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Posted by Phil Murray on November 05, 2013
Safety deposit boxes have been seized by Hacienda officials
  • Officials hope to settle a 319 million euro debt
  • The boxes will be opened by the debtors in front of Hacienda officials
  • If undeclared assets are found, debtors will be fined

In an exercise never seen before, a total of 660 officials working for Spain’s tax office raided banks across the country and seized 542 safety deposit boxes belonging to people who owe large sums of money to the tax office in unpaid taxes.

The aim of this action, where 270 separate braches of 24 different banks were entered, is to settle a tax debt of 319 million euro owed by 551 tax contributors.

To the surprise of the banks’ employees, tax office officials turned up at each branch first thing in the morning and ordered the banks’ employees to hand over 542 safety deposit boxes of 551 debtors.

Amongst the debtors are singular people as well as companies.

So far the safes remain unopened.

Over the next few days their owners will be notified of the situation and asked to meet with the Hacienda officials to open their safety deposit box in front of them.

If the debtors refuse, Hacienda will seek judicial authorisation.

The safety deposit boxes of the debtors that owe the most amount of money to the tax office have been seized only.

With this action, Hacienda hopes that the contents of the safes will be used to pay off their tax bill. Cash will be taken immediately and if the amount does not cover the full debt, the remaining items will be confiscated and auctioned off at a later date.

Totally separate from this matter is the fact that by opening the debtors’ safes, officials may come across items or assets that were not declared in the recent 720 Model exercise.

In this case, Hacienda will update the situation, attributing these assets as undeclared earnings which will then be taxed at 52%. Not only this, but sanctions will be applied.

If the fraud is greater than 120,000 euro, it will be considered a serious tax crime and could even come with a prison sentence.

So, for those that owe money to the tax office, be warned that hiding your assets in a safety deposit box belonging to a bank is no longer as ‘safe’ as it used to be. The tax office has been confiscating possessions of debtors more and more over the last few years as it has proved an effective way of obtaining money that is owed.



  • Hacienda
  • tax
  • tax fraud
  • tax office
  • safety deposit box
  • bank


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