The treasury is moving to embargo the bank accounts of EU citizens who are not resident in Spain, government officials have confirmed.

Foreigners who have opened accounts with either passports instead of NIE numbers, or with NIE numbers without paper-work from the National Police declaring that they are non residents in Spain are being hit.

The situation came to light after an expat complained to CB News that her account had been embargoed while she was in the UK without her knowledge.

As a result and unbeknown to her the bank was no longer paying standing orders or making transfers. A source at the Treasury department explained that the Spanish government is following an EU directive introduced to crack down on tax evasion.

However the source added that they are not informing non-residents of the situation “because it would be impossible to do so”. The source also added that the Treasury is working “little by little” and that all the accounts will not be embargoed in one go.

In order to have the embargo lifted clients are being asked to provide their banks with an NIE number and a certificate of non residence (un certificado de no residencia). British citizens affected by the new regulations appear to be those who live in Spain for less than 180 days and who have not declared their “non residence” with the National police. The initiative is not only affecting EU community residents – the government is using the legislation as a tool to clamp down on illegal immigrants.

Hundreds of Moroccans have been hit by the embargoes and thousands of non-resident workers from North Africa have been drawing money out of banks before their accounts are blocked. In response to the information provided by CB News, the British Embassy in Madrid has advised British expats who are non resident to make sure they are registered as non residents with the National Police.

Source: The Tenerife Sun

Update 7.10.08  More info:-http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/property_and_mortgages/article4691513.ece