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Get on the Municipal Register (Padrón) and Save

Save in SpainFor many people the only time they ever remember that they ought to be on the Municipal Register (padrón municipal) is when it comes to election time. But for many expats this may not be important. So why should you register?

As all towns and villages in Spain receive funding based on the number of people registered, less population means less funding means less public amenities.

Did you know there’s a village in Spain with only 200 inhabitants and over 60,000 cars registered?


Because for rental companies it’s the cheapest place to pay the annual municipal car tax!

We’re not suggesting you do this to pay less tax on your own car (it wouldn’t be legal), but let’s take a look at some of the ways being on the Padrón can help you save.

Water Bills

Some water companies in Spain offer a discount on your bill if the water consumption is reasonable based on the number of people in the home.

Water bills are split into fixed and variable costs. The latter is billed in stages from I to IV, which are progressively more expensive. A bigger family will often pay a large part of the bill at the higher priced stage III or IV consumption level, although this may be perfectly reasonable taking into account the number of people in the home.

To see if you can take advantage of this, get our your latest bill and take a look. If there’s the possibility for a discount and it hasn’t been applied, send your water company a copy of the padrón certificate for all household members.

Municipal Gyms, Sports Clubs and Classes

Why pay for a private gym if your town has decent municipal installations? For a fraction of the cost many towns offer a wide variety of sporting activities.

The same goes for classes for both kids and adults: get them at a discounted rate or free.

Some towns have a better offer than others and availability is limited. It’s either first come, first served or some locations may apply a points system.

Home Improvements

Believe it or not, some towns offer help with home improvements with grants of up to 40% of the cost. To be eligible you may have to have been on the Padrón for a year or two before requesting the grant and it may be means-tested.

Ask locally for more info and remember that just because no grants are available one year, once the new municipal budget is approved this could change.

More Grants

Plan PIVE 1500€ when you buy a new car (currently not available), grants for buying energy efficient home appliances, air con units, changing windows, getting a new boiler installed and more.

All these grants are non means-tested and only available for people who are on the register.

As an example, this year’s grants in the Basque Country included 80€ for a new A+++ energy efficient fridge, washing machine and dishwasher or 65€ for A++ rated appliances.

As Spain’s economy picks up, we can expect the availability of national and regional grants to increase.

Tax Benefits

This one is a bit tricky and depends on whether you’re a taxpayer in Spain. As an example, a high earner can pay over 20,000€ more per year in tax if they live in Catalunya than in Madrid.

If you have assets in Spain and are planning to leave inheritance to residents, make sure you check the local tax implications. Each region in Spain fixes the inheritance tax rate. An inheritance of 800,000€ would be subject to a payment of 134€ in the Canary Islands and over 164,000€ in Andalucia (source: Cinco Dias, April 2016).

If this could affect you, make sure you get expert advice.


Watch out if you’re thinking of getting on the Padrón at your friend’s address at a different location. Some people do this in order to have access to better hospitals or for other perceived benefits.

Cities and towns are cracking down on fraudulent registration. Penalties for public document fraud, including the Padrón register, come with a possible sentence of 6 months to 3 years in jail.

And for those who say that these benefits aren’t for foreigners, that’s not the case. I’ve received a Plan PIVE grant in 2013 and also a grant for an energy efficient fridge a few years ago.

Get on the Municipal Register and Save

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