How To Take Part in a Government Auction in Spain

What is a Government Auction? 

It is an auction organized by an official state agency. The assets are usually seizures for non payment of the owner of the asset. The most common assets which have been repossessed are houses, apartments, commercial premises, garages and fincas, however there are also vehicles, cars, motorcycles, trucks and even boats. There are also other types of goods such as jewelry, gold, shares in companies, in fact anything of value that can be redeemed at auction to help repay the debt to the Government department.

Where Can You Find these Government auctions? 

There are several places where you can see public auctions. Organisations such as the Tax Agency (Treasury or AEAT) and the Social Security Treasury are the best known, but there are lesser known agencies and departments such as the Provincial Councils and the Ministry of Interior amongst others.

Where Are The Auctions Held? 

Various departments depending on the Province have different arrangements. In the cas of the Hacienda (AEAT) auctions can also be held online if you apply for a digital certificate.

How Can You Participate In A Tax Agency Auction?

Depending on the agency that hold the auction (Tax Agency, Social Security, Provincials) each way to participate is different, although similar. Here is the procedure of an an auction of the Tax Agency (AEAT).

  1. You must have a NIE number, a digital certificate and a bank account in one of the banks with which the AEAT work with.
  2. If you wish to bid on a property you must first make a deposit before you bid, if you are not the winner your deposit will be returned in full
  3. The deposit is generally 20% of the valuation that the Hacienda has given the said property or item but this can differ from place to place.
  4. Lets say you put a deposit of €200, this will be secured on your account by the banking partner and if you wish you can use that same deposit for any of the auctions you want to participate, in this case in goods valued at a maximum of €1000 being 20% of the price.
  5. There is another mode of buying a property/item, that is “Direct Sale”, it basically means that bids are presented on the day of the auction, the winner being the the greater amount but not all departments eill do this.

Take Part in Person at an Auction

Interested parties should be present at the place, day and time of the advertised Auction.

The auctioneer/official will begin by reading the list of lots and the conditions of the auction. Persons interested in participating may approach the table to register their interest, place the the deposit and be accredited as a bidder. Each person will be assigned a number so that he can place his bids.

With a single deposit you can be credited as a tenderer of several lots at the same auction, provided that its amount covers the amount of the deposit of each of the selected lots, so that if the person is not awarded the first lot he will be automatically accredited as a bidder of the next lot. This is the so called “successive accreditation”

It is also possible to submit a “sealed envelope” prior to the auction stating your willingness to participate in the auction of one or several lots, stating the maximum bid amount accompanied by a check made out to the Public Treasury for the amount of the deposit or the proof of payment to the partner bank. You also need to include a photocopy of your passport.

Once the bidder is submitted and accepted in a sealed envelope, the Bureau will bid on it until it reaches the last bid it can make according to the maximum amount stated. When someone elses bid exceeds your maximum stated amount, the official will inform the Chamber, if by chance you or your representative happens to be present you will be given the opportunity to continue bidding if you wish.

If the Auction Board does not sell the property asset it will agree to hold a 2nd auction at the end of the 1st, the starting price in the 2nd auction will become 75% of the stated price in the 1st auction, it will also update the amount of the deposit being 20% of the new starting price. 

Be aware that those interested in participating in the 2nd auction must have been accredited as bidders at the 1st auction,

If at the end of the auction your bid was not successful you can obtain a refund of the deposit. But if you win the auction the deposit will be retained for entry into the Treasury for payment on account of the auction price, and must enter the difference within 15 business days following the auction or at the time of granting Public deed if it is real estate and this payment method has been accepted in the auction agreement.

How Can You Take Part in an Social Security Auction? 

In social security auctions you cannot participate online, but it can be done by ordinary letter in a non face to face manner.

The one drawback about Social Security auctions compared to those of the Tax Agency is that they don’t supply photos goods, just a brief description.

To submit an offer in a Social Security auction you must send a certified letter to the address indicated in the auctioned asset file, to the attention of “Auctions/Subastas” of the General Treasury of the Social Security.

This letter must contain the following:A photocopy of the ID.

  1. A cheque in the name of the General Treasury of the Social Security (TGSS) with 25% of the stated value of the asset. Again you deposit will be refunded if you are not the successful bidder.
  2. A sealed envelope indicating the auction file number of the asset and if a vehicle the registration number.
  3. Email and telephone number.

This information must arrive at least one day before the auction.