How to become a Freelancer in Spain

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There are two places which require registration, prior to starting your new venture as a freelancer or self-employed person (autónomo) in Spain.

  • Agencia Tributaria, also known as Hacienda (Spanish Tax Authority).
  • Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social (Spanish Social Security System).

Registering your Business

First, you must sign up for the Impuesto Sobre Actividades Económicas – IAE (Tax on Economic Activities) with the Tax Agency responsible for your area. You can find the contact details of your local office through the Agencia Tributaria, and appointments can be booked online by clicking here. The website also has an English version, which makes it more user-friendly if you are new to Spain.

On the day of your appointment, you will be asked to complete the Modelo 036/037, known as the Declaración censal, and will be provided with a Personal Tax Certificate (Impuesto Sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas/IRPF).

There are two types of autónomo: commercial and trading businesses (autónomo empresarial) and professionals or freelancers (autónomo profesional). Within these broad classifications, there are individual sub-classifications, depending on the type of business or professional activity being undertaken. The Tax Agency and Social Security offices both have their own classification systems. Many prospective self-employed people could choose which classification they are to be in, and these can have some important effects on the timing and structure of tax payments.

Social Security and Health Insurance for Autónomos in Spain

After registering your business with Hacienda, you have 30 days to contact the Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social to inform them of your status as a self-employed person in Spain. All autónomos must register with the Spanish social security system under the Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos or RETA).

The following documents are required:

  • Passport copy.
  • NIE number.
  • IRPF form.
  • Modelo 036/037.
  • Duly filled in and signed application form.

You may also be required to present a certificate from your town hall confirming your registration, known as the Certificado de Empadronamiento.

Prior to any appointment, it is highly recommended to always double-check with your lawyer or tax advisor what documents are needed for the application/registration, as regulations tend to change often.

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