UK freelancer invoicing Spain - what do I need to do?
Thread poster: Joanne Maddocks

Joanne Maddocks  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:13
Member (May 2018)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 7, 2017

Hello,

I am straight out of university and I have been offered some work with a company based in Spain. However, I am a little bit lost as the company have told me that I need to be able to 'issue invoices' in order to work with them - what does that mean exactly?

I notice that there are already quite a few posts here about proving that you are a UK tax payer in order to invoice to Spain - is that all I will need to do? Or will I need to provide any further info/register anywhere?

Thank you for any advice. This is all new to me!


 

Joe France
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:13
Member (2016)
French to English
+ ...
See link Nov 7, 2017

Hi Joanne,

Welcome to the wild world of freelancing! When I started out by myself last year, this Proz wiki guide was very useful: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_write_an_invoice - it includes all key necessary details and useful hints, as well as further links to other relevant discussion topics.

You need to be able to issue invoices or else you won't get paid - but they're dead easy to create in Word or Excel or the like. Plenty of templates can be found with a simple Google search or in other ProZ discussion topics.

I've only had one Spain-based client before and it was no different to clients based anywhere else - though I'm far from an expert on Spanish invoicing. The link above is a good starting point, though.


 

Joanne Maddocks  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:13
Member (May 2018)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No special requirements for Spain? Nov 7, 2017

Thank you for the wiki - very useful.

It seems as if I won't need to do anything special to invoice the client in Spain, apart from (maybe) the yearly tax certificate I have seen mentioned in other posts.

Can anyone confirm?


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:13
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Intra-Community VAT number Nov 7, 2017

An important point about invoicing:
The Spanish tax administration requires invoices from other EU countries to include the service-provider's Intra-Community VAT number.
Now, according to the law on VAT in the UK, it is not compulsory to register for VAT unless one's turnover is above £85,000 a year (or some such fairly high figure) and the turnover of many freelance translators is way below that figure, so they don't need to register for VAT in the UK and many don't register. This means that some clients in Spain say that they can't accept invoices without the translator's VAT number.
You can state on your invoices that under the law of the UK you aren't obliged to have a VAT number. Some Spanish clients appear to be happy with that, but others don't.
You need to get this matter cleared up before accepting work for Spanish companies or you could have problems with getting paid.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:13
French to English
Meaning Nov 7, 2017

Joanne Maddocks wrote:
I am straight out of university and I have been offered some work with a company based in Spain. However, I am a little bit lost as the company have told me that I need to be able to 'issue invoices' in order to work with them - what does that mean exactly?


When a client indicates that you need to "be able to issue invoices", it means that you must have a legally registered business structure somewhere. In other words, they are not going to give you work if you are "moonlighting"; you must have a legal set-up. The company is not offering to take you onto the payroll as an employee, but is offering to give you work as a self-employed indiviual: freelancing.

What do you need to do? Above all else, work out if you do actually want to be self-employed. A company can offer you the moon and never send you a single piece of work. if you decide to go ahead and set up in business, if you are not already, then the next step is finding out about the rules 'n' regs you need to satisfy to meet invoicing requirements in the country where your activity is registered. Some clients also require certain things to be noted on invoices they pay. There are a fair number of threads on here that will no doubt come in handy.

Wise advice from Jenny. I am based in France and even though, under French law, the type of business structure I have here means that I am not required/able to be registered for VAT, the French tax authorities are able to issue an EU VAT number. An administrative quirk in terms of logic, but one that does facilitate working with clients beyond national boundaries.
In my view, the UK's approach makes much more sense: not registered for VAT, no reason to have an EU VAT number, right? Still, taht's the way it is and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for those based in the UK to have a bit of a job to convince clients in other countries that no VAT = no EU VAT number. Vive l'Europe!

[Edited at 2017-11-07 10:55 GMT]


 


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UK freelancer invoicing Spain - what do I need to do?

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