How is it to work as a self employed in Spain? (autónomo)


How is it to work as a self employed in Spain? Is there a lot of bureaucracy? Is it better or worse than being self-employed in for example Germany? I’m not sure if I should stay for max. 6 months in Spain or fully move there.


These are the answers of Spainguru Facebook group members

“I’ve found it OK so far, I was previously in UK on a regular contract so don’t have anything to compare it to…. The autonomo fees seem similar to what I was paying in National Insurance contributions in the UK….”

“I was self employed in Holland before and now in Spain. Compared to Holland it is a lot more paperwork, less benefits (such as tax deductions for starters), and more expensive (SS and having to have a gestor to manage the paperwork)”

“I have been working in both countries as autónomo as well and taxes were way lower in the Netherlands. However the SS-system has some benefits: any kind of insurance in the Netherlands is much more expensive.”

“A total nightmare!! Avoid if you can. I pay a lot more tax than I did in Holland and €300 extra for social security (and social services you get for it suck, I use a private insurance on the side)”

“I listened to a webinar on this by autonomo Spaniards. The costs were shocking. It’s totally not worth it unless you make a ton of $$ each month. If you’re under $2k a month…not worth it.”

“No problems so far. I do everything with a tax advisor. The time for administration is around 5 min per month for me. Far cheaper than in Germany because you don’t have to pay for health insurance. Just Seguridad Social which is a max. of around 500€ (they changed the law recently). But even that is not much if you compare it to the sum of health insurance you pay in Germany.”

“Ok if coming from Germany, terrible if compared to Eastern Europe. Most of Western Europe have higher tax rates than Spain, Germany has some of the highest taxes in Europe. As such the self employed, particularly high earners pay particularly more”

Working as a self-employed individual in Spain has elicited a range of experiences from various Spainguru Facebook group members, particularly when compared to other countries. Some find the bureaucratic processes and fees manageable, especially with the assistance of a tax advisor, while others highlight the challenges, from increased paperwork to potentially high costs for those not earning a substantial monthly income. It’s notable that some aspects, such as Seguridad Social, might seem more cost-effective compared to systems in other countries like Germany. However, the opinions shared underscore the importance of individual research and possibly seeking professional advice to navigate the Spanish system effectively. Deciding between staying for a short duration or relocating permanently should take into account one’s earnings, work nature, and personal comfort with the administrative requirements of Spain.

Related read: “The Beckham Law: how to pay less taxes in Spain as a foreigner in 2023