Autónomo in Spain: How to Be Self-Employed in Spain

Autonomo Spain

Spain is a great place to start a small business, and the country has been ranked as one of the most entrepreneurial in Europe. There are many freelancers in Spain, and many small businesses are started every year in Spain.

What is an Autónomo?

An Autónomo in Spain is someone who works for themselves in Spain. In other words, an Autónomo is a sole proprietor in Spain. This means that they do not have a contract of employment. Instead, the Autónomo is their own boss and is responsible for setting their own hours and making their own profits. While an Autónomo does business independently, it is not the same as the Spanish limited liability company called SL. The main difference is that the Autónomo is responsible for their company’s debts.

SpainDesk makes your company formation easy, fast, and worry-free

Self employed workers

What is needed to become an Autónomo?

Depending on your circumstances, you will need certain documents to become an Autónomo. Below we give an overview of the most common situations.

Spanish Citizens

As a Spanish citizen, you will need the following:

  • NIF number
  • Registration with the tax office
  • Registration with the social security office

E.U. Citizens

As an E.U. citizen, you will need the following.

  • NIE number
  • Registration with the tax office
  • Registration with the social security office

Non-EU Citizens

If you come from outside the EEA/Switzerland, you will need the following:

  • NIE number or TIE card
  • Registration with the tax office
  • Registration with the social security office

Registering as an Autonomo in Spain

How to register with the tax office as an Autónomo?

Every Autónomo must pay Autonomo tax, and they need to register with the Spanish tax office Agencia Tributaria. The tax office is also called the Hacienda and AEAT.

It is required to register the economic activity you will perform as an Autónomo. So that they can charge you with the Economic Activities Tax (Impuesto de Actividades Económicas IAE.

To get registered, one of the things you will need to do is fill in a Spanish tax form (Modelo 037 or Modelo 036). These forms are available at the tax office. You can also register at the tax office by going to the local tax office and requesting the forms.

Completing these Modelo’s will legally confirm that you will have to pay the tax that is required by your economic activity. There could also be other modelo’s involved with your Autonomo registration, e.g. when you are importing alcohol.

Autónomo’s pay tax through their personal income tax in Spain. The amount of tax you will have to pay, as an Autónomo, will depend on the amount of money you make. The personal income tax is a progressive tax, which means that the more money you make, the higher percentage of tax you will have to pay.

If you are not registered for personal income tax in Spain, you must fill in Modelo 030. This form will obligate you to pay personal income tax in Spain.

Annual income tax payments

When you are self-employed in Spain, you will have to do income tax returns. The amount of tax you have to pay as an Autónomo in Spain depends on whether you are considered a tax resident or tax non-resident.

Furthermore, tax rates in Spain differ depending on the province, so the fees vary across the country. According to income earned, residents of Spain are taxed at a rate ranging from 19 to 47 per cent.

The IRNR, or Impuesto Sobre la Renta de No Residentes in Spanish, is the income tax paid by non-residents for tax purposes.

From April until the end of June, all tax residents, including Autónomos, in Spain must file a tax return for the previous year. The tax return is known as the declaración de la renta.

VAT tax

When you’re an Autónomo, you must pay VAT tax in Spain, just like when you run a business. In Spain, the vat tax is known as IVA. The VAT rate is 21 per cent. The rates for certain goods or services are 10% and 4%. Even if freelancers provide services outside of Spain, the VAT applies to all their work.

Freelancers are required to submit a quarterly tax return and pay any outstanding amounts. The quarterly VAT return, known as Modelo 303, is used for this purpose. You must still submit it even if you have nothing to declare.

Tax returns for autonomo's

How does the social security contributions work?

As an Autónomo, you are obligated to pay for social security contributions. The contributions you pay as a self-employed in Spain will give you access to this system.

The social security system in Spain

The public system in Spain is excellent, and it is one of the most developed systems in Europe. The plan covers a wide range of costs, including illness, retirement, maternity, paternity, work accidents, and unemployment.

Cost of social security as an Autonomo in Spain

The minimum quota for 2021 has increased to 67 and 289 euros per month. At the same time, the maximum fee has reached 998 and 1,245 euros per month in 2021. The range comes from discounts in the first months of starting as an Autónomo.

The more you pay, the more you receive when you retire or if you fall ill. A person who is sick at work and pays the minimum amount would get 18 and 23 euros per day. If he paid the maximum contribution, he gets between 80 and 100 euros.

Autonomo social security payments

Social security payments for Autónomo’s are made on a monthly basis. The social security office will send you an invoice for the social security contributions you have to pay. You can also find this information online on the website of Social Security Treasury. If you work with an accountant in Spain, they will help you with the monthly payments.

How to register with the social security office?

