Self-employment

Becoming Self-Employed in Spain

Autónomo Guidance

The task of becoming self-employed in Spain can be daunting. A lack of understanding of how official processes work, the paperwork required, the jargon, what steps need to be taken and how to do it, both legally and correctly, takes a lot of research and reading, preferably in Spanish, to fully grasp the process. Over the next few posts, I will explain the three important steps to launching your own career, and becoming self-employed in Spain, outlined below:

Step 1: Obtaining a ‘certificado digital’ (digital certificate)

What is a ‘certificado digital’?

A ‘certificado digital’ is, in it’s simplest form, an access key which you download onto your PC or laptop which verifies your identity so that you can access procedures online without having to physically present yourself at the tax office or social security office.

Note: It is not obligatory to obtain this in order to become self-employed, but it will certainly help you and your accountant (gestor) to process various transactions (e.g. tax returns, registering as self-employed in the social security system) without having to make a visit to the official office each time.

The ‘certificado digital’ can be downloaded from this website.

Once you have installed the software on your computer or laptop, you will then need to make an appointment (cita previa) with your local tax office for the digital certificate to be verified.

You can make an appointment using this link. Once you have signed in with your DNI/NIE and last name, select the following option:

Gestión Censal y acreditación certificado digital > Apoderamientos. Acreditación Certificado digital FNMT.NEO. Personas Físicas

Select which office you would like to attend; the first option is for the one closest to your home address or the second option, you will need to enter a specific post code to locate.

Select the day and time and submit the request. You will be required to take your identity documents and a copy of the email that you should have received, during the certificate request process, from the FNMT containing the code for the verification of your request.

Step 2: Registering as self-employed with the Hacienda / Agencia Tributaria (Tax Office in Spain)

What does this step entail?

This process in Spanish is the ‘alta en el censal’ and needs to be processed at your local Agencia Tributaria office using either Form 036 or 037 (Modelo 036 / 037), your passport and your NIE.

If you are going to be sending invoices to companies or individuals outside of Spain, you will need to complete Form 036 and specifically, box number 582 will need to be mark for you to be added to the ROI (Registro de Operadores Intracomunitarios). This will enable you to obtain a European VAT number.

You can make an appointment using this link. Once you have signed in with your DNI/NIE and last name, select the following option:

Gestión Censal y acreditación certificado digital > 036/037. IAE. NIF. Etiquetas y cambio de domicilio.

Select which office you would like to attend; the first option is for the one closest to your home address or the second option, you will need to enter a specific post code to locate.

Select the day and time and submit the request.

Step 3: Registering as self-employed in the Social Security system

What does this mean?

In addition to registering as self-employed for tax purposes, you will also need to register as self-employed regarding your social security contributions. This step can be processed online if you have the ‘certificado digital’ by selecting the “Alta en RETA” on this page.

If you have any queries about completing the steps mentioned in this process or you require language assistance to complete this process, feel free to send me a message using the Contact Form available.