ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS IN SPAIN

This chapter describes the basic aspects of the main structures for investing in Spain, as well as the key formalities that a foreign investor must fulfill in order to set up or start up each of them.

Setting up a business in Spain is simple. The type of business entities available are in keeping with those existing in other OECD countries and there is also a wide range of alternatives capable of meeting the needs of the different types of investors who wish to invest in or from Spain.

This chapter also examines how to open a branch; the pursuit of the activity directly by an individual entrepreneur as a “limited liability entrepreneur”; the formation of a joint venture with one or more enterprises already established in Spain; the acquisition of real estate; the sale and purchase of businesses; investment in venture capital firms; and distribution, agency, commission and franchising agreements.

It is also worth noting that foreign investment restrictions and exchange controls have been virtually eliminated in line with the EU legislation on deregulation in this area.

1. Introduction

This chapter takes a practical look at the main alternatives open to a foreign investor interested in establishing a business in Spain, as well as the main steps, costs and legal requirements involved.

Several alternatives are analyzed in this chapter, namely: the setting-up of a company; the opening of a branch; the pursuit of the activity directly by an individual entrepreneur and among the possible alternatives, this Guide highlights in particular the form of the “limited liability entrepreneur”; the formation of a joint venture with another or other enterprises already established in Spain; the acquisition of real estate; the sale and purchase of businesses; investment in venture capital firms; or distribution, agency, commission or franchising agreements.

The steps required to make the following types of investment are explained in this chapter:

  • Setting-up of a Spanish corporation or limited liability company and formation of a Spanish branch (sections 4 and 6).
  • Pursuit of the activity directly by an individual entrepreneur under the form of the “limited liability entrepreneur” (section 5).
  • Acquisition of shares in an existing Spanish company (section 8.1).
  • Acquisition of real estate located in Spain (section 8.2).
  • Acquisition of a business through sale/purchase or global transfer of assets and liabilities (section 8.3).
  •  Investment in venture capital firms (section 8.4).

Finally, this chapter contains a final section on dispute resolution in Spain, whether through court or arbitration proceedings, a real and effective alternative for the settlement of disputes.

 

2. Different ways of doing business in Spain

Various alternatives are open to the foreign investor once the decision to invest in Spain has been taken:

Table 1
WAYS OF DOING BUSINESS IN SPAIN

  
Constitución de sociedad española con personalidad jurídica propia

El inversor extranjero tiene a su disposición varios tipos de entidades mercantiles para invertir en España previstos por la legislación española. Las formas societarias más utilizadas son la sociedad anónima (S.A.) y, principalmente, la sociedad de responsabilidad limitada (S.L.).

Emprendedor de responsabilidad limitada

Desarrollo de la actividad directamente por persona física en caso de cumplir con determinados requisitos.

Sucursal o establecimiento permanente

Ambas figuras carecen de personalidad jurídica propia por lo que su actividad y su responsabilidad jurídica siempre irán directamente vinculadas a la sociedad matriz del inversor extranjero.

Joint ventures

Asociaciones con otros empresarios ya establecidos en España. Permiten compartir los riesgos y combinar recursos y experiencia.


En el ordenamiento español se pueden distinguir diferentes formas de joint venture que se desarrollan en el presente Capítulo:


  • Agrupación de Interés Económico (A.I.E.) y Agrupación Europea de Interés Económico (A.E.I.E.).

  • Unión Temporal de Empresas (U.T.E.).

  • Celebración con uno o más empresarios españoles de una forma de colaboración propia del sistema jurídico español: “la cuenta en participación”.

  • Joint ventures a través de sociedades anónimas o de responsabilidad limitada.

Sin constituir una entidad o asociarse con otras entidades ya existentes o sin establecer físicamente un centro de operaciones en España

Las diversas alternativas en este sentido son las siguientes:

  • Celebración de un acuerdo de distribución.

  • Realización de operaciones a través de un agente.

  • Realización de operaciones a través de un comisionista.

  • Establecimiento de una franquicia.

Adquisición de activos

Adquisiación de bienes inmuebles situados en España o adquisición de negocios.

Capital-riesgo

Inversión en entidades de capital-riesgo.

Various alternatives are open to the foreign investor once the decision to invest in Spain has been taken:

3. Tax Identification Number (N.I.F.) and Foreigner  Identity Number (N.I.E.)

The applicable Spanish legislation currently requires that any individual or legal entity with economic or professional interests in Spain, or involved in a relevant way for tax purposes, must hold a tax identification number (in the case of legal entities) or a foreigner identity number (for individuals). In particular, and among other cases, a N.I.F./N.I.E. must be applied for when a foreign investor makes a direct investment in Spain or in the case of a shareholder or director of an entity resident in Spain or of a foreign entity’s permanent establishment located in Spain.

The following tables summarize the documentation and steps required to obtain (i) a N.I.E. for individuals who are to be shareholders or directors of companies resident in Spain or limited liability entrepreneurs; (ii) a N.I.F. for legal entities that are to be shareholders or directors of companies resident in Spain; and (iii) the provisional and definitive N.I.F. of the company resident in Spain that is to be set up.

3.1. N.I.E. for individuals who are to be shareholders or  directors of companies resident in Spain

Table 2
N.I.E. (FOR INDIVIDUALS)

PAÍS DONDE SE SOLICITALUGAR DE PRESENTACIÓNDOCUMENTACIÓNCOSTEPLAZO DE RESOLUCIÓN

España

Dirección General de Policía y de la Guardia Civil u Oficinas de Extranjería o comisarías de policía.

  1. Modelo oficial (EX15) por duplicado 1.

  2. Original y copia del pasaporte completo del solicitante, título de viaje o cédula de inscripción o documento de identidad si es ciudadano de la Unión Europea.

  3. Si se solicita a través de representante: (i) copia del pasaportedel solicitante legitimado ante notario y legalizado y, en su caso, apostillado; (ii) acreditación de que tiene poder suficiente en su caso debidamente traducido (traducción jurada) y legalizado y/o apostillado.

9,45€
(modelo 790 2).

5 días

Extranjero

Comisaría General de Extranjería y Fronteras, a través de las Oficinas Consulares de España en el exterior.

3.2. N.I.F. for legal entities that are to be shareholders  or directors of companies resident in Spain

Table 3
N.I.F. (FOREIGN COMPANY THAT IS TO BE SHAREHOLDER/ DIRECTOR OF SPANISH COMPANY)

PAÍS DONDE SE SOLICITALUGAR DE PRESENTACIÓNDOCUMENTACIÓNPLAZO DE RESOLUCIÓN

España

Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria o telemáticamente.

  • Certificado o Extracto del Registro Mercantil del domicilio de residencia de la sociedad, apostillado y traducción jurada del mismo, donde aparezca necesariamente la denominación, domicilio, fecha de constitución, capital social y representante/s.

  • Modelo 036 3 (declaración censal de alta, modificación y baja en el Censo de Empresarios, Profesionales y Retenedores, casilla 120), que debe estar firmado por el representante legal que figure en el certificado mencionado anteriormente o apoderado de la compañía. Si el representante legal no fuera español y no tuviera N.I.E. la Agencia Tributaria le asignará un N.I.E. instrumental, válido únicamente para esta gestión.

  • Fotocopia del DNI o NIE y pasaporte (copia de la primera página donde figura la firma) del firmante del modelo 036 y/o del representante legal.

  • Si el representante legal o el firmante tuviera N.I.E. pero no estuviera censado en la Agencia Tributaria, habría que censarlo a través del modelo 030.

Asignación del N.I.F. el mismo día y envío de tarjeta identificativa del N.I.F. en un plazo de 10 días hábiles.

Extranjero

Comisaría General de Extranjería y Fronteras, a través de las Oficinas Consulares de España en el exterior.

Note: Documents from other countries (such as powers of representation in order to appear before the authorities and apply for a N.I.F./N.I.E.) must be translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the Autonomous Community 4 in which the application is submitted. Any foreign public document must be legalized beforehand by the Spanish consulate office with jurisdiction in the country the document was issued and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, unless the document has been certified by apostille by a competent authority in the country of issue pursuant to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961.

3.3. Provisional and definitive N.I.F. of the company  resident in Spain that is to be set up 

Table 4
PROVISIONAL N.I.F. (BEFORE SETTING UP COMPANY)

PROCEDIMIENTOLUGAR DE PRESENTACIÓNDOCUMENTACIÓNPLAZO DE RESOLUCIÓN

Procedimiento ordinario

Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria.

  • Modelo 036 5 (declaración censal de alta, modificación y baja en el Censo de Empresarios, Profesionales y Retenedores, casilla 110), firmado por un representante de la sociedad con N.I.E. o D.N.I español 6.

  • Copia del N.I.E. o documento nacional de identidad español del firmante.

  • Certificación negativa de denominación del Registro Mercantil Central.

  • Acuerdo de voluntad de constitución de sociedad 7.

Mismo día

Procedimiento telemático

El notario autorizante de la escritura de constitución le solicita telemáticamente a la Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria la asignación provisional del N.I.F. Es necesario que los socios y administradores tengan N.I.E. o D.N.I español.

Table 5
DEFINITIVE N.I.F. (AFTER SETTING UP THE COMPANY)

PROCEDIMIENTOLUGAR DE PRESENTACIÓNDOCUMENTACIÓNPLAZO DE RESOLUCIÓN

Procedimiento ordinario

Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria.

