American invoicing in Spain
Thread poster: kcaiazza
kcaiazza
Spanish to English
Dec 28, 2010

Hello,

I am just getting started and have a question.

I am an American but have many clients in Spain. Do I need to have an American business to invoice in Spain - one of my clients is an autonomo and needs invoices from me in order to submit for her taxes. Can she submit an invoice for services from an American? In general I wonder if it is better to open a business or just work freelance? Does this impact international clients in any way?

Many Thanks!
Kate


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
A freelancer can invoice Spanish clients Dec 29, 2010

Spanish clients hire foreign freelance translators all the time. As I understand it from my customers in Spain, the invoice must indicate the client's name, address and NIF (tax ID number). As for your client's ability to deduct the expense: that's something your client will have to figure out on her own. I don't think that needs to be your concern, as long as you're submitting legit invoices.

Moving beyond the issues about this particular client:

Certain Spanish clients may ask you to include your Social Security Number on the invoice or provide it to them by phone or e-mail. I typically refuse. In Spain it's standard practice to write one's DNI number on all sorts of documents, and it takes some explaining to get them to understand that the opposite is true here: that the SSN is considered a very private piece of information in the U.S.

If a client says they need to withhold income tax unless you can prove you're a U.S. resident, you can request the relevant certificate from the IRS by filling out Form 8802 (Application for United States Residency Certification). You'll need an original certificate for each client who requests it. Such requests are relatively rare but they happen.

Suerte...

[Edited at 2010-12-29 00:34 GMT]


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 08:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
invoicing in Spain Dec 29, 2010

If you live in Spain, as your profile states, you must be registered with Hacienda as an "autónoma" in order to issue a legal invoice here, and you must also be registered with Seguridad Social and pay the monthly fee for that. Your invoices will need to include VAT (IVA) and a deduction for IRPF (income tax withholding).

As a Spanish resident, you would be asked to provide your NIE rather than your Social Security number.


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kcaiazza
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
invoicing in Spain Dec 29, 2010

Unfortunately I am not a resident of Spain, so I cannot become an autonomo.

As for including my tax ID number, isn't that just your SSN? I was considering opening a sole proprietorship and my impression was that the company's tax ID would be my SSN. If that is the case, I am not sure if there is any reason to open the business or just work "freelance".

Thanks for your responses and happy new year!
Kate


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Freelance versus business? Dec 30, 2010

kcaiazza wrote:

I am not sure if there is any reason to open the business or just work "freelance".
Kate


I'm not sure what you mean by opening a business. Are you talking about setting up a corporation?

A freelance business *is* a business. Assuming you're a U.S. resident, depending where you live you may have to register that freelance business with your state or municipality (for example, I have a business license from the state of New Jersey), but you don't have to incorporate to have a legitimate business or to invoice clients in Spain.

[Edited at 2010-12-30 21:17 GMT]


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kcaiazza
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Freelance vs. business Jan 3, 2011

Steven,

I live in NY and I was thinking about opening a sole proprietorship, but it doesn't seem necessary based on what you are saying and what other research I have done.

Thanks again for your responses and happy new year!
Kate


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deeptimpact
United States
Need similar help! Jul 7, 2016

I have a client in Barcelona, and my friend/colleague is sort of mediating between us. I am based in the US. I sent them an invoice for my services, and they said it looked OK - but then asked if I could "add IRPF" (Spanish income tax). I have no idea how to do this (after researching a lot) or if it is even necessary. I understand they need some sort of tax information and bank account information, but how do I do that as a US freelancer?

Please help!!!!

Thanks so much
-Tim


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Paulette Romero  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 02:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
EIN Jul 8, 2016

kcaiazza wrote:

Steven,

I live in NY and I was thinking about opening a sole proprietorship, but it doesn't seem necessary based on what you are saying and what other research I have done.

Thanks again for your responses and happy new year!
Kate


I used to live in NYC and you are correct that you do not need to officially set yourself up as a sole proprietorship although you can if you want to. This isn't necessary because the when you are a freelancer the IRS considers that you are already self-employed, BUT you can only do business under your own name. If you want to do business under the name AWESOME TRANSLATIONS NY then you have to register that business.

If you don't want to give out your SSN to all kinds of clients I recommend that you do what I did and request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Anyone can apply for this.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online


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