It is very common to be census-registered in one place and live in another for work- or family-related reasons. Out of laziness or carelessness, it is very common for people to not update the census accordingly. But, are we doing the right thing? Generally speaking, it is possible to be census-registered in one municipality and live in another, but this is not legal.
The law establishes that we must be census-registered in the municipality where we spend most time per year or in our place of residence.
If this is your case, we will tell you about the limitations that you may face.
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What if you aren’t census-registered where you live?
All Spanish citizens must be census-registered in the municipality in which they live. Being registered on the census grants citizens a series of rights and duties, the main one being the right to vote in the municipality in which they live.
Under no circumstances is it legal to be census-registered in two places at once. If you reside in two different places, you must be registered on the census in the municipality in which you spend most time during the year. Being census-registered in more than one place at a time is illegal and you can be subject to sanctions for doing so. These are some of the sanctions you could face:
Royal Decree 1690/1986 sets forth sanctions for falsifying or omitting data in the census, with fines of between 3 and 150 euros depending on the municipality:
- Municipalities with between 5,001 and 20,000 residents registered on the census: a €3 fine
- Municipalities with between 20,001 and 50,000 residents registered on the census: a €60 fine
- Municipalities with between 50,001 and 500,000 residents registered on the census: a €90 fine
- Municipalities with more than 500,000 residents registered on the census: a €150 fine
Furthermore, article 392 of the Penal Code indicates that a citizen who enters false information in public documents could face prison sentences of between six months and three years if it is also proven that he/she has a criminal record and has used this practice for a lucrative purpose.
How do I prove that it is my main abode?
The municipal census is not the only means of accrediting regular residence. In fact, there are other legally-recognised means of doing so.
- Contracts for other services, such as landline telephones or Internet connection.
- Certificate issued by the president of the Community of Property Owners.
- Certificate of attendance to Meetings of Property Owners issued by the administrator.
- Certificate from your place of work or the school at which your children are studying.
- Certificate from a financial institution specifying that it is the address to which they send correspondence, etc.
- Light, gas, internet and telephone bills, amongst others.
What are the possible consequences of someone being census-registered under your address?
If the registration is legal, there are no consequences on a fiscal level. In addition, you will be able to save some money on IBI property tax payments and avoid the surcharge imposed by some autonomous communities for having an empty property.
One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll need to register him/her as an independent family unit to ensure that their income is not calculated with yours and does not affect you when applying for public benefits, etc.