  • Modelo 036 (declaración censal de alta, modificación y baja en el Censo de Empresarios, Profesionales y Retenedores, casilla 120), que debe estar firmado por un representante de la sociedad con N.I.E. o documento nacional de identidad español.

  • Original y fotocopia del documento que acredite la capacidad de representación de quien firma el modelo 036.

  • Copia del N.I.E. o documento nacional de identidad español del firmante.

  • Original y copia de la escritura de constitución en la que conste impreso el sello de la inscripción registral.

10 días hábiles

Procedimiento telemático

Una vez inscrita la sociedad, el encargado del Registro Mercantil remitirá telemáticamente a la Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria la inscripción de la sociedad, y ésta última notificará al notario y al Registrador el carácter definitivo del N.I.F.

Note: Documents from other countries (such as powers of representation in order to appear before the authorities and apply for a N.I.F./N.I.E.) must be translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the Autonomous Community 8 in which the application is submitted. Any foreign public document must be legalized beforehand by the Spanish consulate office with jurisdiction in the country the document was issued and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, unless the document has been certified by apostille by a competent authority in the country of issue pursuant to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961.

The provisional and definitive N.I.F. for companies resident in Spain, unlike the N.I.F. for foreign individuals or legal entities who are going to be shareholders or directors of companies resident in Spain, may only be applied for in Spain, directly by the applicant or through a representative, and are free of charge.

 

4. Formation of a company

The most common forms of legal entity under Spanish corporate law are the corporation (“Sociedad Anónima” – S.A.), and the limited liability company (“S.L.”) (other corporate forms are described in Appendix I, section 2 of this Guide).

The main differences between S.A.s and S.L.s are as follows:

Cuadro 6
MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CORPORATIONS (S.A.s) AND LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES (S.L.s)

 S.A.S.L.
Capital social mínimo

60.000 Euros.

3.000 Euros 9.

Desembolso en la constitución

Mínimo del 25% y la prima de emisión, si la hubiera.

En su totalidad.

Aportaciones

Se requiere informe de experto independiente sobre las aportaciones no dinerarias.

No se requiere informe de experto independiente sobre las aportaciones no dinerarias, si bien los fundadores y socios responden solidariamente de la autenticidad de las aportaciones no dinerarias realizadas.

Acciones/ Participaciones sociales

Son valores mobiliarios. Se pueden emitir obligaciones y otros valores que reconozcan o creen una deuda, incluso obligaciones convertibles en acciones.

No son valores mobiliarios. Se pueden emitir obligaciones y otros valores que reconozcan o creen una deuda.

Transmisión de acciones/ participaciones sociales

Depende de su representación (anotaciones en cuenta, libros talonarios, etc.) y de su naturaleza (nominativas o al portador).
En principio, son libremente transmisibles, salvo disposición estatutaria.

Debe constar en documento público.

Generalmente las participaciones no serán libremente transmisibles (a menos que sean adquiridas por otros socios, ascendientes, descendientes o compañías del mismo grupo). Así, salvo previsión estatutaria en contrario, la Ley prevé un derecho de adquisición preferente a favor de los restantes socios o de la sociedad misma en caso de transmisión de las participaciones sociales a persona distinta de las señaladas.

Modificación de estatutos

Requiere informe del órgano de administración o de los accionistas, en su caso, que proponen la modificación.

No requiere informe.

Lugar de celebración de la Junta General

Rigen los estatutos sociales. En su defecto en el término municipal del domicilio social.

Quórum de asistencia a la Junta General y mayorías

Se establecen diferentes quórums y mayorías en función de que se trate de primera o segunda convocatoria y del contenido de los acuerdos. Éstos podrán ser elevados por los estatutos.

Se establecen distintas mayorías según el contenido de los acuerdos, que podrán ser elevados por los estatutos.

Derecho de asistencia a las Juntas Generales

Se puede exigir un número mínimo de acciones para asistir a la Junta General.

No se puede restringir este derecho.

Número de miembros del Consejo de Administración

Mínimo: 3.

No hay límite máximo.

Mínimo: 3.

Un máximo de 12 miembros.

Duración del cargo de administrador

Máximo 6 años. Reelegible por períodos de igual duración máxima.

Puede ser indefinido.

Emisión de obligaciones

Las emisiones de obligaciones pueden utilizarse como medio para la recaudación de fondos. Se pueden emitir o garantizar obligaciones convertibles en acciones.

Las emisiones de obligaciones puedan utilizarse como medio para la recaudación de fondos., si bien el importe total de las emisiones no podró ser superior al doble de los recursos propios de la sociedad, salvo que la emisión está garantizada con hipoteca, con prenda de valores, con garantía pública o con un aval solidario de entidad de crédito.

En el caso de que la emisión está garantizada con aval solidario de sociedad de garantía recíproca, el límite y demás condiciones del aval quedarán determinados por la capacidad de garantía de la sociedad en el momento de prestarlo, de acuerdo con su normativa específica.

No se pueden emitir ni garantizar obligaciones convertibles en participaciones sociales.

Any foreign citizen or legal entity may freely be a shareholder of a Spanish company provided that he/she/it applies for a N.I.E. or N.I.F. as described in this chapter.

In addition, any foreign citizen or legal entity may also be a director of a Spanish company, with the same requirement to apply for a N.I.E. or N.I.F 10 and, where shares are held in the company and/ or compensation is received for services as a director, it will be necessary to register for social security purposes 11 and therefore be a legal resident in Spain.

4.1.  Legal formalities

The ordinary steps and expenses involved are similar for both legal forms and are detailed in the following tables.

 

Table 7
STEPS FOR THE INCORPORATION OF A SPANISH LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

REQUISITOSAPLICABLE A CUALQUIER TIPO DE SOCIEDADES DE RESPONSABILIDAD LIMITADA Y SOCIEDADES ANÓNIMAS
1. Certificación negativa de denominación

Solicitud al Registro Mercantil Central por el propio interesado o su autorizado (pudiendo incluirse hasta 5 denominaciones sociales alternativas) 12. El Registro Mercantil Central emitirá un certificado de reserva de denominación para la nueva sociedad. La reserva de denominación tiene una duración de seis meses contados desde la fecha de expedición.

2. Solicitud de N.I.F. Provisional

Ver apartado 3.3 anterior.

3. Apertura cuenta bancaria

Apertura de una cuenta bancaria a nombre de la entidad para el desembolso del capital social. Una vez realizados los desembolsos por los socios fundadores, la entidad bancaria deberá emitir los certificados de desembolso.

4. Acta de manifestaciones de titularidad real

Los socios fundadores deberán otorgar ante notario un acta de manifestaciones de titular real en cumplimiento de la Ley 10/2010, de 28 de abril 13.

5. Otorgamiento de escritura ante notario

Ante notario público, los socios constituyentes otorgarán escritura pública indicando e incluyendo:


  1. Acreditación de la identidad de los socios fundadores. Si alguno de los socios es representado en el acto de la constitución será necesario aportar al notario un poder notarial para representar a dicho socio. En caso de haberse otorgado en el extranjero, debe estar debidamente legalizado 14.

  2. Manifestación sobre el titular real (ver requisito 4º anterior).

  3. Justificación de la aportación y del medio de pago de la misma (en su caso), mediante la correspondiente documentación bancaria, así como el detalle del capital social y su suscripción por los accionistas (ver requisito 3º anterior) 15.

  4. Certificación negativa de denominación social para el uso del nombre emitido por el Registro Mercantil (ver requisito 1º anterior).

  5. Estatutos de la sociedad.

  6. Si la sociedad fuera de responsabilidad limitada, la escritura de constitución determinará el modo concreto en que inicialmente se organice la administración, si los estatutos prevén diferentes alternativas.

  7. Identificación y aceptación de los administradores de la sociedad.

  8. Declaración a posteriori de la inversión extranjera ante el Registro de Inversiones Extranjeras de la Dirección General de Comercio e Inversiones (“D.G.C.I.“) del Ministerio de Economóa, Industria y Competitividad (véase el apartado 8 del Capítulo 1 para información más detallada). En ciertos casos, limitados fundamentalmente a los supuestos de inversiones extranjeras procedentes de territorios o países considerados paraísos fiscales, habrá que realizar declaración previa (véase el apartado 8 del Capítulo 1 para información más detallada).

  9. Identificación de código de actividad económica que describa la actividad conforme a la Clasificación Nacional de Actividades Económicas (CNAE).

  10. Si la sociedad fuera anónima, la escritura de constitución expresará, además, la cuantía total, al menos aproximada, de los gastos de constitución, tanto de los ya satisfechos como de los meramente previstos hasta la inscripción.

La escritura deberá otorgarse dentro de los tres meses siguientes a la emisión de la certificación negativa de denominación expedida por el Registro Mercantil Central.

6. Solicitud de inscripción en el Registro Mercantil del domicilio social.

La escritura de constitución se remitirá (i) en forma telemática por el notario o (ii) de forma presencial por el interesado.

7. Plazo de calificación e inscripción Registro Mercantil.

Quince (15) días a contar desde la fecha del asiento de presentación de la escritura salvo que concurriese justa causa, en cuyo caso, el plazo será de treinta (30) días.

