Becoming Autonomos SELF EMPLOYED

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Becoming AutonomosBy Ann Hobbs
Nothing in life is simple.  Well, that’s true for most of us and especially if you intend to work for yourself (Autonomos).  It is not just a question of making yourself known, advertising or getting that first job; before you do any of that you need to get registered as a tax payer and initiate social security payments.  For this there are two options; do it yourself or go to an asesoria (accountants) and they will do it for you.
The second is by far the easiest especially if you do not speak Spanish and you can find an asesoria who does speak English. This option will of course cost you a set up fee however, once done they will also process the required returns for you (see below). 
If you prefer to do things yourself then the first option is not as bad as it looks, if you have a grasp of Spanish. If not; it maybe wise to have a translator at hand.
It is not just a matter of completing the appropriate form (Modelo 036) you will also need to decide under which work group you fall, construction, computing, estate agency, finance etc.  The list is endless.  This form is used for a number of things by the Hacienda.  It’s used when you are ready to work (alta) and again if you are sick (baja). It is also used for any amendments that come along.  Therefore, keep copies of each Modelo 036 you complete.  
I will diversify for a moment here.  It is worthwhile to remember to keep a stock of passport size photographs, at least two copies of your NIE, a copy of your passport and a copy of your residencia card (front and back) if you have one. Take these and the originals with you whenever you want to register or apply for something official.  It will save time and you will not be caught out by having to make a second trip.
Back to the Hacienda.  You will receive a copy of your Modelo 036 duly stamped which you should then take the social security office to register for payment into the Spanish system.  The amount of contribution payable varies according to earnings and age.  If you are over 50 you will pay a little more.  As a rough guide most people whatever their age should set aside at least 200 euros a month for social security contributions.
Once you are up and running you will be required to present at least two quarterly returns, one for IVA (VAT) and another (Modelo 130) for your personal tax.  You will be paying your tax in advance based on your income and expenditure from the work you have invoiced to customers. The financial year in Spain as in most European countries runs from the 1st of January to the 31st of December.  This takes in both the IVA returns and the Modelo 130. The quarterly returns are payable by the 20th of the month following the end of the quarter.  So for the quarter January to March the presentation of the returns and any payments due must be made by the 20th April. 
If you have to make a payment for IVA or your tax then this is made at the bank.  Any refund for IVA is held over until all four quarters have been received and not refunded each quarter as in the UK. 
Now this all sounds very daunting but it can be dealt with quite easily.  If you use the services of an asesoria you will merely send them all your paperwork each quarter and they will do the rest.  You just pay the bill at the bank. 
The asesoria will invoice you each quarter for their work which you can offset against your income.  If you are competent at accounts and have knowledge of the Spanish tax system you may choose to do the returns yourself or perhaps you may know someone who will prepare the work for you.  The most important thing is to get it right and to deliver it on time.  Any delays or error can result in a hefty fine.  All returns are your responsibility.    
A final thought - keep things simple.  Have a separate bank account for work and out of this make all your payments and take any income for yourself.  Keep a record of all your transactions.  Make sure all purchases are invoiced to you and have the correct name and NIE number.  Any invoices you make must have your information and those of the customer including their NIE or passport number.
Once you get into the habit of doing these things it will become second nature and your returns will be merely a transfer of information not a panic attack.
If you have any queries about this article or any Money Matters queries contact Ann on 661003324 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you have personal questions for Ann you may contact her via Big Attitude PR on 661757433 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..