There are many ways in which you can be informed if you have broken the law, missed a payment or done something else that breaks a country’s rules and regulations. Recorded delivery, phone calls, perhaps even an official visit to your home are all ways in which we might expect to be approached and informed of our misdemeanour. However, there is another method of official communication that is used in Spain that you should be aware of, The `Boletín Oficial Del Estado’.
This ‘boletin’ does not make very exciting reading. It is a very long list of names of people who for some reason must be officially notified of something. Divided into different areas, the boletíns are huge and include lists of transgressions and notifications. The offending people range from those who haven’t applied for planning permission to divorce announcements in Spain. From lists of those who owe tax to people behind on their social security payments. It’s a long list, updated daily and it’s important.
However, it is virtually inaccessible especially if your command of Spanish is weak. Its length and the fact that it is regularly updated make it an ineffectual means of communication. This is compounded by the fact that there is no search capacity and many people simply aren’t even aware that it exists.
So what exactly is it and why might your name be on it?
In order to understand the boletín you need to understand the process of notification in Spain. If it is discovered that you have an unpaid traffic fine, tax bill or some other outstanding debt, initially you will be sent a letter by registered delivery. Everyone occasionally forgets or misses something and we would expect to have this kind of warning that something is wrong. However, you do need to be at your Spanish address to receive it.
The problems really begin where non-residents are not available and have no fiscal representation. Without this the letter will go back to the authorities and instead the notification is posted on the boletín. Of course, no one (at least that we are aware of!) logs on to the website every day in the off-chance that their name might be posted there. From the point of view of notification it is hard to see how it informs anyone. However, staying on this notice board for a set amount of time means that officially you have been informed.
If the debt continues to remain unpaid then the authorities, now they have informed you, can go ahead and embargo your bank account. They can either take money from your account, or if there isn’t enough available they can go as far as seizing and impounding other assets such as a car you might have or even a house you might own.
And all because a debt remains outstanding. It’s quite easy to see, how through no fault of your own, you could end up in quite a predicament. What’s the solution? The best alternative is to make sure you have a fiscal representative named on your title deed. Having this representation means that there is someone else that can receive mail on your behalf without you having to be present. Of course, the best course is to make sure you incur no debts in the first place. Your fiscal representative is pretty crucial in this too!
Access the Alicante boletín at http://seguro.dip-alicante.es/