8. Obtención N.I.F. Definitivo.

Ver apartado 3.3 anterior.

9. Trámites censales a efectos fiscales y laborales.

Alta a efectos del Impuesto sobre Actividades Económicas: presentación del Modelo 036. Las sociedades que se constituyan indicarán la descripción de la actividad que van a desarrollar y el motivo por el que estén exentas de este impuesto.

Entre otros casos, existen las siguientes exenciones en este impuesto:

  • Las personas físicas están exentas en todo caso.

  • Las personas jurídicas durante los dos primeros años de ejercicio de actividades.

  • Las personas jurídicas cuyo importe neto de cifra de negocios sea inferior a un millón de euros.

  • También están exentas las asociaciones y fundaciones de disminuidos físicos, psíquicos y sensoriales, sin ánimo de lucro, por las actividades de carácter pedagógico, científico y asistencial.

  • Los sujetos pasivos a los que les sea aplicable la exención en virtud de Tratados o Convenios Internacionales.


Este trámite debe realizarse antes de que la compañía inicie sus actividades.


Alta a efectos del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido (I.V.A.).

Obtención de la licencia de apertura/funcionamiento o título habilitante suficiente para el ejercicio de la actividad ante el Ayuntamiento correspondiente 16.

A efectos laborales, ver apartado 10 del Capitulo 5.

As a general rule, setting up a corporation or limited liability company using the ordinary procedure takes between 6 and 8 weeks.

 

Para aspectos relativos a trámites y autorizaciones en materia laboral y de permisos laborales (ver capítulo 5)
Para más información, consultar en www.investinspain.org.

 

Adicionalmente, la Ley 14/2013, de 27 de septiembre, de Apoyo a los Emprendedores y su Internacionalización (la “Ley de Emprendedores”) prevé un régimen expreso para la constitución telemática de sociedades de responsabilidad limitada, con y sin estatutos tipo en formato estandarizado, cuyo contenido se desarrolla reglamentariamente por el Real Decreto 421/2015, de 29 de mayo (por el que se regulan los modelos de estatutos-tipo y de escritura pública estandarizados de las sociedades de responsabilidad limitada, se aprueba modelo de estatutos-tipo, se regula la Agenda Electrónica Notarial y la Bolsa de denominaciones sociales con reserva) y por la Orden JUS/1840/2015, de 9 de septiembre (por la que se aprueba el modelo de escritura pública en formato estandarizado y campos codificados de las sociedades de responsabilidad limitada, así como la relación de actividades que pueden formar parte del objeto social 17). Sin perjuicio de lo anterior, conforme a lo dispuesto en la citada Ley de Emprendedores, constará de los siguientes pasos

 

Table 8A
FORMATION OF A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY WITH STANDARD BYLAWS:

DOCUMENTACIÓN
1.

En los Puntos de Atención al Emprendedor (“PAE”):

1.1. Se cumplimentará el Documento Único Electrónico (“DUE”) y se iniciará la tramitación telemática.

1.2. Se solicitará la reserva de denominación (hasta 5 denominaciones alternativas) al Registro Mercantil Central, que expedirá el certificado dentro de las 6 horas hábiles siguientes.

1.3. Se concertará inmediatamente fecha de otorgamiento de escritura de constitución mediante la comunicación en tiempo real con la agenda electrónica notarial obteniéndose los datos de la notaría, fecha y hora del otorgamiento que será dentro de las 12 horas hábiles siguientes al inicio de la solicitud.

2.

El notario:

2.1. Autorizará la escritura de constitución aportándole el documento justificativo del desembolso del capital social 18.

2.2. Enviará de forma inmediata copia de la escritura a la Administración Tributaria solicitando asignación de un N.I.F. provisional a través del sistema de tramitación telemática denominado Centro de Información y Red de Creación de Empresas (“CIRCE”).

2.3 Remitirá copia autorizada de la escritura de constitución al Registro Mercantil correspondiente al domicilio social a través del sistema de tramitación telemática CIRCE.

2.4. Entregará copia simple electrónica de la escritura de constitución a los otorgantes sin coste adicional, la cual estará disponible en el PAE.

3.

El Registrador Mercantil, cuando reciba a través de CIRCE: (a) copia electrónica de la escritura de constitución junto con el N.I.F. provisional asignado y (b) acreditación de la exención del ITPAJD (Impuesto de ´Transmisiones Patrimoniales y Actos Jurídicos Documentados):

3.1. Calificará e inscribirá en el plazo de 6 horas hábiles.

3.2. Remitirá certificación de la inscripción al CIRCE el mismo día de la inscripción.

3.3. Solicitará el N.I.F. definitivo.

4.

La autoridad tributaria:

4.1. Notificará el carácter definitivo del N.I.F. a través de CIRCE.

4.2. Dará traslado del N.I.F. a través del CIRCE.

5.

Desde el PAE se realizarán los trámites relativos al inicio de la actividad mediante el envío de la información contenida en el DUE a:

5.1. La Agencia Tributaria.

5.2. La Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social.

5.3. En su caso, a las administraciones locales y autonómicas.

Cuadro 8B
FORMATION OF A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY WITHOUT STANDARD BYLAWS:

DOCUMENTACIÓN
1.

En los Puntos de Atención al Emprendedor (“PAE”) los socios fundadores podrán:

• Solicitar la reserva de denominación.

• Concertar la fecha de otorgamiento de la escritura de constitución.

2.

El notario:

2.1. Autorizará la escritura de constitución aportándole el documento justificativo del desembolso del capital social 19.

2.2. Enviará de forma inmediata copia de la escritura a la Administración Tributaria solicitando asignación de un N.I.F. provisional a través del sistema de tramitación telemática denominado Centro de Información y Red de Creación de Empresas (“CIRCE”).

2.3 Remitirá copia autorizada de la escritura de constitución al Registro Mercantil correspondiente al domicilio social a través del sistema de tramitación telemática CIRCE.

2.4. Entregará copia simple electrónica de la escritura de constitución a los otorgantes sin coste adicional.

3.

El Registrador Mercantil, recibida la copia electrónica de la escritura de constitución, inscribirá inicialmente a la sociedad en el Registro Mercantil en el plazo de 6 horas hábiles, indicando exclusivamente los datos relativos a: (i) denominación, (ii) domicilio, (iii) objeto social, (iv) capital social y (v) órgano de administración.

La inscripción definitiva se producirá dentro del plazo de calificación ordinario.

Practicada la inscripción, el Registrador Mercantil notificará telemáticamente a la autoridad tributaria competente la inscripción de la sociedad, solicitando el N.I.F. definitivo

4.

La autoridad tributaria:

4.1. Notificará el carácter definitivo del N.I.F. a través de CIRCE.

4.2. Dará traslado del N.I.F. a través del CIRCE

5.

Desde el PAE se realizarán los trámites relativos al inicio de la actividad mediante el envío de la información contenida en el DUE a:

5.1. La Agencia Tributaria.

5.2. La Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social.

5.3. En su caso, a las administraciones locales y autonómicas.

Note: where the founding shareholders choose to form an S.L. without standard bylaws, the formalities for formation may be performed using the DUE and the CIRCE remote processing system.

AIt should be noted that according to the Entrepreneurs Law:

  • Entrepreneur Service Points (“P.A.E.”) are: offices belonging to public and private organizations, including notary offices, which will be tasked with facilitating the creation of new businesses, the effective commencement of their operations and their development, by providing information, processing, documentation and advisory services.
  • The Single Electronic Document (“D.U.E.”) is the document containing the data that must be sent to the legal registries and to the competent public authorities for:
    •  The formation of limited liability companies.
    • The registration at the Commercial Registry of the Individual Entrepreneur.
    • Fulfillment of the tax and social security obligations on commencement of the activity.
    • The performance of any other formality on commencement of the activity with the state, autonomous community and local authorities.

As a general rule, the telematic formation of limited liability companies takes approximately 15 business days

 

4.2.  Telematic legalization of books

In accordance with article 18 of the Entrepreneurs Law and with the Instruction of February 12, 2015, of the Directorate-General of Registries and the Notarial Profession, on the legalization of traders’ books in accordance with article 18 of Law 14/2013, of September 27, on support to entrepreneurs and their internationalization, all of the books that traders must keep in accordance with the applicable legal provisions will be legalized telematically at the Commercial Registry after they have been completed in electronic format and before four months elapse after the year-end date.

Regarding the books that are mandatory, their key features are as follows:

  • Minutes book:
    • All of the minutes of the meetings of the collective bodies of commercial companies, including decisions adopted by the sole shareholder, must be reflected in electronic format and be submitted telematically for legalization within four (4) months after the fiscal year-end.
    • The company may keep just one book for all of the minutes of all of the collective bodies of the company, or a different book for each one of the collective bodies.
    • Each book must state the date of the start and the end of the fiscal year.
    • At any time of the fiscal year, the company may legalize books of details of minutes with minutes from the current fiscal year for purposes of an evidentiary or any other nature, and notwithstanding that all minutes must be included in the minutes book for the entire fiscal year.
  • Register of shareholders (S.L.) or register of registered shares (S.A. with registered shares):
    • Once the company has been registered at the Commercial Registry, it will be necessary to legalize a book which records the initial ownership of the founders and, once this initial book has been legalized, it will only be necessary to legalize a new book within the four months following the end of the fiscal year in which there has been any change in the initial or successive ownership of the shares or encumbrances have been created over them.
    • These books must record the full identity of the owners, their nationality and domiciles. The omission of the recording of the nationality or domicile will not preclude the book in question from being legalized, but this omission will be recorded in the legalization note.
  • Book of contracts with the sole shareholder: This book is subject to the same rules as those applicable to the register of shareholders / register of registered shareholders.

