vivir de las rentas

It’s that time of year again. Time to do the annual declaración de la renta, the Spanish tax return.

This is somewhat easier now the tax office issue a borrador of what they think your status is, which you can simply agree to rather than going through the process of filling out a lengthy tax form. Mind you, I’m pretty sure that if they then decide they got it wrong it’s going to be the individual who will be responsible.

agencia tributaria logo
Many people will therefore still complete the return from first principles, and although it’s a lot more automated than in the past, I still expect to see people queuing in the bank clutching their envelopes bearing the primary-coloured logo of the Agencia Tributaria and the PADRE logo.

Which raises the question of what fathers have to do with tax returns.

In fact PADRE is simply a paternalistic acronym for the Programa de Ayuda para la confección de la Declaración de Renta. (I assume the final ‘E’ is for España.) I love that use of the word confección, which conjures the image of great invention and creativity going into the process of preparing a tax return.

For an English speaker in Spain, the word renta is liable to cause confusion because of the English cognate ‘rent’, which is quite a long way from ‘income’ or ‘earnings’. Even Spanish has the expression vivir de las rentas, which the rae defines as:

1. loc. verb. coloq. Aprovechar algo que se ha conseguido anteriormente, sin hacer ningún esfuerzo por renovarlo.

It’s very tempting to think that’s exactly what Hacienda are doing now: taking advantage of something […] without making any effort […].

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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