• Carlos
    Carlos is a highly qualified and experienced bilingual lawyer with dual US and Spanish citizenship. He has obtained batchelor and masters degrees via attendance at a number of prestigious universities including the Universities of Navarra, Leiden and Cambridge, The Hague Academy of International Law, Holland and the IESE Business School in Barcelona. Carlos specialises in the following areas: International Law, Company Law, Civil Law (Property/Family Matters), Administrative Law and his firm provides accounting services.
    Cases completed: 33
    Testimonials for Carlos
    • Davinder Singh Syan
      Davinder Singh Syan, Switzerland

      Carlos was extremely helpful,he work is also very fast and he have always time for me.


      Mar 27, 2019
    • Philip Glencross
      Philip Glencross, UK

      Carlos was extremely helpful, couldn't have done more. I would definitely recommend him to friends.


      Feb 26, 2019
    • Stephen Owusu Ansah
      Stephen Owusu Ansah, Madrid

      Carlos is a professional and respectful lawyer, he has helped me a lot and with my police clearance...i would like to recommend him to everyone! Thanks.


      Feb 23, 2019

Limited Company or Sole Trader in Spain?

Assuming you have already decided on the type of business you want to run and where in Spain you wish to locate it, then the main decision you will need to make is whether you should set it up as a limited company or as a sole trader.

This can be extremely important as you can save a considerable amount of money depending on which option you choose. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Here we will look at the differences between the two so that you can decide on which is the most appropriate – and cost effective – for your business in Spain.

Sole Trader v Limited Company

Sole trader in Spain are known as ‘autonomos’ and those who are just starting-out and where the income is likely to be low tend to choose this route.

Why?

Mainly because it is less complex and more economical to both set-up and  run. For example, setting-up as an autonomo does not require €3000 of capital as would be the case with a limited company in Spain.

Fiscal Obligations

As in other countries, whether your business is classed as ‘autonomo’ or as a limited company there are a number of fiscal obligations that the owner of a business in Spain will have.

Most businesses will have an obligation to make VAT (in Spain this is called IVA) and Income Tax returns. Of course if you decide to create a limited company then you will also have to make a company tax return (impuesto de sociedades) as well as file the annual accounts with the Company’s Register.

A company will need to retain up to 15% of any invoice presented to it by a professional/autonomo and file a return.

These extra obligations mean that the cost of maintaining the company are higher than where a sole trader is concerned.

Social Security Obligations

As an autonomo or sole trader you will need to register with the local social security office and pay contributions each month. These contributions tend to be significantly higher than in other northern European countries with a current minimum of approximately €250 per month payment, regardless of income.

There are some reductions for those under 30 years of age or a temporary discount for example where the person has been unemployed and has decided to become self-employed.

In the case of a limited company there is an obligation to make social security contributions on behalf of an employee of 24% of their income. Where there are no employees of the company i.e. a single director company then that director must register as an autonomo and pay those social security contributions.

Liability

Just as elsewhere, one of the major differences between the two forms of business is that creating a limited company ensures limited liability to the owner of the company. If as a result of the operation of the company a financial liability should arise, then often this is limited to the amount of capital in the company.

As a matter of law in Spain the minimum level of capital that any company can have at any time is set at €3000 though this is sometiimes disregarded by less scrupulous business owners.

One of the major drawbacks of registering as an autonomo is that you will be personally liable for any debts or losses incurred by your business and any personal assets could be at risk if your business is in financial trouble – either as a result of damages owed to a client or failure to pay due taxes and social security contributions.

Once the most appropriate structure for your business in Spain has been determined you can review the components of each service:

Related 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.

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