VAT tax in Spain

VAT registration
  • Register your foreign company in Spain to receive a nonresident VAT number.
  • Contact us    Learn More

Filing Intrastat declarations
  • Every business that trades goods with other EU countries over a certain amount must file Intrastat reports.
  • Contact us    Learn More

There are several reasons you might want to get a Spanish nonresident VAT number (CIF no residente) for your international company, such as:

  • to acquire shares of a Spanish company
  • to buy properties
  • to claim a VAT refund
  • to import goods into Spain
  • to open a corporate bank account

In order to do any of these, a legal and valid Spanish tax ID is necessary for non-Spanish entities. With our VAT registration service, you receive your Spanish VAT number promptly. Strong Abogados has broad experience obtaining VAT numbers in Spain for international companies.

Links:
EU VAT Registry (VIES)
Agencia Tributaria Spain's tax agency

FAQs:
What is the VAT tax rate in Spain?
Does my Spanish company always need to include VAT tax when billing our clients?
What is VIES?
With an SL, when do I get a refund of the VAT tax I've paid?
My German company is buying in Spain. Can we recover VAT tax paid?
My French company is selling in Spain. Can we avoid having our Spanish clients pay VAT tax?
I operate a shoe company in the USA. We are starting to manufacture our shoes in Spain. Will the VAT automatically be deducted by the Spanish shoe factory, since we are not located in a country that uses the VAT system?
We are a UK company that provides onsite computer server support. We have been asked to undertake this role in Spain. Since we are required to charge VAT locally, we will require an IVA number, right?
We are a Swiss company and we are going to open a call center in Barcelona to serve our European (non-Spanish) clients. Do we need to register for VAT in Spain?
I plan to sell online in Spain. Do I charge Spanish VAT tax?
How can a tourist receive a VAT refund in Spain?

 

What is the VAT tax rate in Spain?

As of September 1, 2012, the general VAT regime in Spain has the standard rate of 21%, with reduced rates of 4% and 10%.

The 10% rate applies to certain goods and services, such as purchase of a newly built properties, hotels and restaurants, health products, and entertainment and sports activities.

The 4% rate applies to goods considered as basic necessities, such as certain food and reading material (newspapers, magazines, books).

For further details about the reduced rates, see this table.

In addition to the general regime, there are special regimes with other VAT rules, such as for travel agencies, antiques, and agricultural and livestock production.

Some professional activities are exempt from VAT, such as financial and insurance institutions and agent commissions, as well as doctor and dentist fees.

In the Canary Islands, a special regime called IGIC is applied, with a standard rate of 7%. A special duty on imports and certain goods in the Canary Islands is also applied. The recent reform introduced a special VAT consolidation regime applicable to corporate groups.

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Does my Spanish company always need to include VAT tax when billing our clients?

You must always charge VAT tax to clients within Spain and to clients outside the EU. You must also charge VAT tax to EU clients, unless:

  • the transaction forms a valid intracommunitary supply between two VIES VAT-registered entities in separate EU member states, or
  • if a service is delivered to another member state that qualifies under the Reverse Charge rule, in which case the VAT registered recipient would have to self account for VAT tax.

It is the nature of the transaction that dictates whether or not VAT should be charged. In the above exceptions, certain administrative details need to be complied with in order to qualify for the VAT exemption. When in doubt, charge VAT.

If you have a client located in another EU country, in some cases you may have to register in that country then charge VAT from that local entity.

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With an SL, when do I get a refund of the VAT tax I've paid?

Your accountant will file VAT forms quarterly. If the VAT tax you've paid is less than the VAT tax you've received, you will be charged immediately for this difference. If it is more, this refund carries over to the next quarter. At the year end, the final balance is made. If the VAT tax you've paid is more than the VAT tax received and you decide not to carry it to next year, then you can receive a refund, though it may take a long time to arrive in your bank account.

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My German company is buying in Spain. Can we recover VAT tax paid?

We would first need to evaluate the nature of your business and the category of purchases you are making. Whether or not you have to pay VAT tax will depend on the circumstances surrounding the nature of your business transaction. In some cases, it may have been incorrect for you to have been charged VAT in the first place.

Where refunds need to be made, we can put this process in motion for you.

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My French company is selling in Spain. Can we avoid having our Spanish clients pay VAT tax?

This all depends on the nature of the goods or services you are delivering into Spain, and also in some circumstances the nature of the transaction with the recipient.

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I operate a shoe company in the USA. We are starting to manufacture our shoes in Spain. Will the VAT automatically be deducted by the Spanish shoe factory, since we are not located in a country that uses the VAT system?

No. Being outside the EU does not exempt your company from paying VAT tax. As an entity, the Spanish factory must include VAT taxes in its invoices because the manufacturing is taking place within EU territory. In order to receive a refund for the VAT tax that you will pay in Spain, your company needs to have a nonresident VAT number.

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We are a UK company that provides onsite computer server support. We have been asked to undertake this role in Spain. Since we are required to charge VAT locally, we will require an IVA number, right?

Since you are providing a service within Spain, you must have a corporate entity in Spain. You can register your UK company as a branch office (resident entity in Spain), or you can create a new company in Spain. If you plan to have a fully functioning office in Spain, then creating an SL usually offers more tax advantages. If you don't plan to have a fixed office (your employees will work at the client premises), then a Spanish branch office may be less expensive overall.

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We are a Swiss company and we are going to open a call center in Barcelona to serve our European (non-Spanish) clients. Do we need to register for VAT in Spain?

If you have a functioning office in Spain, even though your clients are non-Spanish, you must register in Spain as a resident entity (such as a branch or SL). Also, your Spanish company must obtain an employer social security number in order to hire your employees. Keep in mind that Spanish labour laws apply, even if your employees are non-Spanish.

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How can a tourist receive a VAT refund in Spain?

If you are a non-EU visitor to Spain and you spend over 90 euros in a "Tax Free" affiliated store, then ask a person from the store for two copies of the tax refund form, and prepaid envelope. On the day of your departure, present the tax refund form to the customs officials. Have the goods ready for a possible inspection. They stamp the form, then you mail the form. You will receive your refund in the currency of your choice.

The pages in this website refer to procedures for companies only.

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