It is possible to legalize any of the above books from a given year without those from the immediately preceding years having been legalized.

The signatures of the persons who authorize the request and the list of digital signatures generated by the books whose legalization is requested must meet the requirements laid down in the current legislation on qualified electronic signatures and with the mandatory certification of the certification services provider.

4.3. Fees and costs

  • Fees of the notary handling the formation:
      • a) As a general rule, for corporations and limited liability companies formed under the ordinary regime, the fees are charged on a sliding scale based on the capital stock. For guidance purposes, the official rates amount to approximately €90 for the first €6,010, after which rates of between 0.03% and 0.45% are applied to amounts of between €6,010,121 and €601,012.10. For any amount in excess of €6,010,121.10, the notary will receive the amount that is freely agreed upon by the executing parties.
      • b) For limited liability companies formed telematically whose capital exceeds €3,100 or whose bylaws are not adapted to any of the forms approved by the Ministry of Justice, the fee will be €150.
      • c) For limited liability companies formed telematically whose capital does not exceed €3,100 and whose bylaws are adapted to one of the forms approved by the Ministry of Justice, the fee will be €60.
  • Fees for registering the company at the local Commercial Registry:
      • a) As a general rule, for corporations and limited liability companies formed under the ordinary regime, there are official rates that amount to €6.01 for the first €3,005, after which there is a sliding scale ranging from 0.005% and 0.10% for capital in excess of €6,010,121. The total fee is capped and may not exceed €2,181.
      • b) For limited liability companies formed telematically whose capital exceeds €3,100 or whose bylaws are not adapted to any of the forms approved by the Ministry of Justice, the fee will be €100.
      • c) For limited liability companies formed telematically whose capital does not exceed €3,100 and whose bylaws are adapted to any of the forms approved by the Ministry of Justice, the fee will be €40.
  • Transfer tax under the “corporate transactions” heading, exempt in accordance with Royal Decree-Law 3/2010 (see Chapter 3) 20.
  • Charge for processing of the opening/operating license or solemn declaration by the municipal authority. A one-off municipal tax, ordinarily a relatively small amount 21.
  • Other expenses (e.g. professional fees) which are not readily quantifiable.

5. Limited liability entrepreneur

The Entrepreneurs Law created the concept of the “limited liability entrepreneur” (ERL), the main characteristics of which are as follows:

Table 9
LIMITED LIABILITY ENTREPRENEUR

  
Concepto

El ERL, cualquiera que sea su actividad empresarial o profesional, mediante la asunción de dicha condición, podrá limitar su responsabilidad por las deudas que traigan causa del ejercicio de dicha actividad de modo que ésta no afecte a su vivienda habitual bajo determinadas condiciones. Se exceptúa de la limitación de responsabilidad a la deuda de derecho público de que resulte titular el ERL para cuya gestión recaudatoria resulte de aplicación lo dispuesto en la Ley 58/2003, de 17 de diciembre, General Tributaria, en la Ley 47/2003, de 26 de noviembre, General Presupuestaria y en el Real Decreto-legislativo 1/1994, de 20 de junio, por el que se aprueba el Texto Refundido de la Ley General de la Seguridad Social.

Requisitos
  1. Inscripción de la condición de ERL en el Registro Mercantil de su domicilio.


    Será título para inmatricular al ERL el acta notarial que presentará obligatoriamente el notario en el Registro Mercantil el mismo día o el día hábil siguiente a su autorización, o la instancia suscrita con la firma electrónica del empresario y remitida telemáticamente al Registro Mercantil.

  2. Valor de la vivienda habitual para que la responsabilidad por deudas empresariales o profesionales no alcance a dicho bien 22:

    • No superior a 300.000 € (valorada conforme a lo dispuesto en la base imponible del ITPAJD en el momento de la inscripción en el Registro Mercantil).

    • En caso de viviendas en poblaciones de más de 1.000.000 de habitantes, se aplicará un coeficiente del 1,5 al valor del apartado (a) anterior.

  3. Publicidad de su condición de ERL.

    Lo hará constar en toda documentación con expresión de los datos registrales.

  4. Inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad.
    Inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad de la no sujeción de la vivienda habitual a su actividad profesional. El Registrador Mercantil expedirá certificación y la remitirá telemáticamente al Registrador de la Propiedad el mismo día hábil de la inscripción de la condición de ERL en el Registro Mercantil correspondiente.

The Entrepreneurs Law provides that the necessary formalities for registration of ERL status may be performed using the CIRCE system and the DUE. In this case, the procedure would be as follows:

Table 10
ERL REGISTRATION

PASO
1.

En los Puntos de Atención al Emprendedor (“PAE”) se cumplimentará el Documento Único Electrónico (“DUE”) y se aportará la documentación necesaria para la inscripción en el Registro Mercantil, así como en el Registro de la Propiedad

2.

2.1. El PAE enviará el DUE junto con la documentación correspondiente al Registro Mercantil, solicitando la inscripción del ERL.

2.2. El Registro Mercantil contará con 6 horas hábiles para practicar el asiento y remitir telemáticamente al sistema CIRCE la certificación de la inscripción practicada.

3.

El Registrador Mercantil solicitará al Registro de la Propiedad la inscripción de la circunstancia respecto de los bienes inembargables por deudas profesionales, con respecto a la vivienda habitual del ER.

4.

El Registrador de la Propiedad practicará la inscripción en el plazo de 6 horas hábiles desde la recepción de la solicitud, e informará inmediatamente de la inscripción practicada al sistema de tramitación telemática del CIRCE, que lo trasladará a la autoridad tributaria competente.

Entrepreneurs can ascertain the status of the procedure at any time from the corresponding PAE.

When it comes to this form of investment, of note is the recent Royal Decree-Law 1/2015, of February 27, on the second chance mechanism, reduction of the financial burden and other measures of a social nature, whereby, among other reforms, a regime is established for the discharge of debts for natural person debtors in the context of an insolvency proceeding. Specifically, their debts will be discharged where:

(i) The debtor is a bona fide debtor; and
(ii) His/her assets are previously liquidated (or the insolvency proceeding is declared concluded due to an insufficiency of assets); and
(iii) The debtor has paid in their entirety the post-insolvency order claims, the preferred pre-insolvency order claims and, if an outof-court payment agreement has not been tried, 25% of the ordinary claims; or
(iv) Where the claims indicated in point (iii) have not been paid, if the debtor agrees to submit to a 5-year payment plan (in this case, the debtor will be released from all of his/her claims except for public claims, alimony claims, post-insolvency order claims and preferred claims).

 

6. Opening of a branch

In general terms, the requirements, procedural formalities and costs of opening a branch in Spain of a foreign company are very similar to those for the formation of a subsidiary (as a company). The main legal steps and costs are summarized below, highlighting the main differences with respect to the formation of a subsidiary.

 

6.1. Legal steps and costs

Table 11
LEGAL STEPS AND COSTS

REQUISITOSPROCEDIMIENTOS
1. Certificación negativa de denominación

Sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

2. Obtención del Número de Identificación Fiscal (N.I.F.) y nombramiento de representante de la sociedad matriz ante Administración tributaria española

Sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

Nombramiento de una persona física o jurídica con residencia en España para que represente a la sociedad matriz ante la Administración tributaria española en relación con sus obligaciones por cualquier impuesto.

3. Acta de manifestaciones de titularidad real

Sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

4. Otorgamiento de escritura pública deapertura de sucursal ante notario español

Este trámite consiste en formalizar públicamente ante notario el acuerdo de apertura de la sucursal adoptado previamente por el órgano competente de la sociedad matriz extranjera.

El notario pedirá (i) documentación similar a la que se requiere en el caso de una filial (es decir, evidencia de la identidad de la persona que comparece ante él, poder para representar a la sociedad matriz, declaración del titular real, justificación del pago y del medio de aportación, si procede), (ii) prueba suficiente (y, en su caso, traducida, legalizada y/o apostillada) de la existencia de la sociedad matriz, sus estatutos y los nombres y datos personales de sus administradores, (iii) así como la resolución de constituir la sucursal, adoptada por el órgano competente de la sociedad matriz.

En la escritura podrá incluirse la declaración a posteriori de la inversión extranjera ante el Registro de Inversiones Extranjeras de la Dirección General de Comercio e Inversiones (“D.G.C.I.”) del Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad. En algunos casos, al igual que en las filiales, habrá que realizar declaración previa (véase el apartado 8 del Capítulo 1).

5. Solicitud de inscripción en el Registro Mercantil

Sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

6. Trámites censales

Alta de la sucursal a efectos del Impuesto sobre Actividades Económicas: sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

Alta de la sucursal a efectos del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido: sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad.

Pago de las tasas correspondientes a la tramitación de la licencia de apertura funcionamiento o declaración responsable: sigue los mismos procedimientos que en el caso de una sociedad 23.

