British home owners in Spain are set to reclaim £283m they were illegally overcharged by the Spanish government.
A Capital Gains Tax (CGT) trap contravened European Community Treaty rules and led the Spanish government to illegally overcharge thousands of Britons by 133%, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled.
The average tax reclaim size is £13,370 for those who paid the full 35% tax, but as many as 90,000 Brits could be affected and entitled to claw back as much as £283m.
The latest ECJ decision extends the reclaim period by additional eight years so anyone who sold a property in Spain between 1997 and 2006 can now file a claim if they believe they have affected by unlawful CGT charges.
In a previous ruling by the Spanish courts in February only any non Spanish resident who had purchased a property between 2004 and 2006 was able to apply for a tax rebate.
Home owners who only paid the 5% compulsory withholding tax on their property selling price will now also qualify for as much as £7,130 back.
Other European countries may also join the action to reclaim more than £944m.
Mark Bodega, marketing director of currency specialists HiFX says: "This announcement by the ECJ is huge. We are currently working with 600 British claimants who are in the process of putting their cases forward. We now urge anyone else who thinks they may have been affected by this to come forward."
Potential claimants should however think carefully before choosing their legal representation, however.
Spanish lawyer Emilio Alvarez says: "We are frequently contacted by people who received wrong advice when making their claim and have as a result now ruined their chances to get their money back. The Spanish legal procedures on this refund are complex and may be different for each client."
The advice for those who believe they may be affected by the ruling is to visit www.spanishtaxreclaim.co.uk or call the Spanish Tax Reclaim Helpline on 0845 680 3849
Paul Bruns and Elaine Parkes
3,000 left to transfer
Record numbers of people aged 90 plus
From 3 to 10 October