How to set up business as a sole trader/sole proprietor in Spain..

There is no minimum financial investment when establishing oneself as self-employed in Spain. There is unlimited liability and the person is responsible for all debts incurred. Before setting up as an autónomo, it is necessary to obtain an NIE. Non-EU citizens will need to apply for a combined self-employment work and residence visa as well.

Anybody who wishes to work as self-employed, regardless of their nationality, will then need to carry out the following steps:

  • Register to pay IAE (Impuesto de Actividades Económicas)
  • Register a declaration for starting a business (Declaración Censal de Inicio de Actividad) – this can be done at the tax office (Delegación de Hacienda)
  • Register for social security within 30 days of registering to pay IAE

Once registered for social security, the self-employed worker will need to make monthly payments into the self-employed persons system, known as the RETA (Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos). This must be paid even if the person has had no income or is on sick leave or maternity leave.

  • For examples of minimum and maximum amounts that may be paid under this system: Click here (in Spanish)