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5. Trapped in bureaucracy - more forms for autonomos - Modelo 347 and a 225 fine

To continue our series on Autonomos, we've just discovered we have missed a form - which could mean a large fine, and large fines aren't very nice for low paid individuals. Agencia Tributaria requires you to submit certain forms, but they do not help or provide information to make it easy. It is assumed you will know.

In part 1 we described the autonomo trap for low paid workers, particular those in part-time and temporary employment. Sometimes to get a job, the only way to get employment is an autonomo - a self-employed person. However, in Spain this brings a huge financial and bureaucratic burden requiring high payments (compared to the salary), a need to juggle cash flows and the requirement for lots and lots of paperwork needing either the expense of a gestor, or at least a semi-professional knowledge of Spanish tax law and reporting requirements.

We thought we had it. Modelo 130 each month for income tax, modelo 303 for IVA/VAT declaration, renta declaration to tie up the end of year (like UK's self-assessment), and 390 to tie up all the VAT declarations.

Wrong! We've just been informed that we should have submitted a modelo 347 too. A 347 is a compulsory 'informativa' - ie for information only, but still compulsory, for all clients or vendors that you've earned or spent more than €3,000 on over the year. It has to be declared by the end of February, though this is moving to the end of January soon.

Part time work from the same employer over the year as an autonomo means we get over the €3,000. But despite filling in every form we thought we needed electronically, being on the Agencia Tributaria website loads, nothing has warned us about this form - it is your obligation to 'know' about it. You don't even get a polite warning that it's missing. And naturally it comes with a fine, for not filling it in.

So our low-paid autonomo trying to muddle through the system, now faces the prospect of €300 fine for not knowing about a form - not for not trying to get it right, or not declaring everything due (actually over declaring because of the vagueness of the IVA allowances rules).

If you are an autonomo or looking to become an autonomo be aware that you need to know all the forms and conditions from the agencia tributaria.

In a year, you will have to submit 4x130, 4x303, 1x390, 1x100 (Renta), plus possibly a 180 if you rent a place, a 190 if you use the retentions system on people invoicing you, a 349 if you do work for companies in the EU, and a 347 if any Spanish client or vendor is over €3000 in total over the year. Plus you might run into a 720 if you have assets outside Spain.

The agencia needs to supply a checklist to autonomos when they sign on to tell them what they are getting themselves into, and then to provide an annual reminder, because every year something seems to change.

Previous article: 4. Temporary autonomos - The Gestor Trap Next article: Business set-up and VAT

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