Being your own boss in Spain


Setting up a business in Spain has long been the dream of many an expat. However, the recent economic downturn may have put many prospective business owners off establishing themselves in the country.

If you do your homework and choose your industry carefully, you could be part of the current startup movement taking place.

EU citizens can set up a for-profit business in Spain without restrictions once they have received their NIE number. Non-EU citizens on the other hand not only have to obtain work and residency permits but also provide evidence that they have the capital required to set up their business and that it will provide employment opportunities for Spanish people.

If you are looking to set up your own company in Spain, it may be worth considering registering with the authorities as self-employed (autonomo). It can be an easier and cheaper alternative to registering as a limited or ‘SL’ company, however, whether this is possible will depend on the size of business you are starting.

In order to establish yourself as self-employed in Spain, you must register at your local tax office or Hacienda with the details of the type of business you are setting up and your NIE number. Depending on the type of business you are starting you may be required to provide further tax documents, as different industries have different requirements.

Although it is not necessary, it is advisable to employ a Gestor or business manager to assist during the process of registering as self-employed; tax laws in Spain are regularly subject to change and can render it a complicated process. 

Further reading

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