Questions received from residents living in Spain and answered by Sr. Eugenio P. Sánchez, Legal and Tax Consultant specialised in dealing with European residents in Spain.
See also questions and answers on buying or selling property in Spain.
Q. Should we inform the local authorities of our new residence or can we avoid doing so?
A. You can avoid doing so, but what's the point? Infact registering actually has its benefits. Registering yourself as people who live in Spanish territory means you become exempt from certain fiscal and legal obligations issued by law to be fulfilled by people who do not permanently stay in Spain. Becoming considered by the Local and National Authorities as a "Spanish Citizen" no matter what European nationality you have also means you can use free public and local services which are not accessible to people who come to Spain just for their holiday breaks.
Q. Is it advisable to find a fiscal and legal representative in Spain now that we are living here?
A. Yes! Actually having a fiscal and legal representative in Spain who takes care of any legal and tax matters is very recommendable for several reasons although you are not obliged to do so by Spanish Fiscal Law. It is advisable to use the expertise offered by a professional trained in the laws of the country where you are going whether you plan to run a business in Spain, buy a property, pay property tax, buy a car...Make sure the representative you choose can use your own language (or one you are familiar with) if you do not speak Spanish.
If you want EURORESIDENTES to recommend a reliable service near you,contact us
Q. Does Spanish Law require any special documents before opening a business in your country?
A. The answer to this question is very simple, but it requires following a difficult process due to all the different offices in which that business must be registered (the dreaded Spanish Bureacracy!). Everybody who comes to Spain from a country which belongs the European Union can stay here and start a business without any requirements except two:
1. Register himself/herself and other family members at the Spanish Home Office by presenting the N.I.E. Application form, and;
2. Fulfil all the legal and national obligations issued by the Spanish Authorities depending on the quality and features of the economic activity recently started. Both the Spanish Inland Revenue and the Spanish Social Security and the local Town Hall where that activity is going to be managed must be informed in order to have all the required legal licences to run the activity with no public penalties.
Q. What does N.I.E. mean and where do I get it from?
N.I.E. means Numero de Identificación de Extranjeros. The English translation would be Foreign person's Identification Number. This number is given by the Spanish authorities to substitute the Passport ID for residents in Spain. It is then required in order to register at any public office. So it is vital to get your number as soon as possible. Even apparantly simple things like buying a car and registering it in your name, presenting tax returns or being covered by the National Social Security, require that the applicant have a NIE assigned. To apply for a NIE you need two passport size photographs, an official application form signed by the applicant and a photocopy of the applicant's passport. See also this page on Spanish NIE.
Q. What are the main laws to be taken into account by a European resident coming to live in Spain as far as tax liabilities and obligations are concerned?
A. The Spanish Government has agreed Fiscal International Treatments over the past years with all EU countries and many non-EU states affecting National Tax Legislation. This fact really means that the effective legislation which affects someone who comes from abroad and stays in Spain for good will be the one agreed by both nations, just in case of different arguments between national and international laws. Basically, these treatments have been agreed in order to avoid the double taxation on the same income; so that, each source of payments has to be analysed in order to consider it taxable or non taxable in Spanish territory