Last update: 10/04/2023

There are many concepts that overwhelm taxpayers when it comes to filing their tax return. This is what you need to know to make this process easier.

What is a tax return?

A tax return is a document in which you specify all of the income you have earned over a fiscal year. The purpose of preparing this document is to report your current tax situation to the competent public authority in your country, such as the Tax Agency in Spain, the Tax Administration Service in Mexico or the Internal Tax Service in Chile.

What is the purpose of filing a tax return?

In order to declare all income a tax return, an individual must know how much money he or she is required to pay in income tax – known as IRPF (individual income tax) in Spain and ISR (income tax) in Mexico, for example. As this tax varies depending on the country in which we live, and in accordance with the current regulations in each jurisdiction, a number of exceptions may apply to tax return filings. 

Therefore, not every individual is required to file a tax return. You must file a tax return if you comply with a series of requirements. You can check these requirements on each country’s public tax entity website.

How often do you need to file a tax return?

In general, tax returns are filed each year. However, a number of deadlines are stipulated in each country. These deadlines can be verified with the relevant tax authorities. In Spain, you can check with the Tax Agency, a public entity under the Ministry of Finance. In most jurisdictions tax returns are filed during the second quarter of the year. 

Tips on filing a tax return

  • Take your time when completing the document in order to avoid making mistakes and incurring potential penalties. You must check that the draft version is correct. In Spain, this draft is the first document prepared by the Tax Agency with all of your details, which you can use as the model for your complete tax return.
  • Remember that it is essential to declare all financial products. Make sure you do not leave any out, as emphasised in Finanzas para Mortales (Finance for mortals) here. Pension plans tend to be one of the most common products. If you would like to know more about tax breaks on pension plans, read this article by Openbank.

  • We must take particular care regarding certain items that do not appear in the initial draft, and include them manually. An example of this could be union fees. It is also important to remember that arrangements such as refinancing a mortgage loan must also be declared. See this article by Santander Spain to learn more.
  • If you prefer to file your tax return with the help of an expert, remember that, in Spain, you can make an appointment with the Tax Agency. 
  • Another option is to hire an expert advisor to help you file your tax return.

Filing your tax return online

Digitalisation has been part of tax returns for some years now. For example, the Spanish Tax Agency not only answers queries by phone; it also has the “Renta WEB” (tax return) website as well as a mobile app, both of which can be used to file a tax return online and provide a simple explanation of how filing a tax return works and the deadlines for doing so.

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