The term Autonomo refers to any freelancer or self-employed expatriates including those operating small unincorporated business.

To register as Autonomo means playing by the books as required by the Spanish authorities. Those in entrepreneurship are required to pay IVA also known as VAT regardless of their size.

Autonomo status rules in Spain stipulate that anyone who runs a business including; teaching; IT consultancy or selling products/service online or any other business that bills their clients is obliged to register as Autonomo without compromise.

Whether your autonomo classification falls under Autonomo Profesional or Autonomo Empresarial, registering as an Autonomo makes your life in Spain stress-free in your endeavor.

Tips on registering as Autonomo in Spain

Registering as Autonomo in Spain can only be achieved through two options; Agencia Tributaria/Hacienda and Regimen Especial de Trabajadores Autonomos or RETA.

1. The Agencia Tributaria

The Spanish tax office is known for its uncompromising strictness.

As autonomo, you are expected to declare all your income for taxation purpose, failure to do so can have dire consequences including hefty fines and imprisonment.

The first thing you should consider doing when registering as autonomo is to visit the Hacienda for registration.

While here; you’ll be expected to fill in the Modelo 36 or 37 form for filing purpose. This form is more of a declaration document defining who you really are, kind of business, and residential address among others before agreeing to pay IVA (VAT) to the Spanish tax office.

Of course, there are some exceptions here and there, particularly if you bill companies that are based overseas.

To register with the Agencia Tributaria, you’ll need your NIE or national insurance number for Spain, and passport.

2. Regimen Especial de Trabajadores Autonomos or RETA/ the autonomo social security system

You’ll certainly need an NIE, a valid Spanish bank account and a work permit for non-EU citizens to register as autonomo in Spain.

As expected, you cannot join RETA without registering with the Spanish social security system irrespective of whether you pay IVA/VAT or not. Without social security contributions, you’ll not be eligible for public health services, paid leave, or even pension. Unless you earn below the set minimum wage of €858.60 monthly, you’re needed to pay €275.00 every month.

The good news is that those in self-employment for less than 12 months are only required to pay €50 per month for a year after which figures change to €137 every month for the next 6 months, then €192 monthly for the rest of the 2nd year.


Every autonomo running any kind of entrepreneurship is required to attain all the relevant licenses/certifications/documents from the local town hall.

Remember, all social security payments you make are tax deductible.

In general, you are obligated to file quarterly tax and IVA returns, obtain your autonomo status legally, pay monthly social security rates and keep up with the accounting legal standards of the land without excuses.


Maybe you want to read also –> Obligations of a Self-Empoyed Autonomos


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