This is how having been in an ERTE affect your income tax return

The crisis derived from the coronavirus pandemic that Spain has been dealing with for more than a year could not not also be reflected in the income tax return, the most important fiscal event of the year. The great stoppage of economic activities registered last year significantly increased the number of workers who had to take advantage of a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) and receive a benefit from the State Public Employment Service (SEPE). In this way, having had more than one payer, it is foreseeable that many of them, who in the past were not obliged to file the return or had to return them, in the imminent campaign of the 2020 financial year will have to declare and, in some cases, enter.

The 2020 income campaign will begin on April 7, the date on which you can start filing the return online, although as of March 24 it will be possible to consult the tax data in the Tax Agency application and obtain the reference number, which allows the declaration to be made and presented without the need for an electronic certificate or DNI. As of May 4, a prior appointment may be requested for the telephone preparation of declarations and two days later the telephone attention will begin. To request an appointment in person, however, it will be necessary to wait for May 27. This will begin on June 2, at the offices of the Tax Agency. June 25 is the deadline for filing returns with the result to be entered, provided that you wish to direct your payment, and June 29 is the deadline for requesting a prior appointment for the preparation of the return. The next day the campaign will end.

The tax treatment of ERTE has not changed in recent years. The novelty in this income campaign, however, “is going to be the high number of taxpayers affected by them”, underline from the organization of the Ministry of Finance (Gestha) technicians, who add: “In many cases, the The fact of having been in an ERTE may imply the obligation to present a declaration to workers who usually did not have it for the amount of their income ”.


It must be taken into account that there are two limits below which the obligation to present the income statement disappears. Taxpayers with work income of less than 14,000 euros are exempted, regardless of the number of payers they have. However, the ceiling that allows not to declare rises to 22,000 euros if the returns are satisfied by a single payer, or, if there are several, the second and subsequent payers do not contribute more than 1,500 euros.

“The limit rises to 22,000 euros in the case of having a single payer because he makes a withholding of personal income tax on the worker’s monthly payroll, which at the end of the year will mean an amount similar to what the taxpayer would have paid if he had filed his return without that the employer had applied it ”, explain the technicians of the Treasury. And they compare two situations. On the one hand, a worker who receives 22,000 euros in the year from a payer, who applies to his payroll withholdings for 2,000 euros, due to his family circumstances. On the other hand, another worker under the same conditions, but who is employed in two different companies that pay him 11,000 euros each. These two payrolls would not have been subject to withholding on personal income tax, so if you were not obliged to declare (due to the fact that you have more than one payer and because of the second you charge more than 1,500 euros) you would not be taxed for personal income tax, even receiving 22,000 euros, the same amount as the first worker who, he yes, has paid to the Treasury for an amount equivalent to 2,000 euros of his annual withholdings.

Likewise, the norm does not oblige workers who have received less than 22,000 euros to declare even when they come from more than one payer, provided that the second and subsequent ones do not amount to more than 1,500 euros. “This is due to the fact that it is understood that the main payer will have already made withholdings on account that will represent a figure very close to what the taxation of all the 22,000 euros would have entailed”, highlight the finance technicians. “It is considered that the taxation of those 1,500 euros is irrelevant up to that level of income, so, although they did not support withholding, their taxation would not be a relevant amount”, they add.

In this way, since charging an ERTE implies having another payer (the SEPE), the amount of the benefit will have to be calculated. “Due to its magnitude, this will not be subject to withholding in most cases”, indicate the Treasury technicians, but, “if the benefit is greater than 1,500 euros and if the sum of this plus the compensation paid by the company is higher than 14,000 euros (for example, an ERTE of 7,000 euros and a payroll of 10,000 euros), the taxpayer would be obliged to file a return ”. Since the withholding by the company will be lower than in other years because wages have been lower and the SEPE, in general, does not withhold, the return could result in entering, if the taxpayer does not have family charges or deductions.


The Treasury technicians also focus on another problem, which arises in cases in which ERTE benefits exceeded the established amounts and the SEPE has demanded reimbursement from the worker. If the reimbursement took place last year, the SEPE statement of form 190 will have entered the correct remuneration and withholdings, since it will have included the total annual benefit, discounting the required reimbursement. “In this way, the draft of the declaration will be correct,” they emphasize.

If the reimbursement has occurred or will be made this year, however, in the declaration of the model 190 of the year 2020 presented by the SEPE the total of the benefit will appear without discounting the amount reimbursed in 2021. This will be corrected in the model 190 that is presented next year and in the tax data of this income statement it will be warned of the existence of this pending refund so that the taxpayer can rectify the draft.

In any case, “it would be better for workers who have returned the part of the undue benefits due to an ERTE to review the draft of their declaration carefully, to verify that the reimbursed benefit has not been included, regardless of whether the return was made in 2020 or this year ”, they advise.



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