Widowed woman loses status as daughter-in-law in taxman’s eyes

Pilar Arriols being asked to return 7,300-euro break on inheritance levy

Pilar Arriols holds up a family photo. / álvaro garcía

Pilar Arriols married Juan Fort in 1977. And, of course, that meant that Juan’s mother, María Palomo, became Pilar’s mother-in-law. Right? No, not as far as the Madrid taxman is concerned.

The regional tax authorities argue that Pilar is not legally María’s daughter-in-law, and therefore is not eligible for the tax break corresponding to kinship on the inheritance she was left, given that Juan died before his mother. Madrid is demanding that Pilar return 7,300 euros she deducted, on top of the 15,000 she originally paid in inheritance tax.

“This whole business has my stomach in knots,” Pilar told EL PAÍS. María had no other direct family apart from Juan, and the relationship between the two women was always close, as was María’s with her adopted granddaughter. During the final stage of her life, María was cared for by Pilar during a terminal illness, from which she died aged 94. Juan passed away three months earlier, also because of untreatable cancer. “She didn’t have anyone else and I looked after her,” says Pilar. “How can it be that the tax office says she has ceased to be my mother-in-law?”

María left a third of her 272,900-euro estate to Pilar, and the rest to her 24-year-old granddaughter. When declaring the inheritance, Pilar deducted 7,933 (rounded up to 8,000 under Madrid legislation) in tax for her condition of daughter-in-law, in accordance with Spanish law. But the Madrid authorities did not agree and presented an appeal against Pilar’s declaration. “Kinship is only maintained if at the time of the tax return the link that binds them survives,” said the authorities.

“If the marital connection disappears — be it through death or divorce — any parental relationship with either also disappears.” But this interpretation of the law, which in force in most Spanish regions, is questionable. Teresa Mata, a professor of Tax Law at the University of León who has written on the subject, says that behind the decision is a “clear interest” in collecting taxes.

She didn’t have anyone else and I looked after her; how can she not be my mother-in-law?"

“If the contributor does not appeal, the administration benefits and the person affected ends up paying more than they should under a just application of tax legislation,” she says.

José María Luzón Cuesta, a former deputy prosecutor at the Supreme Court, agrees. In an article from the judicial publication La Ley, Luzón defends the unbreakable nature of kinship by marriage. Debate is rife in the judiciary and court rulings in the last 10 years have fallen on both sides of the fence. Mata points out that one of the main reasons for the disparity in interpretation is the lack of national legislation over whether kinship by marriage ends with the union, or under what conditions.

Aragon last year modified its regional inheritance legislation to clarify that “family relationships through marriage are not lost by the death of the person that provides the link, unless there is a subsequent marriage.”

Lawyer Jorge Pecourt believes that under the civil code it can be interpreted that the death of an in-law means the end of the family connection, as it is the act of marriage that creates it. “However, from a social viewpoint and in the application of tax it would seem sensible that the family benefits are applied even if, technically, the link has been dissolved.”

For Pilar, who has taken the case to the Ombudsman’s Office, the legal debate is not the issue. “I believe in paying taxes and I pay them in good faith. But what has happened to me is different; it is an injustice.”

Para poder comentar debes estar registrado en Eskup y haber iniciado sesión

Darse de alta ¿Por qué darse de alta?

Otras noticias

Últimas noticias

Ver todo el día

Sangre entre galets

Muere uno de los heridos en la pelea a navajazos ayer en la barcelonesa Rambla de Catalunya

Amenazas de Corea a EE UU si no acepta investigar juntos el ataque

Pyongyang advierte de "graves consecuencias" si la Casa Blanca se niega a una comisión

Otro informe relaciona los seismos de Castor con las inyecciones de gas

El diputado de Esquerra Unida Ricardo Sixto considera que todo el proyecto fue una temeridad

Hallado un gen ‘adelgazante’ que convierte la grasa mala en buena

Un mecanismo celular reprograma los adipocitos para que quemen energía. Controlar a voluntad este interruptor serviría para activar la pérdida de peso

LATIN AMERICA

US and Cuba to start talks to normalize relations

Announcement from White House comes after news that US contractor Alan Gross has been freed by Havana

“Isolation has not worked,” says Obama in TV address

US and Cuban presidents take to airwaves to make simultaneous statements on the way forward for relations

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas declare unilateral and indefinite ceasefire

Government must decide whether to do the same or risk ending truce

Lo más visto en...

» Top 50

Webs de PRISA

cerrar ventana