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How Catalan Independence Could Affect Russians

Susana Vera / Reuters

Up to 20,000 Russian citizens who own property in Catalonia could face higher taxes if the northeastern Spanish region secedes, the Bell investigative outlet reports.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said that Barcelona could declare independence within days following a disputed referendum in Catalonia that descended into violence on Sunday.

Roughly 10,000 to 20,000 Russian citizens currently own property in Catalonia, the Bell cited real estate website tranio.ru manager Georgy Kachmazov as saying on Wednesday.

Around 70 percent invest in Catalan property as holiday rentals, according to Knight Frank international consulting company analyst Yekaterina Nikitina.

Around one-third of the Russian property owners have a residence visa issued to them as investors into real estate.

The Bell cites Kachmazov estimating that Catalan independence could lead to changes in the region’s tax system and real estate market regulation.

The 70 percent of non-resident Russian property owners could be thrown off the flat tax rate of 24 percent for non-residents, according to the Bell. Residents are subjected to a progressive scale ranging from 19 percent to 45 percent.

Neither expert said values would fall following the Catalan independence referendum. Nikitina added that the region is also unlikely to see a decline in the tourist flow.

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