Contact in Spain
Spain: +34 932 20 44 40
UK: 0800 098 8033
US: +1 415 651 8449

Autonomo Spain: An Overview

Many businesses in Spain operate as ‘autonomos’ or ‘sole traders’ and below you will find a quick guide to the typical tax and other fiscal obligations that you will be required to comply with in order to avoid any problems with the taxman or the Social Security office.

Virtually all self-employed people in Spain, especially if they do not have an excellent command of Spanish (and even if they do) hire a professional to manage their fiscal affairs. They will normally handle registration with the relevant government agencies and then manage ongoing fiscal obligations.

There is normally a charge for handling initial registration and then a monthly charge for handling ongoing income tax and VAT returns.

 

Autonomo Spain – Tax Returns

Autonomos (sole-traders) in Spain must make quarterly and annual income tax and VAT (known as IVA in Spain) returns. This will require the maintenance of records of all bills and invoices, with VAT receipts and payments noted separately.

An accountant will then use this information to fill-in the relevant tax and VAT forms before submitting them to the local offices of Hacienda (tax office).

As well as the quarterly income tax and VAT returns, an annual return must be made in respect of both – in the case of VAT at the beginning of the year, before January 31st and in the case of income tax, at the end of June.

For those who are self-employed (as opposed to those who own limited companies) this is the same as the annual personal income tax return that most individuals in Spain must make. If your personal financial circumstances are complex e.g. multiple properties, stocks, shares and other investments then your accountant may charge additionally for assisting you with this annual tax return.

 

Autonomo Spain – Tax Deductions

Those costs and bills that give rise to legitimate tax deductions against income in Spain – as opposed to those which do not – is a subject worthy of a fairly lengthy book. However, as a broad rule, those bills that are necessarily incurred in the operation of a business may typically be deducted.

So, the rental of offices, any employee related costs as well as the purchase and operation of office equipment (assuming that they are related to the operation of the business) may legitimately be deducted from any income before the payment of taxes.

More complex questions can sometimes arise where a telephone or vehicle are used partially for work and partially for personal use. Normally the percentage of the cost relating to work can be deducted but great care must be taken as in some cases the use of a vehicle may not be considered as a suitable deduction.

 

Social Security Obligations

This will cost the typical autonomo or sole-trader around €250 per month. This will entitle a self-employed person to receive health care from the Spanish national health service as well as a pension upon reaching the statutory pensionable age.

Depending on the amount paid, a sole-trader may also receive unemployment benefits should their business become unsustainable. However, this is a complex issue and eligibility will depend on how the business became unsustainable. The amount and quantity of unemployment payments will depend on the number and amount of social security contributions that have been made.

If you are under 30 years of age or have been long term unemployed or are a woman over the prescribed age you may be entitled to a reduction in the monthly payments. This needs to be checked in each particular case.

The payment falls due regardless of whether or how much you are earning from your business. It is paid monthly and so it is not sensible to register on the last day of the month as you will be liable for that months social security contributions even though you are only registered for a single day.

 

Invoicing for Autónomos in Spain

Most people that move to Spain have previously only ever worked as employees which means they have never had experience of having to invoice a client before.

For those that have never issued them before, an invoice is an important document for fiscal purposes and is it may be used in investigations carried out by the revenue officials of Hacienda there are certain legal minimum requirements regarding the information that the invoice must contain:

The invoice must be identified as such and clearly contain the word ‘Factura’ (Invoice in Spanish) without any additions. It must contain the date of emission and the date of carrying-out the activity if different from the date of emission.

The invoices must be numbered consecutively but the starting place or space between each number is irrelevant (001, 002, 003 or 1000, 1005, 1010).

Your fiscal details must be includedNIE number (or CIF if a company), registered address of the business.

Details of the Client – NIE or CIF and registered address. This is unnecessary if the client is not a business or other professional but an end consumer.

Discounts – if any, should be identified.

Base Amount charged – the net amount charged plus the IVA (VAT) including the rate charged.

Total Amount Charged – the previous quantities added together.

Any currency may be used but there must be a conversion into Euros. The invoice may be emitted in any form and there is no requirement for it to be stamped.

So as an example, if you are charging €1000 for a service, you would in fact invoice 1000€ + 18% IVA (VAT) – 15% IRPF (income tax) and therefore expect to receive €1030 (€1000 + €180 – €150 = €1030).

This means that you are effectively paying your tax as you go. At the end of each quarter your tax bill is calculated and any retentions you have already made are deducted from your final tax bill.

You will need also to keep any VAT you charge apart as you are responsible for paying this to the government at the end of each quarter. VAT received is balanced against any VAT paid on products and services required for the running of the business and any positive balance is payable.

 

Pay Local Rates for Quality Local Services

Advocate Abroad is a network of English-speaking professional service providers that have been selected on the basis that they not only have the required experience to provide excellent fiscal support – in English of course – but also because they represent real value for money.

While the service providers at Advocate Abroad all speak excellent English they are typically working with local clients, (rather than exclusively with English-speaking customers) and therefore need to be truly competitive in order to succeed.

