NewsCase StudiesEvents

Trading & Legalities in Spain

Also in the news...

Winning Globally: A Playbook for International Expansion Teams

In 2014, the face of global enterprise continues to change rapidly. The signs are everywhere: This year, the fastest-growing economy is expected to be Mongolia’s, at a rate of 15.3 percent.

Do your mail and logistics providers need to be ‘local’ to your country of business?

We work in an ever smaller world. The rise of global supply chains means that, whether your new business is involved in retail or manufacturing, the chances are your regular shipments and deliveries will involve products or parts from a number of different countries and probably continents.

The UK has attracted the most inward investment projects since records began in the 1980s.

Foreign investment projects create highest number of new UK jobs since 2001 Commonwealth Games Business Conference in Glasgow starts this week (22 July 2014)

Latest information for UK exporters on the impact of Russia’s recent intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea on business

The UK government is keeping our economic engagement with Russia under close review. Some bilateral cooperation and trade support activity is being affected

How to Break Into the World's High-Growth Markets

International trade

Trading & Legalities in Spain

Back to News

Trading in a foreign country can become a difficult task. The Spanish market is no exception. Good knowledge of the legal system is needed in order to succeed with your venture.

José Mara de Lorenzo, Managing Partner of Irwin Mitchell Abogados and Partner of Irwin Mitchell in the UK, provides a brief insight for UK businesses into some of the legal considerations when doing business in Spain.

Even in a globalised market, trading in a foreign country can become a difficult task. The Spanish market is no exception. Considering its corporate regulations, protective labour law, changes in the taxation regime and the application of local and national funds, Spain is an attractive market to invest in. However, good knowledge of the legal system is needed in order to succeed with your venture.

The different type of companies and legal forms which you could use to set up your business, include becoming self employed or a Spanish Capital Company.

In most cases, the decision about the legal form depends on the:

  • business type
  • number of employees
  • access to finance
  • licences and the administrative authorisations required to trade
  • legally
  • business turnover and tax implications

Depending on the type of company you opt for, the requirements that should be complied with are different. An identification number for foreigners (NIE) must be obtained and it is compulsory to register with the Tax Authorities and Social Security System if you become self employed. Trading licences and administrative authorisations should then be granted. It is also recommended that you take out an insurance policy for civil liability.

Please note the self employed are liable for all business actions. Unlimited liability covers all personal assets without any limitation of quantity.

The most common type of company is the Sociedad Annima (Public Limited Company) and Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (Limited Liability Company).

To set up a company you are required to have:

  • initial share capital, transferred by shareholders
  • the correct preparation of the companys articles of association
  • an incorporation public deed to be granted before a public notary
  • appointed the companys body of administration
  • company registration from the Tax Authorities (IAE)
  • obtained the corresponding Trading Number (CIF)
  • registered with the Corporate Office and the Social Security Office.

Similar to being self employed its also compulsory for companies to have the correct trading licences, administrative authorisations and insurance policies. For most companies, the liability is limited to the value of start-up capital, whereby, personal wealth of each partner is not affected.

Spanish law states that a company director may have responsibility for the management and direction of the companys daily activity. To avoid any liability, they have to carry out their duties with diligence and respect for all partners. Withholding taxes, VAT and Tax returns are also responsibilities of the company.

Once the company is set up, employment of staff maybe the next step. The Spanish Labour Regime is very bureaucratic and quite protective of employees. A detailed labour plan including continuity of supervision is important in order to avoid uncomfortable situations with the employees.

Other aspects that could also affect the daily running and future of the business include; industrial property rights, software licences, data protection, public contracting and town planning.

Being proactive in all these areas could help make a successful and profitable venture.


Legal specialists with real commercial insight

Our highly qualified Corporate Department team has trained in the UK and Spain and have experience in working with a wide range of companies on corporate tax and labour law in both jurisdictions. We provide an integrated service of legal assistance covering all the areas of your business, whilst considering the direct implications of day to day management.


Setting up in business in Spain

If you have a business in Spain or are considering setting one up and would like legal advice with no obligation on any of the issues discussed in this article please contact Irwin Mitchell Abogados on 0034 902 150 105 or e-mail

Irwin Mitchell
40 Holborn Viaduct
Tel: 0870 1500 100
Fax: 0207 404 0208

You are not logged in!

Please login or register to ask our experts a question.

Login now or register.