It’s a situation that many will recognise… You already have a day job, but someone has asked you to do a one-off task for them. Signing up for the monthly autonomo’s quota of over 270€ seems a little steep, especially as the job in question might even pay less than this! As you’re currently paying your monthly seguridad social in any case, it seems odd that you should have to pay them twice. What options do you have if you want to emit a proper invoice (“factura”) without signing up as self-employed?
According to the way the Spanish tax system works, one thing are social security payments and another thing are tax payments. The two are very different systems with limited communication between them, and it’s technically possible to sign up to pay tax without signing up to pay social security contributions.
Is this legal? This is where Spanish law gets a little hazy. At the moment, there’s currently no proper set of norms regulating this kind of activity, although this is being debated for 2017. If you are already working full-time and paying your social security, and can prove that the work is a one-off job rather than a long-term contribution to your living standards, you have arguments for showing that what you are doing is “alegal” rather than “illegal”. In practice, many people do work odd jobs without signing up to pay the self-employed quota.
Many people cite the “limit” for the amount you can earn without being officially self-employed as 3000€, as above this limit there’s other taxes and forms you’d have to sort out in any case. If you’re earning more than the minimum wage (some 9000€ yearly) from your “odd job”, you might also have some explaining to do. There is some legal precedent of people being let off fines when earning below this level, but no guarantees.
Social security aside, not paying your taxes (VAT/income tax) is definitely illegal and can get you into serious trouble. To make sure you’ve got this covered, you will need to:
- Sign up in the Hacienda as an autonomo
- Declare VAT contributions from what you’ve earned at the end of the trimestre
- Declare IRPF (income tax) in the annual Declaración de la Renta
- Sign off as an autonomo in the Hacienda when you’ve finished (important to remember this!)
Another great option for low earners looking to declare tax in Spain without signing on as self-employed is joining a cooperative (cooperative). You can read more about this here.
Text and photos by Penelope