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Juan Carlos I has taken one more step to establish his residence in Abu Dhabi, where he has been living since he fled Spanish justice in August 2020: he has now changed his fiscal address to the Gulf state. In this way, he gets out of the clutches of Hacienda, the Spanish tax agency, and this year he will no longer make out a tax return in Spain: the man who was king of Spain for almost 40 years is no longer a taxpayer. This bureaucratic adjustment has been reported by the newspaper El Mundo, which assures that the king emeritus has initiated the administrative procedures to move his fiscal home to the United Arab Emirates so that, when the period for Spanish tax declarations for 2022 opens, he will not have to rush around and gather up all his receipts, but rather will answer to the requirements of the authorities in his new country of residence.

Thus, Juan Carlos I is declaring to the tax agency that Spain is no longer "the main nucleus or base of his activities or economic interests". This is what is stated in the Spanish regulations for granting fiscal residence to a citizen. In addition, during 2022 he only spent a few days in Spain - his brief visit last May - far fewer than the 183 days established by the treasury as the limit beyond which citizens automatically become obliged to pay Spanish taxes. It should be noted that in the UAE there is no income tax and no taxes are paid on personal earnings. Thus, the Persian Gulf country almost automatically gives tax residency certificates to those people who can prove that they have resided for more than 183 days in the territory during the fiscal year. In 2022, apart from visiting Spain, Juan Carlos I also spent a few days in London for the funeral of Elizabeth II, where he was reunited with his son Felipe VI and his daughter-in-law, queen Letizia, but apart from these trips, it has emerged, he barely left his mansion in Abu Dhabi.

Frequent visits that have not been so frequent

On March 7th, 2022, after the Spanish prosecutors shelved all its investigations into his businesses and money held abroad, Juan Carlos sent a letter to his son, which in reality would have been written collaboratively between the Spanish royal palace of the Zarzuela and the seat of the Spanish government, the Moncloa. The royal house published the content of the missive which read: "It seems to me appropriate to consider my return to Spain, although not immediately. I prefer, at this time, for reasons that belong to my private sphere and that only affect me, to continue residing on a permanent and stable basis in Abu Dhabi, where I have found peace of mind, especially for this period of my life. Although, naturally, I will return frequently to Spain, which I always carry in my heart, to visit family and friends." Now he has taken another step in this "permanent and stable" residence in the Arab Emirates, but the truth is that since he published these words, he has not returned to Spain often, but rather, only the once. The royal house and the Spanish government, seeing the uproar caused by his visit, have prevented him from returning.

Back in February?

But despite all of this, the recent funeral of the king's brother-in-law, Constantine of Greece, may have served to bring the points of view of father and son into greater alignment. Although they avoided each other in the Metropolitan Church of Athens, they subsequently hugged and kissed in the cemetery of Tatoi, images which have been unusual until now. This could have led to a change of heart from Felipe VI, who may propose to prime minister Pedro Sánchez that the emeritus pay a visit to Spain during February.