living in two countries in a single year
Thread poster: Sp and Fr to En

Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 27, 2016

In theory translators are "location-independent" and can work anywhere that has an internet connection. I am a UK-based translator, and this is a facility I have not used in the last ten years or so, but I am now thinking about spending a few months of the year in Spain. Does anyone know how long I can spend working on my laptop in Spain before the Spanish tax authorities start expecting me to pay them instead of HMRC? And can anyone recommend a tax advisor specialising in such matters, or tell me where (other than a random Google search) would be a good place to start looking for one?
Thanks,

Carlos.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
THey don't need to know. Apr 27, 2016

Sp and Fr to En wrote:

In theory translators are "location-independent" and can work anywhere that has an internet connection. I am a UK-based translator, and this is a facility I have not used in the last ten years or so, but I am now thinking about spending a few months of the year in Spain. Does anyone know how long I can spend working on my laptop in Spain before the Spanish tax authorities start expecting me to pay them instead of HMRC? And can anyone recommend a tax advisor specialising in such matters, or tell me where (other than a random Google search) would be a good place to start looking for one?
Thanks,

Carlos.


There is no reason why the Spanish authorities should even know. If you are resident in the UK for tax purposes, then you are liable for UK tax only.


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Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They usually always find you in the end! Apr 27, 2016

They usually always find you in the end! Especially if you end up buying or renting a property, signing up for broadband etc.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Physical location vs. registered business address Apr 27, 2016

They'll perhaps know where you are, Carlos, but that doesn't change anything until you reach the magic total of 183 days. Past that figure and you would (usually) be regarded as fiscally resident there. In that case you would need to register as an autónomo because you can only be self-employed in your main country of residence. That implies all sorts of things, one of them being forking out at least €250 per month for social security contributions. Less than 183 days in a year out of the UK and you (usually) remain fiscally resident in the UK, with a registered business address in the UK. Just make sure you have a valid address in the UK to use on your invoices. You can still get clients to pay into an account over here - I've kept bank accounts in the UK and France for my clients' use.

Of course, there's also the 90-day rule for staying in another EU country without completing whatever needs to be done for residency. That involves getting a job, setting up as autónomo, or getting private health insurance and proving you are of "independent means". But you can avoid that by nipping back to the UK or even into France every three months or so. Just get a receipt outside the country.

Have a look at the CAB Spain site. It's a voluntary organisation, but they have proper lawyers and accountants who give informed advice rather than gossip. Personally, my experience of those professions locally is not good.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Fiscally resident Apr 27, 2016

I’m Portuguese and I lived in Belgium for a little over 30 years (October 1985-September 2016). Though I visited my country quite often (at least for Christmas, Easter, Summer Holidays and some family birthdays), when in 2008 I decided for family reasons to move back to Portugal, in order to organize everything and to re-adapt myself (30 years is a long time!) I traveled a lot between Belgium and Portugal and lived in the two, but never stayed in either country longer than 90 days (because of the rule already mentioned by Sheila). My clients and the Belgian tax authorities saw no difference... Obviously, now that I’m in Portugal and I don’t plan to move again, the Portuguese tax authorities know that I’m fiscally resident here.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes but Apr 27, 2016

Sp and Fr to En wrote:

They usually always find you in the end! Especially if you end up buying or renting a property, signing up for broadband etc.


Yes but if you do that then you are may appear to be resident in Spain for tax purposes.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
As far as I know, Apr 28, 2016

for my own country and 1-2 others that I studied with the same intent, you pay income tax in a country if you "live there more than half of the year or spend more time there than in any other country". How do they want to prove that, when there are no border controls? But if you own real estate in a country, you will always pay any related taxes there, of course. I suppose you will have to pay local taxes as soon as you hire an apartment, unless it's a "holiday apartment" where you just reimburse them to the owner. I am still lost as to what will happen with the VAT.

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Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone. Apr 28, 2016

Thanks everyone.

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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Company Apr 28, 2016

If you operate through a, say, limited company, your fiscal residency as a private individual becomes irrelevant, except for the purpose of drawing dividends.

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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Anyway Apr 28, 2016

Sp and Fr to En wrote:

In theory translators are "location-independent" and can work anywhere that has an internet connection. I am a UK-based translator, and this is a facility I have not used in the last ten years or so, but I am now thinking about spending a few months of the year in Spain. Does anyone know how long I can spend working on my laptop in Spain before the Spanish tax authorities start expecting me to pay them instead of HMRC? And can anyone recommend a tax advisor specialising in such matters, or tell me where (other than a random Google search) would be a good place to start looking for one?
Thanks,

Carlos.


I don't know if they find you in the end, however law says that if you live 183 days+ 1 in a given country you should apply for residence.


PS sorry Sheila, I see now that you already provided that figure

[Edited at 2016-04-28 18:36 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Tax authorities collaborate; so do banks etc Apr 28, 2016

EvaVer wrote:
How do they want to prove that, when there are no border controls?

Everybody has to be a fiscal resident somewhere and if you have anything in your life that alerts them (rent, bank account, car, Internet etc) then the two tax authorities will talk about you and if there's any grey area they'll ask for proof. Year one you might get away with it; the next year will be a bit more difficult.

I am still lost as to what will happen with the VAT.

VAT status goes with the business, not where we live. As said, if it's a limited company then the two can be quite separate. As a freelancer they can be separate too, but only for a limited time each year. I live in the Canaries and they're not within the VAT scope, so no tax on my invoices. No VAT added if I spend time in mainland Spain either, even though there everyone has to charge VAT, as my invoices would have a Canarian address. I would only change if I moved my fiscal base (maybe not the right term) to the mainland. In that case my invoices would be issued from an address on the mainland and I'd have to register for VAT.

@ Angie: It can't be said too many times It's all very confusing. Each time I move country (UK => NL => FR => ES) it seems as though I'm the first to ever have tried such a complicated thing. And I've done it the "easy" way each time by totally upping sticks rather than trying to live in two places at the same time. I don't envy people who do that.


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