Alta en la Seguridad Social (ver apartado 13 del Capítulo 5, para información más detallada)

As a general rule, setting up a branch takes between 6 and 8 weeks.

6.2. Branch versus subsidiary

The main differences between a branch and a subsidiary to be taken into consideration from a tax and legal standpoint are summarized below.

Table 12
BRANCH VERSUS SUBSIDIARY

 SUCURSALFILIAL
Capital mínimo

No requiere ninguna asignación mínima.


S.A. 60.000 €.

S.L. 3.000 € 24.

Personalidad jurídica

No tiene personalidad jurídica propia sino que es la misma persona jurídica que la sociedad matriz.

Si

Órgano de administración y gobierno

Representante residente en España (quien actúa como apoderado de la sucursal en representación de la sociedad matriz a todos los efectos y, en particular, a efectos fiscales 25).

Junta General y órgano de administración.

Responsabilidad accionistas/socios

No existe límite a la responsabilidad de la sociedad matriz.

La responsabilidad de los accionistas/socios de una S.A. o S.L. respecto de las deudas de la filial está limitada al importe de sus aportaciones de capital (salvo las excepciones analizadas en el Anexo I, apartado 3).

From a tax standpoint, both the branch and the subsidiary are, in general terms, liable for Spanish corporate income tax (subsidiary) or nonresident income tax (branch) at 25% on their net income (rate applicable from 2016 onwards).

The following aspects in relation to the tax treatment of branches and subsidiaries and of the income paid or remitted by them should be noted:

  • The remittance of a branch’s profits to its head office or the payment of a subsidiary’s dividend to its parent will be taxed in Spain depending on the country of residence of the parent company or head office:
    • If it is not resident in an EU country and is also not resident in a country with which Spain has a tax treaty, remittances or dividends will be taxed in Spain at a rate of 19% from 2016 onwards.
    • If it is EU-resident, remittances or dividends are usually taxexempt. If the exemption cannot be applied to dividends, the reduced rate under the relevant tax treaty with Spain will apply. If there is no tax treaty with Spain (which is only the case with Cyprus) and the exemption cannot be applied, the applicable rate will be 19%.
    •  If it is resident in a non-EU country with which Spain does have a tax treaty, the dividends will be taxable at the reduced treaty rate and the remittance of branch profits will, under most treaties, be exempt from tax in Spain.
  • A branch is a permanent establishment for the purposes of nonresident income tax. Nonetheless, a branch is not the only form of permanent establishment. In order to identify whether or not a permanent establishment exists, consideration must first be given to whether or not a tax treaty has been signed between Spain and the country of residence of the interested party.
    • a) If a tax treaty has been signed between Spain and the taxpayer’s country of residence, regard must be had to the definition of permanent establishment in that treaty. In general, the tax treaties currently in force are in line with the definition set forth under Article 5 of the OECD Model Convention, which distinguishes between two forms of permanent establishment.The first form of permanent establishment is the fixed place of business. This is a place through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on. In general, a fixed place of business will therefore exist where the following requirements are met:

      – the facility, center or site must be used to carry on the business;
      – the facility must be fixed or related to a specific place or space, with a certain degree of permanence over time;
      – the activity must be productive and must contribute to the enterprise’s global income.

      This definition of permanent establishment excludes a fixed place of business from which certain auxiliary or preparatory activities, listed in the tax treaties, are carried on.

      The second form of permanent establishment is the dependent agent. This is an agent who acts on behalf of the nonresident entity, who has and exercises powers to bind such entity, and who does not have independent agent status.

    • b) If there is no applicable tax treaty, regard must be had to the definition of permanent establishment set forth in Spanish domestic law. Article 13.1.a of Legislative Royal Decree 5/2004, approving the revised Nonresident Income Tax Law has, to a great extent, been brought into line with the aforesaid definition of permanent establishment according to the OECD Model Convention.
  • The Directorate General of Taxes has ruled on a number of occasions that the Special Rules regulated under Title VII of the Revised Corporate Income Tax Law are applicable to permanent establishments located in Spain and belonging to nonresident entities, inter alia, the special rules applicable to small entities (For further information on the special rules, see Chapter 3).
  • Share of parent company overheads: In practice, it is usually easier for these expenses (if any are imputed) to qualify as deductible in the case of a branch than in the case of a subsidiary.
  • Interest on loans from a foreign parent company to its Spanish branch is not tax-deductible for the branch. By contrast, the interest on loans from the shareholders of a subsidiary is normally tax-deductible for the subsidiary, provided that the transaction is valued on an arm’s-length basis and subject to certain requirements, subject to the limits on deductibility established in corporate income tax legislation. The general limit is 30% of the subsidiary’s EBITDA, although deductibility is prohibited in some cases, for example, where the debt is used to acquire holdings in entities from other group entities (unless they are acquired on valid economic grounds) or where the finance costs do not generate any income, or generate tax-exempt income or income taxed at less than 10% at the recipient, due to such income not being classed as a financial return.

6.3. Calculation of Spanish corporate income tax

Below is a simple example of how Spanish corporate income tax and nonresident income tax is calculated on the profit obtained by a Spanish subsidiary or by the branch in Spain of a foreign company, respectively (For further information, on these taxes, see section 2.1. of Chapter 3).

Table 13
CALCULATION OF SPANISH CORPORATE INCOME TAX

PROCEDIMIENTOPAÍS UE 26MATRIZ RESIDENTE EN PAÍS CON CONVENIOMATRIZ RESIDENTE EN PAÍS SIN CONVENIO
Filial

  Beneficio filial española

100

100

100

  I.S. español (25%) 27

25

25

25

  Dividendo

75

75

75

Retención

--- 29

7,5 30

14,25 28

  Impuesto total en España

25

32,5

39,25

Sucursal

  Beneficio sucursal española

100

100

100

  I.S. español (25%)  27

25

25

25

  Beneficio repatriado

75

75

75

  Retención

-- 29

-- 31

14,25 28

  Impuesto total en España

25

25

39,25

6.4. Representative Offices

Apart from through a corporation or a branch, a foreign investor in Spain may operate, among other options, through a representative office.

In light of the lack of specific regulations in this respect, a definition may be found in the tax treaties signed by Spain with third countries: a representative office is understood to be a fixed place of business, established by a nonresident company, that pursues purely marketing or informational activities relating to commercial, financial and economic matters but does not conduct any actual business. They are governed by treaties signed with Spain or, where there are no treaties, by Spanish legislation and representative offices are considered permanent establishments.

This form of establishment in Spain allows investors to obtain all kinds of information on which they can base their investment decision, without having to comply with too many legal formalities. A representative office is, therefore, the ideal vehicle for conducting market research, studying the level of competition existing in the industry in which it intends to invest, compiling financial projections and profit estimates for the investment or negotiating the acquisition of companies via purchase of shares or of assets and liabilities.

Representative offices have, inter alia, the following key characteristics:

  • Representative offices do not have separate legal personality from their parent.
  • The nonresident company is liable for all debts assumed by the representative office.
  • Representative offices cannot themselves conduct commercial transactions.
  • In general, no commercial requirements need to be met for a representative office to be opened, although mainly for tax, employment and social security purposes a public deed (or document executed before a foreign notary public, duly legalized with the Hague Apostille or any other applicable form of legalization) may have to be executed, recording the opening of the representative office, the allocation of funds, the identity of the tax representative (an individual or legal entity resident in Spain) and its powers. Representative offices need not be recorded at the Commercial Registry.
  • Representative offices have no formal managing bodies; the representative of each office performs the activities of the representative office by virtue of the powers granted to that representative.

As regards the main employment and tax aspects of representative offices, please see the corresponding sections in chapters 3 and 5.

 

7. Otras formas de operar en EspañaOther alternatives for operating in Spain

En términos generales, los requisitos, trámites formales y costes relacionados con la apertura de una sucursal en España de una sociedad extranjera son muy similares a los de la constitución de una filial (como sociedad). Se resumen a continuación los pasos legales y los costes más importantes, destacando las diferencias principales respecto a la constitución de una filial.

 

7.1. Forms of business cooperation

One of the most common forms of business cooperation between companies is the joint venture (J.V.). Spanish law does not expressly regulate this mechanism, as it is an atypical contract that finds its basis in the principle of freedom of contract provided for in article 1255 of the Civil Code.

Under the current legislation, the main forms through which a joint venture may be set up between one or more parties are as follows:

7.2. Temporary Business Associations (UTEs)

  • Concept/purpose: Under Spanish law, UTEs are temporary business alliances set up for a specified or unspecified period of time, for the purpose of carrying out a specific project or service. UTEs allow several companies to operate together on one common project. This form of association is very common for engineering and construction projects but can be used in other sectors as well.
  • Legal personality: UTEs are not companies in the strict sense and have no legal personality.
  • Fiscal transparency regime: While they have no legal personality, in order to qualify for the special fiscal transparency regime provided for UTEs, their formation must be recorded in a public deed and they must be registered on the Special Register of UTEs at the Spanish Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. Furthermore, they must comply with bookkeeping and accounting requirements similar to those of Spanish companies. They may be also registered at the Commercial Registry. Formalities for formalization of a UTE are similar to those for a company or branch, adjusted to reflect the special characteristics of this type of arrangement.
  • Regulation: UTEs are governed by Law 18/1982 on the Tax Regime of Temporary Business Groupings and Associations and Regional Industrial Development Companies, amended, among others, by Law 12/1991, Law 43/1995 and Law 62/2003.

