Starting as an autonomo / English-speaking asesor fiscal in Pamplona or Navarra
Thread poster: Georgios Tziakos

Georgios Tziakos  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2011)
English to Greek
+ ...
May 12, 2014

Hello,

I have been planning to become autonomo in Spain and would like some help setting up. I am going to be invoicing clients mostly outside Spain, but potentially some inside it as well. My main questions for now are:

1) Can you be autonomo for a period of time (less than 180 days per year) without being considered resident? I have been reading that you can have a NIE while being non-resident. I know that you don't have to be TAX resident to become autonomo, but what about simple residency?
2) Can you work legally in Spain without being autonomo at all if it's for a short period of time and a relatively low annual income in the country? My main issue is that if I should only declare the income I make in Spain in my home country (as "Income earned in a foreign country"), I will need to have proper documented proof for it. Is there a way to do this without becoming an autonomo?
3) Is the Exemption from autonomo social security calculated strictly per month or per year? I.e. if I make 4000 EUR in 5 months, does that allow me to be exempt from social security contributions (since it's less than the annual 9.034,20 limit), or does the 645,30€ limit per month apply?

I think my questions might need answers from qualified professionals, especially since my Spanish is not good at all and I wouldn't dare go at it alone. I am not quite sure if I should look only for a gestor, for a contable as well, or even an asesor fiscal. Would anyone be as kind as to advise me on this, and maybe suggest someone in the Navarra area (preferrably Pamplona)?

Thank you.

[Edited at 2014-05-12 11:35 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Interesting questions May 12, 2014

Certainly ones that are going to need expert advice from someone who really knows the scene - not a gestor but an asesor, and even then only one who knows about cross-border taxation. I have an asesor but I live full-time in Spain and I'm really not sure he could answer all your questions.

I imagine you're planning on living in Greece for 7 months of the year and Spain for 5 months - is that true? And you're registered as a freelance translator in Greece? If that's true then the obvious way to manage it is for you to invoice all your clients using your Greek address and other details. You have every right to do that, I believe (though take advice from the Greek authorities). You certainly have every right to spend three months in another EU country while invoicing as a registered freelancer of your EU country of residence. Social security would be taken care of from the Greece end, with you using your EHIC card for health problems. I don't know about five months at a time though.

In your point 2, you talk of "Income earned in a foreign country", but that wouldn't be its category. If you're invoicing as a Greece-registered freelancer, then the amounts will be subject to Greek tax and social contribution charges just as during your months in Greece - it doesn't matter that both you and your client are physically outside of Greece.

I'd be careful about earning in Spain and requesting exemption. It's really only meant for very occasional, irregular work, and the authorities here are really, really coming down heavily on non-nationals abusing the system in any way - they've been too lenient for too long and now they're plugging every loophole they can. But again, take advice.


 

Georgios Tziakos  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2011)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indeed May 12, 2014

Thank you so much for the input, Sheila. I am actually not registered in Greece as a freelancer at the moment, and I believe that registering there now would be more impractical than doing so where I plan to spend the rest of the year (at least), and not merely three months.

My idea was to go through this year being fully established in Spain as an autonomo, even if there's still a possibility of moving away from it next year. I think this means my main base of fiscal activity would be Spain, so the social security exemption is not really an option.

I will try to locate an asesor with experience on cross-border freelancing. Any recommendations would be more than welcome!


[Edited at 2014-05-12 11:17 GMT]


 

Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
Some thoughts May 12, 2014

Hi Giorgios,

As Sheila said, you will definitively need to ask an “asesor fiscal” regarding all your questions. I do not know if for the 5-months-period you will need to split your activity up, but my first impression is that it would be easier to handle it all from one country. I have three nationalities and passports and everything, but I handle everything from one place (Spain), since it is the easiest way for me and all three countries are in the EU.

It is OBLIGATORY to pay social security contributions in Spain, even if you gain less than the minimum income ("SMI"). It is in Spanish, but here is one interesting article about it (and about some of the exceptions to this rule):

http://www.ayudaemprende.com/me-doy-de-alta-en-autonomos-si-facturo-menos-del-salario-minimo-interprofesional/

But you really need to speak to an expert and be sure that you have the right answers.

Best regards and good luck

Agnes


[Edited at 2014-05-12 11:19 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I think that's pretty clear May 12, 2014

Georgios Tziakos wrote:
My idea was to go through this year being fully established in Spain as an autonomo, even if there's still a possibility of moving away from it next year. I think this means my main base of fiscal activity would be Spain, so the social security exemption is not really an option.

So, you need to register first, and start paying over 250€ social security plus your asesor's fee per month, and then figure out later what to do for the future.

