How to send invoices without being autónomo in Spain (and avoid Treasury fines)


In order to send an invoice for work carried out in Spain, you must either be a registered business, or self-employed (autónomo), although for some people who don’t carry out much work, this can prove expensive. There is actually a way round the rules, in fact, according to the Treasury itself, there are 3 cases in which an invoice can be issued for work carried out without being a self-employed worker.

autonomo in Spain
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Despite the efforts of the Government of Spain and the labour reform of the Ministry of Labour, false self-employment (or falsos autónomos) continues to be a reality in the Spanish labour market. There are numerous companies who illegally exploit workers by forcing them to be registered as self-employed, when they are in fact carrying out duties which should be contracted by the employer, including the hours dedicated to the company.

On the other scale of the spectrum are workers who only carry out a small amount of work for the company, but the firm still insists on them being registered as self-employed. However, if you are genuinely carrying out a small amount of work on behalf of one, or more, companies, you do not always have to have to be registered as autónomo in order to issue an invoice. There are several options by which salaried workers who carry out occasional work can carry it out and issue an invoice without facing fines from the Treasury.

As a general rule, a self-employed worker will not be allowed to invoice if they are not registered in the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers, Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos (RETA) of Social Security. But like every law has its exceptions, there are people who will have the possibility of invoicing some work as a ‘natural person’ when they meet a series of conditions.

What are the situations in which workers are going to invoice without being self-employed?

Although Social Security does not clarify when it can or cannot be done, there are cases in which it is possible for an individual to carry out a job on a timely basis, invoice it as a natural person if they meet the following conditions:

When the activity for which you invoice is not your main work activity.

When the worker cannot have income higher than the Minimum Interprofessional Salary derived from that billing.

As stated in the billing program, there are three options for making invoices without being self-employed and they correspond to the following:

Invoice all the work in a few months:

This option consists of centralising billing by quarters and paying your legal contributions only for those months of self-employment. General concepts will be indicated in the invoices issued so as not to have problems with the Tax Agency.

Being part of billing cooperatives:

One of the best ways to join a common project without being autonomous is through a cooperative. This corresponds to a company in charge of registering and deregistering from Social Security. In the same way, it deals with billing and payroll income with taxes and deductions applied.

Register with the Treasury:

If this option is chosen, it will only be possible to register in the Census of Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Resellers. For them, it is only necessary for the worker to present form 036 or 037, as appropriate. In order to carry it out, you can go to the offices of the Tax Agency or through the Electronic Office of said administration.

What fines can be faced by the worker who invoices and is caught by the Treasury?

From the Treasury they warn that the use of invoices, supporting documents or other false or falsified documents will lead to fines by the Tax Agency. In this case, the fine will represent a percentage greater than 10% of the sanction base to be considered a very serious infraction. In the event that it is less than said 10, the public tax body will consider it a serious infraction. This is stated between articles 191 and 193 of the General Tax Law (LGT).

This information is provided as a guide only. Of course, before embarking on any work activity it is crucial that you obtain current and proper legal advice based on your individual circumstances. Consult with a lawyer or accountant for the most up to date information.

Mark Nolan

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