7.3. Economic Interest Groupings (EIGs)

  • Concept/purpose: EIGs are created with a view to facilitating the pursuit or enhancing the profitability of the activities of their members. EIGs may not act on behalf of their members nor may they substitute them in their operations. Consequently, the EIG is most commonly used to provide secondary services, such as centralized purchasing, sales, information management or administrative services, within the context of a broader association or group of companies.
  • Legal personality: One of the key differences between UTEs and EIGs is that EIGs are commercial entities with a separate legal personality.
  • Formation  requirements: Spanish law sets out certain requirements for the formation of EIGs:
    — They may not interfere with their members’ decisions on personnel, finance or investment matters, nor are they allowed to manage or control the activities of their members.
    — They may not directly or indirectly hold stakes in their member companies, unless it is necessary to acquire shares or holdings in order to fulfill the EIG’s purpose, in which case the shares or holdings must be transferred immediately to its members.
    — They must be formed by notarial deed and registered at the competent Commercial Registry.
  • Member  liability: EIG members are considered personally and jointly and severally liable for the entity’s debts, albeit secondarily to the EIG’s liability. Their main obligation is to contribute to the EIG’s capital on the agreed terms and to share in its expenses.
  • Governing bodies:
    — the members’ meeting; and
    — the managers, who are jointly and severally liable with the EIG for all tax obligations accrued and for any damage caused, unless they are able to prove that they acted with due diligence.
  • Regulation: EIGs are mainly governed by Economic Interest Groupings Law 12/1991, of April 29.
  • European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG): This has a separate legal identity, with the characteristics regulated by EU Council Regulation (EEC) 2137/85, which establishes the basic rules governing EEIGs.

7.4. Silent Participation Agreement (CEP)

  • Concept: This form of business association, which is not subject to any legal formality at all, consists of a financial collaboration whereby one or more entrepreneurs (silent partners) take an interest in the operations of another (the active partner), contributing an agreed portion of capital to the active partner and sharing in the profits or losses in the proportion determined by them.
  • Contribution: The contributions, whether cash or in kind, do not qualify as capital contributions as such, but rather simply represent the right of the silent partner(s) to share in the results of the business concerned. Silent partners are therefore not shareholders of the active partner.
  • Formal requirements: As provided in the Commercial Code, this type of agreement does not require any legal formality to be fulfilled (public deed or registration at the Commercial Registry). However, in practice, the parties tend to record the agreement in a public deed in order to provide proof to third parties.
  • Regulation: Articles 239 through 243 of the Commercial Code, contained in Title II “Silent Participation Agreements” (Book II of the Commercial Code).

7.5. Joint ventures through Spanish corporations or  limited liability companies

A significant number of joint ventures use corporations and limited liability companies as vehicles. Therefore, we recommend reading the comments made in other sections of this Guide on the formation, basic characteristics and features of the corporate bodies of corporations and limited liability companies (See this Chapter and Annex I).

 

7.6. Distribution, agency, commission agency and  franchising agreements

There are various ways to operate in Spain without having to set up a company or enter into an association with other existing entities or establish a physical center of operations in Spain, including most notably the following.

 

7.6.1.  Distribution agreements

Distribution agreements are an interesting alternative to forming a company or branch or entering into commercial cooperation agreements with previously existing businesses given the low initial investment required. There are several types of distribution agreement. Given the current lack of specific legislation on this area, many such agreements allow the parties broad discretion to decide on their contents.

In practice, distribution agreements are often confused with agency agreements. Nevertheless, they are different and have distinct regulations and characteristics.

  • Concepto: Under a distribution agreement, one of the parties (the distributor) undertakes to purchase goods belonging to the other party for resale.Distributors are legal entities that form an intrinsic, albeit not truly integrated, part of the commercial network of the supplier, united by a business relationship and a shared desire to increase sales.
  • Classification: There are three main categories according to the types of distribution networks or system:
    — Commercial concession or exclusive distribution agreements
    The supplier not only undertakes not to provide his products to more than one distributor within a specified territory, but also not to sell those products himself within the territory of the exclusive distributor.
    — Sole distribution agreements
    The only difference between sole and exclusive distribution agreements is that under a sole distribution agreement, the supplier reserves the right to supply the agreed products to users in the territory in question.
    — Authorized distribution agreements under the selective distribution system.Owing to their nature, certain products require special treatment by distributors and sellers. The form of distribution used in both cases is called “selective distribution”, so-called because distributors are carefully selected on the basis of their capacity to handle technically complex products or to maintain a particular image or brand name.

7.6.2.  Agency agreements

  • Concept: Article 1 of Agency Agreements Law 12/1992 transposed Directive 86/653/EEC into Spanish law and provides the following definition of agency agreements:“Under an agency agreement, an individual or legal entity, known as an agent, agrees with another on a continuous or regular basis, in exchange for remuneration, to promote commercial acts or transactions for the account of another or to promote and conclude them for the account and in the name of others, as an independent intermediary and without assuming the risk and hazard of such transactions, unless otherwise agreed.”

    Agents are independent intermediaries who do not act in their own name and behalf, but rather for and on behalf of one or more principals.

    An agent must, of his own accord or through his employees, negotiate and, if required by contract, conclude on behalf of the principal, the commercial acts or operations he is instructed to handle. Agents are subject to a number of obligations, including the following:
    — An agent cannot outsource his activities unless expressly authorized to do so.
    — An agent is authorized to negotiate the agreements or transactions detailed in the agency agreement, but can only conclude them on behalf of its principal when expressly authorized to do so.
    — An agent may act on behalf of several principals, unless the related goods or services are similar or identical, in which case express consent is required.

7.6.3.  Commission agency agreements

  • Concept: This is the mandate under which the authorized agent (commission agent) undertakes to perform or to participate in a commercial act or agreement on behalf of another (the principal). Commission agents may act:
    — In their own name, acquiring rights against the contracting third parties and vice versa; and
    — On behalf of their principal, who acquires rights against third parties and vice versa.
  • Main obligations of commission agents:
    — To protect the interests of their principals as if they were their own and to perform their engagement personally. Commission agents may delegate their duties if authorized to do so and may use employees at their own liability.
    — To account for amounts that they have received as commission, to reimburse any excess amount and to return any unsold merchandise.
    — In general, commission agents are not liable to their principal for the performance of the related agreements by third parties, although this risk can be secured by a commission del credere.
    — Commission agents are barred from buying for their own account or for the account of others, without the consent of their principal, the goods that they have been instructed to sell, and from selling the goods that they have been instructed to buy.
  • Commission: The principal undertakes to pay a commission and to respect the retention and preference rights of the commission agent. The claims of the commission agent against the principal are protected by the right to retain the goods.
  • Differences and similarities between agency agreements  and commission agency agreements
    —  Main  similarity:  In both cases, an individual or legal entity undertakes to pay another compensation for arranging a business opportunity for the former to conclude a legal transaction with a third party, or for acting as the former‘s intermediary in concluding the transaction.
    Main difference: Agency agreements involve an engagement on a continuous or regular basis, whereas commission agency agreements involve occasional engagements.

7.6.4. Franchising

  • Concept: Franchising is a system for marketing goods and/ or services and/or technology. It is based on close, ongoing cooperation between independent undertakings (the franchisor and its individual franchisees). Under this system, the franchisor grants a right to, and imposes an obligation on, its individual franchisees, for a specific market, to pursue the business or commercial activity previously carried out by the former with sufficient experience and success, using the concept and system defined by the franchisor.In return for a direct and/or indirect consideration, this right entitles and obliges individual franchisees to use the brand name and/or trade or service mark for the goods and/ or services, the know-how and the technical and business methods, which must be specific to the business, material and unique, the procedures and other intellectual property rights of the franchisor, backed by the ongoing provision of commercial and technical assistance under, and during the term of, the relevant franchising agreement between the parties, all of the above regardless of any supervisory powers conferred on the franchisor by contract.

    Commercial concession or exclusive distribution agreements will not necessarily be considered franchises where an entrepreneur undertakes to acquire products (usually brand products) under certain exclusive rights in an area in order to resell them, again under certain conditions, as well as to offer after-sale services to purchasers of the products.

    In addition, the following are not considered to be franchises: (i) the grant of a manufacturing license, (ii) the licensing of a registered trademark to be used in a particular area, (iii) transfers of technology or (iv) a license to use a commercial emblem or logo.

  • Legislation: The applicable Spanish legislation is (i) Law 7/1996, of January 15, regulating retail trade, regarding the basic conditions for carrying on franchise activity and creating the Register of Franchisors (as amended by Law 1/2010, of March 1); (ii) Royal Decree 201/2010, of February 26, regulating the exercise of the commercial activity under a franchise arrangement and the communication of information to the Register of Franchisors; and (iii) Royal Decree 378/2003, which refers to Regulation (EC) No. 2790/1999, of December 22, 1999, relating to the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices and Regulation (EC) No. 1400/2002, of July 31, 2002, for the motor vehicles sector.
  • Registration: 
    — Franchisors with registered office in Spain or in another EU Member State: register of franchisors of the Autonomous Community where their registered office is located, if the Autonomous Community has established the obligation to communicate data or, otherwise, the register of franchisors of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.The communication must be made within three months after the start of the activity.