You don't need to be a Spanish resident at first. I registered as autonomo before I got residency (the green version of the NIE paper called "registro"), in fact it more or less had to be done that way around as my business was what allowed me to gain access to the state systems, and that meant I could actually stay here - in my case, paying for private health insurance etc really wouldn't have been a viable option as it's just too expensive and/or worrying as you get on in life. Nowadays, if you aren't contributing to the Spanish system when you apply for residency then you have to prove that you've got loads of money in the bank AND have private long-term medical insurance AND you have to declare that you will NEVER take a cent from the state coffers. Totally reasonable, but not what most people can afford to do.

You have to take the first, simple, step of obtaining the NIE number itself for just about any administrative action in Spain: renting other than in the tourism sector, buying property, buying a car, opening a bank account, getting a job, having a phone line... but you don't have to convert from non-resident to resident status if you don't stay past 3 months. But precisely what happens after three months is a mystery to me. Fortunately, I've made a clean break every time I've changed country (UK to NL; NL to FR; FR to ES) and that has avoided having to answer the question. Personally, knowing how difficult these EU moves are, I'd do anything to avoid any added complexities. It's already horrendously difficult when you don't understand the language.


 

Dimitri Bountsolas  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:55
Greek to Spanish
+ ...
try to find an "asesor" May 12, 2014

Καλώς ήρθες στην Ισπανία, Γιώργο!

My advice is that you find an asesor fiscal as soon as possible for several reasons:

1- Seguridad Social and Agencia Tributaria are not exchanging information, but they could do it anytime.

2- With the latest Tax regulations and changes it is very easy to make a mistake and end up paying penalties.

Sorry I can't recommend an asesor in Pamplona.

Feel free to ask in Greek from profile if I can help.

Regards, και καλή επιτυχία!

Dimitri Miguel Bountsolas Ferrer






[Editado a las 2014-05-12 16:57 GMT]


 

Georgios Tziakos  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2011)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks, everyone May 12, 2014

Thank you all very much for the invaluable information.

I have already began procedures to get my NIE and register as an autonomo ASAP. If it comes to it, I am considering employing an English-speaking asesor fiscal even from another city/region (although I expect that might pose some extra practical difficulties), so if you have someone to suggest, please PM me or leave a message here so that I will contact you in private.


 

RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Socilal security and sporadic freelancers in Spain May 16, 2014

Agnes Lenkey wrote:

It is OBLIGATORY to pay social security contributions in Spain, even if you gain less than the minimum income ("SMI"). It is in Spanish, but here is one interesting article about it (and about some of the exceptions to this rule):

http://www.ayudaemprende.com/me-doy-de-alta-en-autonomos-si-facturo-menos-del-salario-minimo-interprofesional/


I don't agree with this and IMHO the link you provide doesn't support it. Look at these two pieces from the link you posted:


a falta de otros indicios, si la facturación no supera la cuantía del salario mínimo interprofesional no se percibe habitualidad en el desarrollo de la actividad económica, con lo que no existe la obligación de darse de alta en autónomos.

ayudaemprende.com utiliza estas sentencias para coger pistas: No superar el SMI en la facturación es un indicio de no habitualidad, pero sólo un indicio.

El problema surge porque la Seguridad Social considera obligatorio darse de alta en autónomos independientemente del nivel de ingresos y del tiempo dedicado a esa actividad. Considera habitual tanto al que dedica 50 horas a la semana a su negocio, como al que da unas clases en una academia dos tardes a la semana.

Therefore, if you work two days a week every week you might need to pay the social security contribution (well, in fact, they say you must).

This is does not happen in the case of a freelance translator.

Just below it says this about freelancers:


Caso distinto es el de los freelance o personas que realizan una actividad económica de forma puntual y aislada en el tiempo.

Ponemos el ejemplo de un informático que recibe el encargo de crear una página web en febrero -tiempo de ejecución del trabajo 21 días-, otra en abril -tiempo de ejecución 33 días, otra en noviembre -tiempo de ejecución 18 días- y que la suma de su facturación por las tres acciones asciende a 5.000 €.

En dicho caso nos encontraríamos con una facturación inferior en cómputo anual al SMI , que es 9.034,20 € y junto a ello, tendríamos también una no habitualidad clara pues los periodos de actividad se rompen en función de los encargos. Por ambos motivos consideramos que el informático no tendría la obligación de darse de alta en el RETA, limitándose a su alta y baja en Hacienda tantas veces como encargos recibidos.


That's exactly the case of a low income freelance translator.

Georgios, in any case please, note that Hacienda and Seguridad Social (social security contribution) are two different things.


 


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