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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.

All of your legal questions and issues will be handled professionally by our lawyers.

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:


  • employment
  • taxes
  • 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.

Lexidy is a modern, dynamic, and innovative law firm. We always put customers at the center of our work and do our best to give an exceptional experience. Our expertise means we can solve complex problems and cut all the risks before they may happen.

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?

Minimum base for 2022 960,60€ / month
The fee is the resulting amount from applying 30,6% to the minimum base = 293,94€ / month


Initial registration or who have not been registered in Social Security as Self-Employed in the 2 years (or 3, if they have enjoyed the benefit in an earlier period) immediately prior to the date of effect of registration:

Initial reduction:


60€ /month reduction in the first 12 months, if the minimum base is chosen;
Reduction of 80% (on the minimum base contribution) during the first 12 months, if the base chosen is higher than the minimum.


Subsequent reductions (after 12months) on the amount resulting from applying the corresponding rate to the minimum base:
a) 50% reduction during the following 6 months = 147 € fee
b) 30% reduction during the following 3 months =205,8 € fee
c) 30% reduction for the following 3 months = 205,8 € fee


Subsequent reductions (after 24 months) for men under 30 years of age and Women under 35 years of age:


30% discount during the following 12 months of the quota resulting from applying the corresponding rate to the minimum base.

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).

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Lexidy Legal Tech
Based on 455 reviews
Simon Blomfield
Simon Blomfield
10:18 26 Aug 22
Lexidy Law - sucessful Non Lucrative Visa assistanceI employed Lexidy Law to assist with applying for my Non-Lucrative Visa, now granted. I also used them to check my property rental contract.Cristina Vizoso was my legal contact and was highly responsive and reassuring.In the future, I will certainly be using Lexidy to assist with my TIE and to apply for an autonomous Visa. I highly recommend them for all your immigration to Spain needs
Andy Kreek
Andy Kreek
10:14 07 Feb 23
I've worked with Lexidy with various tax and immigration related inquiries, which they have handled well.However, I did have a negative experience regarding obtaining a digital certificate. I engaged Lexidy to obtain a digital certificate, for which they charged 250EUR. As it turns out, the certificate was valid for just one year, which they did not inform me of when they delivered it to me.After I discovered it had expired, I wrote to Lexidy expressing my surprise, but I never received any reply.I then proceeded to follow the process myself to obtain a new digital certificate per the website of the Fabrica Nacional de Mondeda y Timbre to obtain a digital certificate. The process is, in fact, free and (if you speak Spanish) only marginally more complex on my end than engaging Lexidy.On top of it all, the digital certificate I received from the FMNT is valid for 3 years, not 1.
Sam Dale
Sam Dale
11:16 29 Jan 21
Lexidy have been a godsend. As a British freelancer in Spain, I felt uncertain about the wealth of complicated paperwork, especially as my Spanish still needs improvement. Lexidy have been helpful with setting up my status as a freelance, organising my tax information, as well as guiding me on immigration issues due to Brexit. The team has been brilliant, if I ever have an issue or need know something, they will be patient and responsive (very quick) with accurate and useful information. For the services and professionalism they offer, it is very well valued. I plan on using Lexidy for all my legal needs. Highly recommended.
Dan Centinello
Dan Centinello
14:26 19 Nov 20
Let me start by saying that I normally do not write reviews - and I am often skeptical of the authenticity of the ones that are left. However, I feel like this law team has earned it and here's why...I am the type of person who will do endless research & contact several people before making a decision. I did the same when looking for a Spanish law firm that would be able to quickly handle my immigration matters and, most recently, help me with my leasing agreement for my apartment.They are extremely responsive (replying within a couple of hours of my messages) and even after office hours.Maximiliano, in particular, has been exceptional. He put a lot of effort to understand all the details of my situation so he can find the best solution.It was quickly evident that he understands that not all people have the same immigration situation and was going to tailor a solution specific to me.What impressed me most though was how he was thoughtful enough to make sure that his immigration solution did not impact my tax or business situation adversely. His focus on the big picture, while not missing the important small details is one of the main reasons why I felt compelled to write a review.Lastly, Max even made himself available during the time I was crossing the border, just in case I had any issues.With all this being said, I have worked with many lawyers in the past - many simply look for "a solution", but the great lawyers look for the "best solution". Everyone I have interacted with thus far at Lexidy seems to understand the latter. I feel very fortunate to have come across them in my research.I know how stressful it can be, especially when dealing with immigration issues. So, I hope this helps others out there that might be in the same situation I was in.
18:07 17 Sep 20
I would like to explicitly thank Maximiliano Agazzi Paulet for being of tremendous help to myself and to my family. As an American citizen it can be exceedingly difficult to wrestle with the European beaurocratic system let alone in Cataluña in catalan. He accompanied me through the entire process and demistified what seemed insurmountable upon my arrival. I highly recommend anyone who is need of legal advice please seek out Maximiliano as you will not be disappointed

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