    — Franchisors with registered office in a country that is not an EU Member State: register of franchisors of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

  • Types  of  franchising  agreement: lndustrial franchising agreements (for the manufacture of goods), distribution franchising agreements (for the sale of goods) and service franchising agreements (relating to the provision of services).The advantages offered by a franchising agreement include the fact that a franchising agreement is a form of product and/or service distribution that enables a uniform distribution network to be swiftly created with limited investment. Franchising also enables independent traders to set up installations more rapidly and with greater chances of success than if they did so themselves without the know-how and assistance of the franchisor.

    Antitrust law requirements must be thoroughly considered when defining the content of franchising agreements.

    According to the experts, franchising has seen spectacular growth in Spain in recent years, giving rise to what is now a well-established franchising system.

8. Other alternatives for investing in Spain

8.1. Acquisition of shares of an existing corporation or  of a limited liability company

The following table summarizes the fundamental legal steps involved in the acquisition of shares of an existing corporation or limited liability company:

 

Table 14
LEGAL STEPS AND COSTS

TRÁMITES.A.S.L.
Intervención de fedatario público

Necesaria en aquellos casos en que la normativa española o los estatutos sociales así lo exija o cuando las partes lo hayan acordado.

Necesaria siempre

Documentación que debe  çaportarse al notario
  • Título de propiedad de las acciones o participaciones que se trasmiten.

  • Poderes, en su caso, para comparecer en nombre de vendedor y comprador, según corresponda. En caso de haberse otorgado en el extranjero, debe estar debidamente legalizado (ver requisito 5 del apartado 4 anterior).


  • N.I.E./N.I.F., D.N.I. español del vendedor y comprador (ver apartado 3 anterior).

  • Manifestación sobre el titular real tanto para comprador como para vendedor, en caso de que sean personas jurídicas: podrá aportarse un acta notarial de manifestaciones de titularidad real o declararse en la propia escritura (ver requisito 4 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • Justificación documental del pago y el medio a través del cual se ha realizado (en concreto, si el precio se recibió con anterioridad al otorgamiento, su cuantía, así como si se efectuó con cheque u otro instrumento de giro o bien mediante transferencia bancaria).

Declaración posterior de la  inversión ante la D.G.C.I.

Presentación del modelo D-1A ante el Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad. Este modelo de declaración debe incluir obligatoriamente el protocolo y fecha del documento público por medio del que se formaliza la inversión, deberá firmarse telemáticamente por la persona física o jurídica que efectúa la inversión, su representante o persona autorizada al efecto, contrafirmada por el fedatario público y presentada telemáticamente a través de la sede electrónica de la Dirección General de Comercio Internacional e Inversiones.

En algunos casos, asimismo será necesario presentar declaración previa (véase el apartado 8 del Capítulo 1 para más información).

Impuesto sobre Transmisiones  Patrimoniales y Actos Jurídicos  Documentados en su modalidad  de Transmisiones Patrimoniales  Onerosas

Véase el Capítulo 3

Costes

Dependiendo de ante qué fedatario público se realice la transmisión:

  • Arancel notarial: la escala prevista para la constitución de una filial es también aplicable.

  • Arancel cónsul español en extranjero: la cuantía de la tasa será la establecida en la normativa vigente en materia de aranceles notariales.

In relation to this form of investment, with effect from January 1, 2017, shareholders of limited liability companies and (unlisted) corporations are recognized a right of withdrawal if at least one-third of the profit obtained from pursuit of the corporate purpose in the preceding year is not distributed as a dividend 32. In particular, this right is recognized as from the fifth year following the registration of the company at the Commercial Registry to shareholders who voted in favor of the distribution of dividends, who will have a period of one month as from the date of the annual shareholders’ meeting in which to exercise this right.

 

8.2. Acquisition of real estate located in Spain

Set out below are the main legal formalities to be performed for the acquisition of real estate located in Spain:

 

Table 15
ACQUISITION OF REAL ESTATE LOCATED IN SPAIN

TRÁMITEADQUISICIÓN INMUEBLE SITO EN ESPAÑA
Intervención de fedatario público

Debe formalizarse ante un notario español o un cónsul español en el extranjero.

Documentación que debe aportarse al notario
  • Título de propiedad del inmueble.

  • Poderes, en su caso, para comparecer en nombre de vendedor y comprador, según corresponda. En caso de haberse otorgado en el extranjero, debe estar debidamente legalizado (ver requisito 5 del apartado 4 anterior).


  • N.I.E./N.I.F./D.N.I. español del vendedor y comprador.

  • Manifestación sobre el titular real, tanto para comprador como para vendedor en caso de personas jurídicas, podrá aportarse un acta notarial de manifestaciones de titularidad real o declararse en la propia escritura de compraventa (ver requisito 4 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • Pago y el medio a través del cual se ha realizado (en concreto, si el precio se recibió con anterioridad al otorgamiento, su cuantía, así como si se efectuó con cheque u otro instrumento de giro o bien mediante transferencia bancaria).

Declaración posterior de la  inversión ante la D.G.C.I.

En algunos casos (véase el apartado 8 del Capítulo 1 para más información).

Impuestos

Véase el Capítulo 3

Inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad   correspondiente

Tan pronto como se formalice la escritura pública de compraventa ante notario y se hayan liquidado los impuestos correspondientes, deberá procederse a la inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad correspondiente para asegurar que los derechos de propiedad del adquirente quedan debidamente protegidos.

Costes
  • Arancel notarial: la escala prevista para la constitución de una filial es también aplicable.

  • Arancel cónsul español en extranjero: la cuantía de la tasa será la establecida en la normativa vigente en materia de aranceles notariales.

  • Arancel del Registro de la Propiedad: a efectos orientativos, el arancel asciende a 24 euros si el valor de la finca no excede de 6.010 euros, aplicándose además unos tipos variables que oscilan entre 0,00175% y 0,0002%. En todo caso, el arancel global no podrá superar los 2.181 euros.

8.3.  Acquisition of a business

As an alternative to the sale and purchase of shares in Spanish companies, the investment in Spain could be made by acquiring a business, either through an agreement for the sale and purchase of the assets and liabilities of a Spanish company, or through a global transfer of the assets and liabilities of a company.

 

Table 16
ACQUISITION OF A BUSINESS

TRÁMITECOMPRAVENTA DE ACTIVOS Y PASIVOSCESIÓN GLOBAL.
Requisitos

En caso de que el vendedor o el comprador fuera una persona jurídica y dicha venta o compra, respectivamente, fuera de un activo esencial (por ejemplo. el importe de la operación supera el 25% del valor de los activos que figuran en el último balance aprobado), será necesaria la aprobación de la operación por la junta de socios de la sociedad vendedora o de la sociedad compradora, según corresponda.

De conformidad con la Ley de Modificaciones Estructurales:

• Proyecto de cesión global, redactado por parte de los administradores de la sociedad cedente.

• Informe aplicando y justificando el proyecto de cesión global redactado por parte de los administradores de la sociedad cedente.

• Aprobación de la cesión global por parte de los socios/accionistas de la sociedad cedente.

• Publicación del acuerdo de cesión global aprobado por los socios de la sociedad cedente en el Boletín Oficial del Registro Mercantil y en un diario de gran circulación en la provincia del domicilio social de la sociedad cedente 33.

• Transcurso del plazo legal de oposición de acreedores: un mes desde la fecha de publicación del último anuncio del acuerdo de cesión global 34.

• Otorgamiento de escritura pública ante notario (ver trámite siguiente “Documentación que debe aportarse al notario”).

• Inscripción en el Registro Mercantil de la sociedad cedente (eficacia de la cesión) (ver trámite siguiente “Inscripción en el Registro correspondiente”).


Intervención de fedatario público

Debe formalizarse ante un notario español o un cónsul español en el extranjero.

Documentación que debe aportarse al notario
  • Título de propiedad de los activos.

  • Poderes, en su caso, para comparecer en nombre de vendedor y comprador, según corresponda. En caso de haberse otorgado en el extranjero, debe estar debidamente legalizado (ver requisito 5 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • N.I.E./N.I.F./D.N.I. español del vendedor y comprador.

  • Manifestación sobre el titular real, tanto para comprador como vendedor, en caso de personas jurídicas: podrá aportarse un acta notarial de manifestaciones de titularidad real o declararse en la propia escritura de compraventa (ver requisito 4 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • Pago y el medio a través del cual se ha realizado (en concreto, si el precio se recibió con anterioridad al otorgamiento, su cuantía, así como si se efectuó con cheque u otro instrumento de giro o bien mediante transferencia bancaria).

  • Título de propiedad de los activos.

  • Poderes, en su caso, para comparecer en nombre de sociedad cedente y cesionaria. En caso de haberse otorgado en el extranjero, debe estar debidamente legalizado (ver requisito 5 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • N.I.E./N.I.F. español de la sociedad cedente y cesionaria. • Manifestación sobre el titular real, tanto para comprador como vendedor, en caso de personas jurídicas: podrá aportarse un acta notarial de manifestaciones de titularidad real o declararse en la propia escritura de cesión global (ver requisito 4 del apartado 4 anterior).

