How to Register as a Freelancer or "Autonomo" in Spain
Being self employed as a Freelancer have many advantages. From speed and agility to tax benefits.
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How do I Become a Freelancer in Spain?
Freelancers are known as “Autónomos” in Spain and they are essentially self-employed. All freelancers who move to Spain must register as an autónomo and pay taxes.
You must register as self-employed if:
- You are earning money in Spain and are not employed
- or conducting business through a company
All freelancers who work in Spain must follow the steps below:
Step one: Get a NIE.
Every foreigner coming to Spain needs a personal and unique tax identification number. This is important for all financial and legal activities, including:
- social security payments
- government benefits
NIEs are mandatory for foreigners who want to work in Spain regardless of their country of origin.
Step two: Register with the Spanish Tax Authorities.
It is important to register with the Agencia Tributeria, or “AEAT” to pay Spanish tax on the self-employed work. You will need to explain what type of business you are operating during this process when completing “Form 036”.
There are two options for the self-employed in the Spanish market:
- a freelance professional (professional autónomo)
- or a self-employed entrepreneur (empresario individual)
You will also need to complete “Form 030” to become registered as a resident taxpayer.
Step three: Open a Spanish bank account.
In order to register in the Spanish social security system, you will need a bank account. You typically need your NIE number and proof of identity for this. Opening a business account for professional activity is helpful because it means not having to use funds from a personal account.
It’s essential for Autónomos to have a Spanish bank account. Otherwise, they cannot invoice companies in Spain or work with new companies.
Step four: Join the Spanish social security system.
Registering with the Spanish Tax office is the best way to be eligible for social security benefits. You can register as an autónomo, within 30 days of registering your business. The RETA system offers several items of coverage including sickness and accidents unrelated to work.
Working with a lawyer gives you the best picture when deciding to become self-employed in Spain. They can show benefits like cost of living advantages and your personal income tax rates. It’s also important to get labour law advice to understand your rights and benefits when working in Spain.
All ex-pats and foreigners can become Autonomos they when move to Spain but the process is much easier for European Union citizens.
in order to register as self-employed it is essential to have the Social Security Affiliation Number, since it identifies the citizen in his relations with the Social Security. This identification number is mandatory for any citizen who is a beneficiary of pensions, subsidies or Social Security benefits.
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What are the requirements?
Unlike companies, freelancers aren’t required to create a business plan, have startup capital or have university degrees. To join the freelancer social security system you must already be registered with the social security system. You must also register with the tax authority as a resident taxpayer by completing “Form 303”.
For certain activities, like opening a premises to the public, the local government requires an opening license. This is given to the owner and must be renewed when the business changes.
When you register as an Autonomo you will be included in the “RETA”. This is the programme governing the social security contribution of self-employed workers in Spain. It is different from the system for Spanish companies.
As an Autónomo you must file your taxes every year. It’s important to work with an expert on your tax returns as they can help you secure refunds. Our team has a tax preparation fee that’s designed for Autónomos that are filing their tax return.
Freelancers cannot use Spain’s special regime for taxes, such as the Beckham Law.
Accounting as an Autónomo
Important Things to Remember
- Maintain and issue invoices as a result of its activity.
- Record all expenses related to its activity.
- Account for all investments related to the activity. This cannot be more than €300 during the tax year.
- Get the right tax advice.
Invoices should include:
- Invoice number.
- Date of issuance.
- Your name, NIE and address.
- Holder of the invoice data.
- Description of goods and services.
- Taxable base.
- IVA, or VAT, depending on the service or product offered. This is 4%, 10% or 21%.
- IVA amount.
- IRPF retention to the holder of the invoice, if any.
Quarterly VAT declaration
Freelancers must charge VAT and declare this every quarter to the Agencia Tributaria. They must complete and send a “303 form” in January, April, July and October.
There are some exceptions, like invoices only for businesses abroad. You must pay the quarterly VAT you have collected from your income within 20 days of the end of the month.
Recover VAT charges
Autónomo must keep a register of:
- Invoices received
- Expenditure relating to its activity
It’s important to note that you cannot claim anything without an appropriate invoice.
Quarterly IRPF declarations and the “130/131 form”
When you register as an autónomo and invoice another Spanish Autónomo, you must retain a percentage of the value of the invoice.
This is paid to the Tax Agency as an advance on income tax on behalf of the Autónomo. This can be avoided if greater than 70% of the income is subject to deductions.
How is the social security monthly fee calculated?
After the maximum period of 24m or 36m (when applicable) of reduccions the minimum payment for the minimum Base is 296,6€ / month (for the current year, the minimum base may vary in future years).