What Spanish Paperwork Should You Store?

paperwork_spainYou’re probably aware of how long you need to keep important papers in your home country, but what about in Spain? With charges of up to 30€ for requesting duplicate receipts, it’s a good idea to ensure you know what you should be storing and for how long.

Don’t Spanish Banks Store My Paperwork?

Your bank in Spain will store details of your payments but only for a certain length of time. Most banks offer the possibility to go back two years via your online account, but it’s a good idea to check just in case. If you need to request a receipt, or a certificate, to show you’ve paid a bill that’s outside the timeframe your bank covers, you’ll be charged and that’s when you could be in for a shock – some banks charge a modest 2€ or 3€ whereas others charge up to 30€.

Remember that if you close your bank account (either if you change bank or you move abroad and close your accounts in Spain) then you’ll lose all the information that you had access to online. Again, if you need receipts or certificates you’ll be charged and, if you’re no longer a customer, the charges could be even higher than the normal rates.

Normally a receipt should be sufficient to show you’ve paid, but if there is a judicial claim then you will be required to supply a certificate from your bank

Do I Need to Keep Hard Copies?

No, pdf copies are fine. You can use a free storage system such as Dropbox or Google to store your documents just in case you lose the data on your computer. Remember to also keep pdf copies of your utility bills and credit card statements as well as keeping copies of the bank payment receipts.

How Long Do I Need To Keep Paperwork?

2 years: Car insurance and house insurance.

4 years: Taxes paid in Spain such as IBI (Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles) and car tax. Self-employed people in Spain should keep copies of their social security payments for four years also. The four year period counts from the last date the payment was due.

5 years: Utility bills and receipts, rental payments. Five years covers the period during which a legal claim for non-payment can be made.

15 years: Loans and credit card payments. A claim can be made up to 15 years after a loan or credit card debt payment was due. When loans are repaid in full, it’s a good idea to request a “zero debt certificate” (Certificado de Deuda Cero) as proof.

20 years:  Mortgage payments. When you’ve repaid your mortgage you should request a Certificado de Deuda Cero, which the bank must supply free of charge.


Life insurance payment details should be kept whilst the policy is in force (and a relative should know where this paperwork is).

If you buy shares, keep the paperwork after selling for another four years including the original purchase details.

If you keep paper copies, don’t forget to shred all your documents when you no longer need them.