Attachment of bank accounts
Attachment of a bank account (whether a current or deposit account) is among the procedures commonly used by government bodies to recover debts (such as overdue taxes, fines or charges, and debts to the Social Security System, etc.) from individuals and legal entities. The attachment order may also be issued as a result of a court ruling following litigation to recover a debt.
You should be aware that certain principles of good banking practices apply in the event your bank account is seized:
Your bank must inform you: as well as the notification you receive from the government body or the court ordering the attachment, your bank must inform you immediately so that you can exercise your legal rights to oppose its enforcement on time.
The bank cannot overdraw your account: The attachment applies to the balance on the account on the date the order is received. Therefore, even if it is insufficient to pay the debt, under no circumstances may the bank leave your account in the red.
Despite the attachment, the account should continue to operate normally: you should still have the unattached balance available for your normal transactions.
Limits have been set as to the amount that may be attached in certain cases: If your wages, salary or pension is paid into the account, the limits set in the Civil Procedure Law must be complied with, and only any amount exceeding the national minimum wage can be attached.
However, if a joint account is attached as a result of another account-holder’s debt, the bank will treat the whole balance as belonging to the debtor. However, if you are adversely affected in this way, you can always file a claim through the courts.
Find out more in our 2020 Complaints Report (in Spanish)