Let's start with the basics - what does Autonomo mean? It’s basically a self-employed person or freelancer (profesionales autonomos) but can also cover people operating in small businesses such as a sole trader (empresa individual) or partnership (sociedad civil).
When starting a business or setting up as self employed, Foreigners and Spanish nationals are treated the same, although all expats need a foreigner’s identity number (NIE). In addition to the NIE, non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals may need a freelance visa to enter Spain, and a residence permit to stay and work as a freelancer or self-employed in Spain. They will also need form 036 to get an NIF tax identification number, plus liability insurance or seguro de responsabilidad civil. The actual process to set up as a freelancer or self-employed worker in Spain is relatively straightforward, although can be a time-consuming process but don’t worry we do all the work for you to make it as simple as possible.
You will also be required to register for tax and social security contributions and take out health insurance while working as an autónomo in Spain.Most people starting a small business or setting themselves up in private practice opt to go autonomo because it is the quickest, simplest and cheapest way of registering a business. The most common alternative is the limited company ("Sociedad Limitada" or SL).
Most autonomos have to present quarterly IVA – or value added tax (VAT) – returns and an annual income tax return (I.R.P.F.). Other declarations are frequently applicable on a quarterly and annual basis, depending on what type of work you are doing and other circumstances.
IRPF or personal income tax will be likely at the same rate as everyone else. Every year, you must complete a tax return calculating how much tax you have paid during the year.
In addition, Freelancers and the self-employed in Spain also have to make contributions to the Spanish social security system through the Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos or RETA).