Register as an autonomo



What is the status and how to register as an Autonomo?

Self-employed status is the Spanish equivalent of a self-employed or freelance worker and also includes persons (without legal personality) exercising small businesses. Anyone carrying out any of these activities is required to legalise these activities and has to register as an autonomo,  payment of taxes and the levying of VAT are included. So the answer to the question “I have to register as self-employed” is usually “Yes” if you are earning money in Spain and are not employed or conduct business through a company.

Anyone who starts a profitable business in Spain (when they are not employees or if they do it through a company) must legalise this situation and register as an Autonomo, do accounting, expenses and taxes.

Steps to register as an Autonomo in Spain:

(i) Register with the Agenzia delle Entrate “AEAT” by filling in the “Form 036” under the item corresponding to the tax on economic activity “IAE” to be developed. To be registered as a resident taxpayer, you must fill in another form, “Form 030”.

(ii) Enrolment in the Spanish social security system

What are the requirements to register as an autonomo?

There are no requirements for showing business plans, capital or demonstrating professional qualifications. Membership of the NETWORK autonomous social security system requires that you are already registered in the social security system and this involves another fairly simple registration process. Similarly, the Tax Authority also expects to be registered as a resident taxpayer, which means completing another form (Form 30).

For certain types of activities (e.g. anyone opening premises to the public) the municipality requires an opening licence. This activity license is granted to the owner, so it must be renewed every time there is a change in the activity on the premises.

When you register as an Autonomo you will be included in the ‘RETA’ which is the scheme governing the social security contribution of self-employed workers in Spain.

Accounting tips

When you register as an Autonomo you must keep a register of:

  • Invoices issued as a result of its activity.
  • Invoices received related to its activity
  • Expenses related to its activity.
  • Investments in goods related to the activity. Accounted for goods of more than € 300 not to be “consumed” in just one fiscal year.

All the invoices that you make when you register as an Autonomo issues must contain the following information:

  • Invoice number
  • Date of issuance
  • Your name, NIE and address
  • Holder of the invoice data
  • Description of goods and services
  • Taxable base
  • Type IVA (VAT) depending on the service/product 4%, 10% or 21%.
  • IVA amount
  • IRPF retention to the holder of the invoice, if any


  • Quarterly VAT declarations to be submitted to the AEAT, presenting the “303 form” in April, July, October and January.
    Each person that wants to register as an Autonomo must charge VAT on its own invoices (there are some exceptions – for example, Autonomous invoice only businesses abroad). In the quarterly returns, VAT must be paid on the amount you have collected from your income within 20 days of the end of the month.

In order to recover the VAT charged on its costs, Autónomo must keep a register of (i) invoices received and (ii) expenditure relating to its activity.

Note that nothing can be claimed without an appropriate invoice, which means an invoice with the above requirements.

IRPF quarterly declarations, presenting the “130/131 form”. This is not necessary if 70% or more of the income is subject to deductions, so you may choose not to file a quarterly tax return.
When you register as an autonomo and want to invoice another Spanish Autónomo professional or another undertaking for its services, the latter must retain a percentage of the value of the invoice to be paid to the Tax Agency as an advance on income tax on behalf of the Autónomo.