Registering as an Autónomo / Self-employed in Spain

If you are living in Spain and wish to register as self-employed or start your own small business, you need to register as autónomo.  The registration process is relatively straightforward and can be completed online.

This article will cover:

1. What is an autónomo?
2. Who should register as an autónomo?
3. What is required when registering as an autónomo?
4. What do I need to file once I’ve registered as an autónomo?
5. How much tax do I need to pay?
6. Social security payments

1. What is autónomo?

Autónomo is the Spanish term used for the self-employed in Spain. If you register as autónomo, you are legalising your business activities for tax purposes, and registering yourself for the social security regime in Spain.

There are two classifications of autónomo in Spain:
1. Autónomo Empresarial for commercial and trading businesses
2. Autónomo Profesional for professionals and freelancers

2. Who should register as an autónomo?

If you want to be legally acknowledged as self-employed, a freelancer, or want to register your own small business without incorporating a limited company, you should register as an autónomo. If you also want to benefit from certain coverages through the state, such as an entitlement to free public health treatment, you may also wish to register as an autónomo.

3. What is required when registering as an autónomo?
  1. NIE (foreigners’ identity number), and if you are are non-EU resident, a work permit may also be required.
  2. Spanish bank account—tax and social security payments can only be made from a Spanish bank account, foreign bank account payments will not be accepted.
  3. Personal tax registration—you may already be registered for tax, for instance, if you have purchased a property in Spain. If you are unsure, you can send us an email with your NIE number and we can check your status on the Tax Office’s database.

The autónomo registration process consists of two parts: one is registering your business with the Spanish Tax Office (Agencia tributaria) and the second is, registering yourself with the Social Security system (Seguridad social). In addition to this, most businesses, regardless of their level of income are also obliged to register for VAT (IVA in Spain) and will need to charge IVA on their invoices. IVA registration is also included as part of our service.

If you would like us to take care of the registration process for you, please contact us, and we will send you two forms for your completion. Once you supply us with all the information required, your registration will be submitted within 10 working days.

4. What do I need to file once I’ve registered as autónomo?

Income tax returns must be submitted on a quarterly and annual basis. If you are supplying goods or services which are subject to VAT, it is also necessary to file quarterly and annual VAT returns.

For more details read our autónomo tax obligations guide.

5. How much tax do I need to pay?

The tax rates in Spain are charged according to the income earned, varying between 19%-45%. You can find a breakdown of the current income tax rates here.

When submitting your quarterly returns, you will need to make payments on account. At the end of the fiscal year, an annual income tax return ‘Renta’ must also be submitted — this form will finalise your total tax bill for the year.

6. Social security payments

The Seguridad Social payments cover public health care and pensions. If you are registered as an autonomo, you will have to pay the general minimum contribution which is around 275 Euros per month.

However, incentives have been recently introduced for newly registered autónomos, under which the monthly contribution is reduced to 60 Euros per month on commencement, increasing to 141 Euros in months 12-18 and to 198 Euros in months 18-24. For the newly registered autónomos younger than 30 years old the monthly contribution is 198 Euros in months 24-36.

After registration, the Social Security Office will charge the payments automatically to your bank account each month.

Ready to register as an autónomo?

We will be happy to assist you with your Autónomo Registration and quarterly tax returns. To get started, please send an email to

Autónomo de-registration

The process to de-register as an autónomo and stop social security payments can also be done online—please contact us for further assistance.

Related articles:
Autónomo tax obligations: Returns and deadlines
How to claim expenses if you work from home as autónomo