To be eligible to enrol in the Autonomo social security system (RETA), you must have a social security number. If you don’t have your Social Security number in Spain, you are obligated to get one. As an Autónomo, you will have to sign up at the General Treasury of the Social Security. You must register at sede.seg-social as a person that is an owner of an Autónomo. Registration is done through the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers. Next to this, the company must register at the social security office with the associated Economic Activity of the company, in order to affiliate itself with the registered person.

Social security is tax-deductible

Any RETA payments are tax-deductible. This means that you can deduct any social security payments you have to pay from your Autónomo tax. So if you make any money, you can easily nullify any social security payments.

tax returns for self employed

Frequently asked questions about freelancing in Spain

Below you can find some of the most Frequently Asked Questions when it comes to freelancing in Spain

Can I work for a Spanish company as a freelancer from another company?

Yes, you can. You can work for a Spanish company as a freelancer from another company. However, if you pass a threshold of income, you will have to pay taxes in Spain as well.

Do I need an accountant?

It is recommended that you have an accountant to help with your taxes and social security payments. However, it is not obligatory. Our team of accountants is ready to assist you if you choose. Learn more about our accountant services in Spain.

Do I need to pay social security if I receive no income?

Yes, you will have to pay social security, even if you receive no income. However, you can stop your Autonomo registration when you have no income. If this happens, you don’t have to keep paying your social security.

Can you help me with registering as an Autonomo?

Yes, we can help you with registering as an Autonomo. We have a full company formation service that can help you with everything from setting up your Autonomo to getting your social security and tax numbers.

Do I need a bank account?

While you don’t need a bank account, you will benefit from having one. It is recommended that you have a bank account to receive any money that might come your way. When you are using an accountant, a separate bank accountant is also recommended, as you will need to keep your accounts separated.

How strict is the agencia tributaria?

The Spanish tax authority is strict when it comes to paying your taxes. Make sure that you pay them on time and always keep receipts to prove any transactions.

When is it wise to create a limited liability company?

If you require any borrowing for your business, creating a limited liability company is wise. Also, around the threshold of 60.000 euros, the company is cheaper to operate than the self-employed company in Spain because of taxes.

The most common Spanish limited company is the Sociedad Limitada or S.L., the minimum shareholder requirement is 3.000 euros.

Setting up a limited liability company is more complex than Autónomo in Spain. It includes bylaws, different company registries, and a notary. When you have a limited liability company in Spain, you will also have more obligations.

We can take care of these for you, so you can run your business without any worries. Contact us for a quote on these services.

How to become an autónomo workers and be self-employed in Spain

Do I get a certificate when I become an Autónomo?

Yes, you will get a certificate from the government when you become an Autónomo. This certificate is proof that you are self-employed, and it is essential to keep it safe as you will need it when you file your taxes.

What are the benefits of being an Autónomo?

There are many reasons why you might be considering starting your own business in this country, but before we get into those, here’s some information about what it takes to start a company in Spain. A summed up list is as follows:

  • Being your own boss
  • Flexibility with your time
  • Work from home
  • Work for multiple companies at the same time
  • The social security system in Spain is very good

Can I also get private health insurance instead of the social security regime?

No, you cannot. If you are Autónomo in Spain, you will need to pay into the social security regime. You can still have private health insurance if you prefer this, but you will need to pay into the RETA of Spain.

Is the registration process difficult for Autonomo’s?

Company formation professionals often do the registration process for Autonomo’s in Spain because the process is complicated and tedious. The process includes filling several Spanish documents and an appointment for identification numbers and registrations at the social security and tax offices.

If you are unfamiliar with Spanish, it is faster, recommended, and easier to use a company formation service since they will ensure that all documents are filled correct.

What are the most common small business jobs in Spain?

Popular jobs that the self-employed in Spain have are marketing and communication, design, web development, writing and translation, personal assistant, business consultant. But you can also find bar owners, gastronomy owners, commercial agents and other professions.

Autonomo in Spain

A word from SpainDesk

We hope you enjoyed reading about the basics of being an Autónomo in Spain. Being self-employed or running a business is not easy to do alone. Our Autonomo registration services in Spain will help you get all of the paperwork and registrations done quickly and correctly so that you can focus on your business. We also offer other services such as property purchase guidance, personal tax advice/returns, and corporate law advice. With this, we hope to improve your stay in Spain. If you are interested in our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and one of our consultants will get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: Information on this page may be incomplete or outdated. Under no circumstances should the information listed be considered professional legal advice. We highly recommend seeking guidance from a legal expert if you lack extensive knowledge or experience dealing with any of the procedures outlined in these articles.

SpainDesk makes your company formation easy, fast, and worry-free