This means that when you use a Advocate Abroad accountant or lawyer you will quickly notice that you are paying local rates rather than the premium rates charged to ‘foreigners’ who usually aren’t aware that they are paying premium rates.

 

Review Our Services

  1. Sole Trader Service Package
  2. Limited Company Service Package

 

60 Office Locations Across Spain

With 60 individual office locations throughout the Iberian peninsula and the islands, and 6 specialist tax centres we are able to offer a truly nationwide service to English-speakers wherever they are located in Spain.

 

You may be interested in the following services...

Client testimonials

"Very satisfied with the service provided. Angela is bilingual and speaks English perfectly."

Frederik Otte (Sep 25, 2020)

Limited Company Set-up Service

This service is available across Spain

Location

1Who is this Service for?

Depending on the type and size of the business that you are planning to set-up, a limited company can often be the appropriate choice – for the same reasons as are the case in your home country – flexibility and limited liability.

Note that the bureaucracy associated with incorporating a company and ensuring tax and reporting compliance tend to be rather more complex than in the UK and other Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions.

2What does this service consist of?

  • Ensure legal interests are protected, especially when creating a company with several partners.
  • Drawing-up a notarial contract according to your guidelines, properly prepared and tailored to your objectives.
  • Ensuring that your Articles of Association contain all necessary elements.
  • Make sure that the application is made in accordance with the requirements of the Commercial Companies Code. With the power of attorney you will have granted to us, on your behalf we will register your company at all Government institutions and offices required by law.
  • Applying for company tax and identification numbers.
  • Obtaining all necessary documents, permits and approvals.
  • Dealing with bank formalities connected with setting up of the company bank account.
  • Once completed the registration process, we will draw up all other corporate documents required by the Commercial Companies Code.
Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.
Client testimonials

"Very satisfied with the service provided. Angela is bilingual and speaks English perfectly."

Frederik Otte (Sep 25, 2020)

Register as Autonomo in Spain

This service is available across Spain

Location

1Who is this service for?

Your are focused on your business in Spain which is why you need your tax and accounting matters to be as straightforward, cost-effective and hassle-free as possible.

When you contract Advocate Abroad to register as autonomo in Spain, our English-speaking consultants will take care of all registration and day-to-day issues relating to Spanish tax, social security and accounting matters. Which leaves you with all the time you need to dedicate to your business.

2Regulated Experts

Our consultants are registered and regulated by the local Law Society and/or equivalent Accountancy body, and speak English fluently. Therefore, you can be sure that you will obtain timely answers to any queries you may have, in a language that you understand!

3What does this service consist of?

Our English-speaking consultants will answer your questions about how Spanish law affects your business and then make sure you comply with Spanish legal requirements relating to legally constituting a business. This will normally require at least some of the following services:

  • Registration with the AEAT (Spanish Tax Authority) and the Social Security System
  • Recommendation on the most appropriate fiscal arrangement to ensure taxation levels are optimised
  • Resolution of tax enquiries related to your professional activity
  • Completion and presentation of all required tax returns
  • Maintenance of all legally required records (income, expenses, invoicing,assets)
  • Updates on any legislative changes affecting your professional activity
     

4Fees

This service costs from €60 per calendar month

5Additional Services

The Self-Employed Set-Up and Tax Service is ideal for an individual sole trader who is planning to work alone. But, should you later add employees to your expanding business then you will want to add the Fully Managed HR & Payroll Service:

This service includes the following components:

  • Initial Set-up according to client's requirements
  • Production of Employee Pay slips (printed at client site)
  • Management & Payment of Employer & Employee Social Security Contributions
  • Registration and Removal of Employees from Social Security system

This service costs €25 per month for the first employee and €20 per additional employee.

All prices are ex-IVA (@ 21%).

6Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.
Support services
Client testimonials

"Very satisfied with the service provided. Angela is bilingual and speaks English perfectly."

Frederik Otte (Sep 25, 2020)

Traspaso

This service is available across Spain

Location

1Who is this Service for?

If you are planning to take over a bar, restaurant or other active restaurant or indeed need to arrange premises for the carrying-on of a new business, you may well need to arrange the ‘traspaso’ or transfer of the business and/or premises.

This will allow you to benefit from the existing clientele or area where the premises are located and so begin your business from a privileged position.

The purchaser agrees to make a payment to the existing leaseholder or owner to take-over the business or premises.

2What does this service consist of?

  • Initial discussion with a lawyer to understand the project you have in mind
  • The lawyer will contact the other party to arrange all useful information and documentation possible, including income, taxation, costs, assets, leases, licenses or permits etc
  • Analysis of the information obtained and a report provided to you to determine whether you should proceed
  • Preparation or analysis of contract of ‘traspaso’
  • Following successful transfer of the business or premises, full tax and accounting services as well as any design or architectural/building services required.
Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

Why choose Advocate Abroad?

AdvocateAbroad.com Message
Established more than
10 years ago
Present in 20
European Countries
Over 30,000 client enquiries
successfully managed