Step one of signing up as self-employed in Spain: take yourself to one of the Hacienda (aka. “Agencia Tributaria”, equivalent of the UK’s “Inland Revenue”)’s physical offices. You can find a list of addresses here. You need to do this before you open a business or start any kind of “economic activity”, or you’ll be subject to fines starting at €150.
Tell the nice man/lady at the desk that you want to sign on as self-employed, and you will be asked to wait for a while before being directed to a desk. Here, you will be asked to complete either the “Modelo 036” form, or the “Modelo 037”, also known as the “declaración censal”. The Modelo 036 seems to be much longer and more complicated, and the vast majority of businesses will only have to fill out the 037. Ask at the Agencia Tributaria if you’re not sure.
You will be directed as to how to fill in the form. Bear the following in mind:
- Epígrafes IAE – This records the type of business you have, so the government knows how much IAE (“Impuesto de Actividades Económicas”) business tax to charge you. Don’t panic – whatever category you put down, you’re exempt from the IAE unless you earn more than €1,000,000. By which point, you’ll probably have enough to pay for your own accountant anyway. This said, getting a proper description of the type of business you have is presumably quite important. I managed to confuse the woman at the desk into giving me a description which was something like “Generic professional”. You’ll find a complete list of the different IAE epigraphs on this government website.
You’ll be asked to sign a few things and fill in a few personal details and then – bang – you’re part of Spain’s self-employed. Time for a cup of cava to celebrate.
At this point, you might also like to consider signing up to get a digital signature to be able to do your tax online in Spain while you’re here.
Step two of signing up as self-employed in Spain requires a trip to the Seguridad Social.
Text and photos by Penelope