Dreary January is finally over and it’s time for February to inject a little excitement into Spanish life. It may be the shortest month of the year but it’s anything but boring. Carnival season has arrived, new flight routes have been announced, and the weather is unseasonably hot.
Here’s the lowdown on everything that will be changing in Spain this month, February 2024 edition:
The Start of Carnival Season
One of the most exciting things happening in Spain in February is the start of Carnival season. Carnivals take place across the country in the week leading up to Lent. Some are huge while others are more intimate. Spain hosts some of the best carnivals in the world and many of them have been taking place for hundreds of years.
This year, carnival or (or carnaval in Spanish) runs from Thursday February 8th to Wednesday 14th February. There are events across the country and these are vibrant and colourful arrays ideal for letting off steam before Lent begins.
The Arrival Of HD TV
Although HD TV has been on Spanish shores for a long time, this month Spain will swap all its terrestrial television channels from SD to HD. From 14th February there will no longer be any SD TV channels available so if you haven’t already, make sure your TV is prepared. If you have an elderly relative with an older television that they are reluctant to part with then you can buy them a decoder or tuner with HD capabilities. This could cost anywhere between €30 and €75 and will update their TV so that they are ready for the change.
Are you ready for some warm weather? January has been a cold and damp month for much of Spain but February is forecast to be much warmer.
According to Aemet, Spain's state meteorological agency Spain will see "unusual weather" in February, and temperatures are expected to be 8 or 10 degrees above normal values for the time of year. In real terms this means temperatures in the late 20s in places like Alicante, Valenica and Seville.
In places like Alicante, Valencia, and Seville, the mercury could even rise into the late-20s. The perfect weather for getting outside and soaking up the sun!
Rent Control In Catalonia
It’s good news for renters in Catalonia as the region is the first in Spain to declare ‘stressed zones’ where authorities can swoop in and have greater control on rental charges. Under new housing regulations the Catalan authorities can freeze rents for between one and three years, and these freezes will be introduced in 140 municipalities this month.
This will impact renters living in major cities such as Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona, as well as the main towns in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, such as Hospitalet de Llobregat, Terrassa, Badalona, Sabadell, Mataró and Santa Coloma de Gramenet, along with Reus near Tarragona.
New Flight Routes
As we approach the busiest summer season airlines will begin introducing new flight routes to and from Spain. Some of the routes that will be introduced in February include:
United Airlines flights from Barcelona to Washington Dulles starting on February 15th 2024.
Binter Canarias flights from Tenerife Norte and Gran Canaria to Madrid-Barajas starting February 1st.
SAS Airline flights from Seville to Stockholm from February 26th.
Elections In Galicia
On 18th February regional elections will be held in Galicia. These are considered pivotal for the upcoming general election. Galicia is historically held by the right wing Partido Popular (PP) party. But there is potential that this could change.
Political backlash following an environmental disaster that has seen millions of plastic pellets wash up on Galician beaches could result in a political loss if the PP lose their absolute majority in the region. With July’s general election pending, any political shift could have massive ramifications.
Farmers to protest in Madrid
If you’re living in or visiting Madrid at the end of the month then you might want to reconsider how you navigate the city. That’s because on 21st February thousands of farmers will protest in Madrid, marching all the way to the gates of the Ministry of Agriculture with as many as 500 tractors in tow. Similar protests in France in January brought whole cities to a stand still.
Why are the farmers protesting? Because they are opposed to the financial and bureaucratic implications that Agenda 2030 is having on farmers. They are also protesting that they have not been included in any government aid schemes, and the financial implications this is having on their livelihoods. Poor harvests and low prices have been hugely detrimental to many farmers in Spain this year.
New Road Taxes in Cartagena
The city of Cartagena in the Murcia region will introduce voluntary payments of the IVTM (Impuesto sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica) tax from the 1st February. The IVTM taxes tourist vehicles, buses, lorries, tractors, trailers and semi-trailers pulled by mechanical traction vehicles, and affects over 150,000 vehicles. If you drive any of these vehicles in the city then this is something you need to be aware of.
Autonomos Tax Deadline Time
Finally, and perhaps most importantly if you’re self employed in Spain, it is time for autonomos (self employed people) living in the country to pay their taxes. The deadline is 20th February and by that time all self employed people in Spain must have submitted Form 111, Form 115, and Form 592. If you’re not familiar with Form 592 then that may be because it is the first year it has been introduced, and this form is for a tax on non-reusable plastic packaging.
You will then have until 29th February to submit Form 280, which is your declaration of any long term savings. Form 303 which is your VAT self-assessment form. And Form 347, which is the annual declaration of operations with third parties for the year 2023.
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