Healthplan Spain


When Do You Have To Register Yourself As Self-Employed In Spain? Expat Tips

Embarking on the journey of self-employment in Spain comes with its fair share of challenges. From navigating the registration process to handling invoices and taxes, there can be a lot of confusion. One crucial question that arises is: When exactly do you need to register yourself as self-employed in Spain? This article aims to shed light on this topic and provide clarity for individuals venturing into self-employment.

Understanding Self-Employment Registration in Spain

Becoming an autónomo or self-employed in Spain requires more than simply deciding to work as a freelancer. It entails a formal registration process to ensure your legal status and enable you to issue invoices lawfully. Social Security defines self-employment as engaging in economic activity for profit, on a regular, personal, and direct basis, without being subject to an employment contract.

The Registration Process

To establish yourself as a self-employed individual in Spain, you must register separately with Social Security and the Hacienda (Treasury).

1. Social Security Registration:

Start by completing form/modelo TA.0521/1, which enrols you in the RETA (Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers). This registration makes you a part of the Social Security contribution system, requiring you to pay a monthly fee based on your earnings. These contributions cover essential aspects such as healthcare, sick leave, and maternity and paternity pay.

2. Hacienda (Treasury) Registration:

Next, you need to fill out form/modelo 036, selecting the type of business you intend to conduct. This registration allows you to issue invoices and fulfil tax obligations as a self-employed individual.

Learn more about registering as self-employed autonomo in Spain.

Determining the Registration Timing

The Ministry of Equality and Social Security specifies the timeframe for self-employment registration in Spain. It is crucial to adhere to these guidelines to avoid penalties or fines. Here are the key considerations:

1. Registering Prior to Starting Work:

You have the option to register up to 60 days before commencing your self-employment activities. This approach is beneficial if you have a predetermined start date. For instance, you can register on July 1st, anticipating a start date of September 1st.

2. Registering After Starting Work:

If you begin working as a freelancer before registering, the date of registration will be deemed the first day of the month. Consequently, you will not benefit from discounted fees available for timely registration.

However, it is important to note that after registering with the Hacienda, you have a 30-day timeframe to complete the registration process with the Social Security office. Within these 30 calendar days, you must submit form TA.0521/1 to register with the Social Security office as a self-employed individual. Failure to do so may result in penalties or fines.

If you fail to register as self-employed when required and are discovered, you will be liable to pay all the unpaid contributions from the time you initially began working as a self-employed individual. Additionally, you will incur a 20 percent fine on the outstanding amount, along with accrued interest.

Should you register 90 days after commencing your self-employment, the process becomes slightly different. You will need to submit a special registration request through an application form.

Considering the potential risks and sanctions involved, it is strongly recommended to register as an autónomo either before or on the same day you begin your freelance work. By doing so, you ensure compliance with legal obligations and avoid unnecessary complications. Additionally, remember to complete the registration process with the Social Security office within 30 calendar days after registering with the Hacienda to ensure full compliance.


Understanding the registration timeline for self-employment in Spain is crucial for a smooth transition into the world of freelancing. By adhering to the guidelines and registering promptly, you can establish your legal status, benefit from appropriate fee structures, and mitigate the risk of penalties. Stay informed and proactive to enjoy a successful self-employed journey in Spain.