How to start your company in Spain? As opposed to some other EU countries, creating your own company in Spain is no easy task. You’ll need determination and perseverance and, ideally, some professional help. The process for setting up a company can be broken down into simple steps, however, it is advisable to be assisted by a professional advisor to avoid delays and pitfalls. Let us walk you through a list of 10 steps to give you a feeling for the process involved.
Disclaimer:The information contained herein is of a general nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Applicability of the information to specific situations should be determined through consultation with our tax or legal advisors for your individual case.
10 Steps to start your company in Spain
Get shareholder tax identification numbers
To perform any legal or economic transaction in Spain, you or your company will need to have a tax identification number. This can be a Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) or a Número de Identificación Fiscal (NIF, or CIF (old name)). The process of getting an NIE or NIF might take some time depending on your country of origin, layers, the number of shareholders involved, translations and legalisations etc… We do advise you to plan ahead and start the process on time.
Define type of company and governance
It’s important to decide what type of company fits best to your objectives:
- private limited company
- public limited company
- general partnership
- non-profit foundation
- branch office
A second important aspect to consider is who the shareholders will be and how the company is going to be governed:
- A sole director
- joint directors
- a board of directors, with either full, shared, or limited powers.
Decide on the company name and brand
For the official company name, you will need to prepare a list of five options of names to be registered in the Registro Mercantil Central. The Registro Mercantil Central will then check their availabilities, this process usually takes a couple of days. Also, if you are launching a product or service under a different brand name, you should consider registering a trademark in Spain or in the European Union and reserve the corresponding domains for websites and social media platforms to avoid any confusion.
Prepare company statutes, bylaws and deed of incorporation
The deed of incorporation defines for example the company’s location, its activities, the date of start of operations, the capital, its shareholders, and the directors administrating the company. In the statutes, things like the government of the company, its decision-making processes, rules for share transfers and profit distribution will be defined. If your needs fall within the standard statutes defined by the Spanish administration, a fast-track process is available through authorized entities called PAE that have access to the online CIRCE platform.
Start your company in Spain: open a bank account
Once you establish your company in Spain, you will also need to open a bank account for the company in a Spanish bank. Once your company has a registered name you can open a bank account. First, to activate the account, the company will have to be registered in the trade register. Note that the Spanish tax agency and social security services only work with certain banks, you can find more details here. The process of opening a bank account can be slow and bureaucratic.
Sign before the public notary
Once we have elaborated the company’s statutes and deed of incorporation, the constitution of the company will be signed before a public notary. The necessary documentation to present then, are identification, NIE or NIF of all shareholders and directors, company bank account certificate, name certificate from the trade register, company statutes and bylaws. BCN Business Services can help you to arrange an appointment with a trusted English-speaking notary and will prepare all documentation. All founding members of the company must be physically present to sign the deed of incorporation or it can also be done through a power of attorney.
Obtain the company’s fiscal identification number (NIF)
Now that the Deed of Incorporation has been signed, the next step is to request a fiscal identification number for the company from the Spanish tax agency (AEAT). Once this has been assigned, in a matter of days you can start your activity. In Spain, the fiscal identification number also serves as the company identification number and VAT number at the same time.
Inscription trade register
Meanwhile, you need to present the Deed of Incorporation to the Trade Register for inscription, which takes approximately three weeks. The incorporation of the company will also be published in the BORME (official public bulletin board). Once the registration has been done, the company’s bank account can be activated and a digital certificate for the company can be requested. This certificate is absolutely necessary as all interaction with the Spanish authorities is digital and online.
Registration tax agency census
Finally, to start the company’s economic activity, the start date of operations, the classification of activities and company locations need to be communicated to the Spanish tax agency, as well as the different fiscal obligations that are to be fulfilled. The start date communicated marks the start of the requirement to keep the company’s activities in a recognized accounting system and to comply with the monthly, quarterly, and annual tax declarations. Registration for digital communication with the tax agency is obligatory and has to be established through the DEHU system.
Start your company in Spain: Corporate Social Security Number
If you are hiring employees, you must request an employer social security number (CCC) from the local social security office (TGSS). The process to get this number takes a couple of days but needs to be obtained before hiring any staff. Any employees need to have a residence and work permit and a Spanish social security number (NAF) before they can be employed.
About BCN Business Services
BCN Business Services is an English-speaking consultancy firm supporting international companies, investors, and entrepreneurs in Spain. BCNBS offers a full range of legal, tax and payroll services that cover all essential administrative business needs for setting up and running representations, subsidiaries, or Spanish limited companies.
When running a company, you should focus on what matters most and have the peace of mind that everything else just works. That is where BCNBS comes in.
They specialise in setting up and supporting Spanish companies with international shareholders. Their goal is to provide clarity in a complex bureaucratic environment with different laws, languages, and cultures and to satisfy expectations in terms of speed, transparency, and quality of service.
BCNBS is in charge of all legal, fiscal, and social obligations for setting up and running a limited company in Spain. To ensure fast and effective service, they work 100% paperless and use cloud technology connected to chambers of commerce, mercantile, property registers, banks, tax authorities and social security services.
Optimize your time and resources by letting BCN Business Services handle your administrative needs in the most efficient way possible and concentrate on what matters most: Making your business work!
Calle París 162 – 164
08036 Barcelona, Spain