Your Business in Spain: if you are a EU citizen, you can work and start a business in Spain under the same conditions as the Spaniards, since January 1, 1992. You still need to get the tarjeta comunitaria, the “community card”, which is a work and residence document.
The fees for this card range from € 150,- to € 300,- and it is € 180,- for starting your own business. When you are a EU worker, Spain cannot refuse a residence or work permit to any of your family members, even if they are non-EU.
All of these rights are specified in EU Regulation 1612/68. Employees require a work permit called cuenta ajena, which means “on another person’s account”. Those starting on a self-employed basis need another sort of permit, called autonomo, or cuenta propia, “on your own account”.
It is best to use a gestoría or a lawyer to do all the paperwork. This will cost you some more money, but it is worth it, especially when you are starting a business.
If your Spanish is reasonable, you can do it yourself. Obtain the forms from your local police station or Delegación de Trabajo, fill them out and wait to see what happens.
All in all the costs are quite high, as you have to pay your first month to the social security, the tax and the IAE, (Impuesto de Actividades Economicas) or business license.
When you employ other people you will have to put them into the social security system and pay them at least the minimum wages (salario mínimo interprofesional). The law also stipulates a 40-hour working week.
There are a lot of rules in regards to contracts, time off, extra payments, etc. It is best to ask your accountant to look into all these matters prior to employing somebody, as you could get fined by he government, or taken to court by a former employee, because he has been working under a indefinite contract. Do remember that the employee is extremely well protected in Spain.
Too many foreigners who want to start businesses on Spain’s booming Costas find they fall into traps which could easily be avoided with professional advice.
For example, they sometimes pay large sums for leaseholds which turn out to be simply rentals, to which they have no further rights.
A simple consultation and vetting of contracts can save money and problems. The maze of permits and documentation necessary to open a business on the Costa del Sol drives even Spaniards crazy and very few of them attempt to obtain their Opening Licence on their own.
Most of them use professionals who know when to go to which window in order to get the right paper at the right time.