Understanding Spanish VAT

Learn about how to maintain tax compliance when doing business in Spain

What is a VAT number?

A VAT number in Spain is the tax identification number used to identify individuals or legal entities for tax purposes. The “Número de Identificación Fiscal”, or NIF for short, is a unique and official number that can be traced to check its authenticity and, therefore, whether a person or entity in a business relationship is trustworthy. 

Moreover, all foreign companies are required to have a Tax Identification Number to operate in any way throughout Spain, whether the intention is to open a corporate bank account in the country or sign a lease agreement.

How can a lawyer help me?

All administrative and legal procedures in Spain will have some specialities when there is a foreign or international element involved. The processes or requirements which are commonplace elsewhere can be different in Spain, which makes it challenging for third-country nationals who are in the country or planning to do business in Spain. Many of these particularities get lost in translation and may be overlooked by ex-pats and  foreigners. This will make ordinary and standard processes much more complex and challenging. But don’t worry, our team of corporate lawyers are here to help and simplify the way you do business.

¨We will be with you each step of your journey.¨

– Immigration Team

What are the requirements?

For companies:

1. The company will need a Certificate of Good Standing or Company Data document from the registry of companies or fiscal/revenue authority of the country where the company is domiciled, stating the following:

  • Legal name of the company
  • Legal address of the company
  • Nationality of the company
  • Date of formation and registration
  • The company exists
  • The company’s corporate or tax ID number
  • Company’s representatives:
      • Name of the legal representatives. These are the individuals who are legally-bound to the company

      • Name of the representatives in Spain, if any

This document will also need to be legalised in the country of issue and apostilled if the country is part of the Hague Convention.

2. The applicant will need to provide their NIE number or DNI is a Spanish national.

3. If the applicant isn’t a legal representative of the company, then they would need to the legal representative to grant Power of Attorney  and provide a legalized copy of the representative’s passport and NIE number.

4. Written application for the NIF must signed by the person acting as the company’s representative. The applicant will also be required to provide:  ID card or any document with their NIF.

5. Power of Attorney. Will be enough the document specified in point 2.A above, if the document already certifies this representation.

In the event that any documents to be provided are not in Spanish, they will need to be translated by a Sworn Translator in Spain. This will be required by the tax agency.

Process of getting a VAT Number

The NIF for a foreign legal entity must be requested before the Spanish Tax Agency prior to obtaining an appointment. Obtaining a NIE number of the company’s legal representative is a very important step because it’s required to request an appointment.

The applicant must attend the appointment with all the correct documentation and the corporate law team at Lexidy can ensure that the paperwork is all in order.

The hardest part of the process is making sure all the documentation proper and correct. This means considering what documents must be legalised, or apostilled, and those that require a sworn translation. 

For this reason it is always best to work with an experienced lawyer who knows the bureaucracy in Spain and how to navigate it. They can complete the entire process for you via Power of Attorney and also adviseon whether the company’s Good Standing or Company Data document is valid.

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