argued that this Municipal Tax was intended to finance a Municipal Housing Inspection Service, but both the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and the Supreme Court have borne in mind the criteria of the financial entity Sareb, which opposed the application of said tax.
Although the spirit of the tax was exactly the same, to levy a tax on empty flats, the difference between both Town Halls was that the Barcelona Town Hall intended to apply the tax to all housing that remained empty for a period of more than two years regardless of who the rightful owner was, while the Badalona Town Hall intended to apply the tax to all housing that was owned by banks and real estate investment funds.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.