The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting A Business in Spain

Image 7Starting a business is a risk no matter where you are, with many different factors to consider in all accounts.  While Spain is currently in deep economic difficulty, it can be the perfect country to live in if you are set with a source of income—to many American emigrants, this means setting up a company overseas.  Despite an unstable economy, resources such as real estate and labor are plentiful in Spain, and somebody with the right business module and set of skills is fully capable of starting a successful enterprise.  But before you embark on setting up a company, here are a few key questions you might want to look into.

Am I Eligible?  Citizens of the EU can set up a business as long as they have an NIE number, a sort of Spanish social security number.  However, it can get a little more tricky for citizens of non-EU countries.  You will have to obtain the proper visa, work permit, and proof that your company will actively employ Spanish citizens.

What Business Structures Are Common in Spain?  The same ones that you would expect in an English-speaking country: Sole Trader Companies, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Public Limited Companies, and Co-ownerships are some of the usual forms of businesses.

Where Can I Apply For a License?  Register your business in the town hall of where you intend to set it up.  Then you can apply for an opening license (licencia de aperture,) and define the purpose and plan of your business.

Image 6How Can I Navigate the Spanish Bureaucracy?  One of the biggest problems you will face as you start up your business in Spain is with the bureaucracy—it is obtuse and time-consuming at best, and can mean a lot of frustration and setbacks to the owner of a new business.  Do yourself a favor and hire a gestor, Spain’s answer to the accountant for their legal bureaucracy, to fight through the paperwork and licensing for you.

What Type of Taxes Will I Have To Pay?  You will pay the Spanish IVA tax, and thus have to register with the IVA office and obtain a CIF number for your business.  You will also have to pay social security for yourself as well as your employees, and as such will have to register with the social security office.  A lawyer and accountant can help you through various legal snarls that you may not otherwise have expected.  The good news is that in 15 years you’ll be eligible for a pension!

However you choose to go about starting your own business in Spain, you’re sure to find it a bracing challenge.  Prepare to work hard and be innovative as you adjust to life in a new country.  And, of course, to make your transition as easy as possible, it’s imperative that you learn Spanish.  Get a head start by taking our free online Spanish language level test, or send us an enquiry and we’ll get you started as soon as possible!