  • Pago y el medio a través del cual se ha realizado (en concreto, si el precio se recibió con anterioridad al otorgamiento, su cuantía, así como si se efectuó con cheque u otro instrumento de giro o bien mediante transferencia bancaria).

  • Certificado del acuerdo de la junta o decisión de socio único de la sociedad cedente aprobando la cesión global.

  • Anuncio de la cesión en el BORME y en un diario de gran circulación en la provincia del domicilio social, en su caso.

Impuestos

Véase el Capítulo 3

Inscripción en el Registro   correspondiente

Tan pronto como se formalice la escritura pública de compra ante notario y se hayan liquidado los impuestos correspondientes, deberá procederse a la inscripción de los bienes inmuebles en el Registro de la Propiedad correspondiente así como de los bienes muebles con acceso al Registro de Bienes Muebles, para asegurar que los derechos de propiedad del adquirente quedan debidamente protegidos.

La eficacia se producirá con la inscripción en el Registro Mercantil del domicilio social de la sociedad cedente. Si la sociedad se extinguiera como consecuencia de la cesión, se cancelarán sus asientos registrales.

Además, los administradores de las sociedades intervinientes deberán presentar para su depósito en el Registro Mercantil un ejemplar del proyecto de cesión global.

Costes
  • Arancel notarial: la escala prevista para la constitución de una filial es también aplicable.

  • Arancel cónsul español en extranjero: la cuantía de la tasa será la establecida en la normativa vigente en materia de aranceles notariales.

  • Arancel del Registro de la Propiedad: a efectos orientativos, el arancel asciende a 24 euros si el valor de la finca no excede de 6.010 euros, aplicándose luego unos tipos que oscilan entre 0,175% y 0,02%. En todo caso, el arancel global no podrá superar los 2.181 euros.

  • Arancel del Registro de Bienes Muebles: a efectos orientativos, el arancel asciende a 2,4 euros si el valor del bien no excede de 600 euros, aplicándose luego unos aranceles que oscilan entre 6 euros y 13 euros hasta un valor del bien de 18.000 euros. Por el exceso sobre 18.000 euros se aplicará un arancel de 1,20 euros por cada 3.000 euros de exceso.

  • Arancel del Registro Mercantil: efectos orientativos, el arancel asciende a 6,010121 euros si el valor de los activos no excede de 3.005,06 euros, aplicándose luego unos tipos que oscilan entre 0,1% y 0,005 %. En todo caso, el arancel global no podrá superar los 2.181,673939 euros.

8.4. Venture capital entities

Another way to invest in Spain is to take up temporary stakes in the capital of companies established in Spain (i.e. non-real estate, nonfinancial and unlisted companies) by forming venture capital entities. Venture capital is defined as those investment strategies that channel financing directly and indirectly to companies, maximize the value of the company through management and professional advice, and divest from the company with a view to earning high gains for the investors. Through this channel, it is possible to invest both in start-up business projects (venture capital), and in already mature companies with a proven track record of profitability (private equity).

The current regulation of venture capital in Spain, recently introduced by Law 22/2014 of November 12, regulating venture capital entities, other closed-end collective investment undertakings and the management companies of closed-end collective investment undertakings (the “Venture Capital Law”), relaxes the legislative framework for these entities with, among others, the aim of helping them to raise more funds to be able to finance a larger number of companies.

9. Dispute resolution

9.1. Court proceedings

Judiciary Organic Law 6/1985, of July 1, regulates the constitution, operation and governance of courts and tribunals in Spain. For judicial purposes, the State is organized on a territorial basis into municipalities, judicial districts, provinces and Autonomous Communities, in which the Justices of the Peace, the Courts of First Instance, Examining Courts, Commercial Courts, Criminal Courts, Judicial Review Courts, Labor Courts, Provincial Appellate Courts and High Courts have jurisdiction. The Supreme Court and the National Appellate Court (Audiencia Nacional) (the latter only for certain specific matters) have jurisdiction over the entire national territory. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority with the sole exception of the guarantee of constitutional rights, which are safeguarded by the Constitutional Court.

Law 1/2000, the Spanish Civil Procedure Law, came into force on January 8, 2001. Criminal, labor and administrative proceedings are governed, respectively, by the Criminal Procedure Law approved by the Royal Decree dated September 14, 1882, Law 36/2011, of October 10, 2011, regulating the labor and social security jurisdiction, and Judicial Review Procedure Law 29/1998.

Although the Spanish litigation system should be considered as a continental law system, certain features of the Civil Procedure Law have their roots in the common law system. An example of this is the predominance of the oral proceeding. The Civil Procedure Law reduces formalities and promotes more expeditious proceedings and a quicker and more efficient response from the courts.

Spain has signed numerous bilateral and multilateral treaties on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judicial decisions.

9.2. Arbitration

Arbitration is increasingly viewed as a genuine alternative for the settlement of commercial disputes. Companies, aware of the greater speed, efficiency and flexibility of arbitration compared to action before the courts, are increasingly keen to turn to arbitration. Furthermore, Spanish courts increasingly support arbitration, both in terms of arbitration agreements and the enforcement of arbitral awards.

Arbitration Law 60/2003 of December 23, 2003 (the “Arbitration Law”) enables both individuals and companies to enter into agreements to submit to one or more arbitrators any disputes that have arisen or may arise on matters the regulation of which is not subject to any legal restrictions. The Arbitration Law is almost entirely inspired by the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. Royal Decree 231/2008, of February 15, regulates the Consumer Arbitration System for disputes arising between consumers or users and companies in relation to the legal or contractual rights granted to consumers.

The Arbitration Law allows for the granting of interim measures by the arbitrators. This power does not oust the jurisdiction of the courts under the Civil Procedure Law to grant interim measures while a decision is pending in an arbitration proceeding. The jurisdiction of courts and arbitrators to grant interim measures is concurrent, meaning that parties can request interim measures from the arbitral tribunal or from the court, without distinction.

Under the Arbitration Law it is possible to enforce an arbitral award handed down in Spain even where proceedings to set aside the award have already been brought. In this case, a court may only stay the enforcement of the award if the party against whom the award is being enforced posts security for an amount equal to the amount set out in the award, plus any potential damages arising from the delay in enforcement of the award.

The grounds for refusal to recognize or enforce arbitral awards contained in the Arbitration Law are based on the contents of the UNCITRAL Model Law, which in turn is based almost in its entirety on the New York Convention of 1958. Spain has ratified the New York Convention of 1958 and the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration signed in Geneva on April 21, 1961.

Spain’s adherence to a Model Law-inspired arbitration regime makes international arbitration in Spain more accessible for cross-border practitioners and their clients. The Arbitration Law brings Spain ever closer to becoming an ideal venue for international arbitration, particularly where Latin American interests are involved, given Spain’s convenient geographical location in southern Europe, its competitive cost structure compared to other European jurisdictions and its linguistic and cultural ties to Latin America.

10. Appendix

TABLE SUMMARIZING THE TAX TREATMENT GIVEN TO THE VARIOUS WAYS OF INVESTING IN SPAIN

FORMAS DE INVERSIÓN EN ESPAÑARÉGIMEN FISCAL
Constitución de una filial (sociedad anónima /   sociedad de responsabilidad limitada)

Régimen general del Impuesto sobre Sociedades regulado por la Ley del Impuesto sobre Sociedades (véase el apartado 2.1. del Capítulo 3 para información más detallada).

Apertura de Sucursal

Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes, con establecimiento permanente (Véase el apartado 2.3.1 del Capítulo 3 para información más detallada).

Agrupaciones de Interés Económico (AIE),   Uniones Temporales de Empresas (UTE)   y joint venture

Régimen especial de agrupaciones de interés económico, españolas y europeas, y de uniones temporales de empresas. En concreto:

  • No tributan por el Impuesto sobre Sociedades por la parte de la base imponible imputable a los socios residentes en territorio español.

  • Las bases imponibles, las deducciones y bonificaciones en cuota y las retenciones e ingresos a cuenta de las AIE o UTE se imputan/atribuyen a los socios residentes.

  • Los dividendos que correspondan a socios no residentes en territorio español de AIE o UTE españolas tributarán de conformidad con las normas establecidas en la Ley del Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes y los convenios para evitar la doble imposición suscritos por España.

(véase el apartado 2.1.12. del Capítulo 3 para información más detallada)

Contrato de distribución

La tributación de los no residentes en España que contraten con distribuidores españoles dependerá de si dicha contratación genera o no la existencia de un establecimiento permanente en España para los no residentes:

  • Si existe establecimiento permanente tributarán conforme las reglas contenidas para los establecimientos permanentes en la Ley del Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes o en los convenios para evitar la doble imposición aplicables (véase el apartado 2.3.1. del Capítulo 3 para información más detallada).

  • Si no existe un establecimiento permanente tributarán conforme a la misma normativa, pero para sujetos sin establecimiento permanente. En general, las rentas se calificarán como beneficios empresariales, que en términos generales estarán exentos si aplica un convenio para evitar la doble imposición (véase el apartado 2.3.2. del Capítulo 3 para información más detallada).

La existencia de establecimiento permanente o no dependerá, en general, de si se entiende que el no residente es realmente el que está distribuyendo en España a través de un lugar fijo de negocios o un agente dependiente.

Contrato de agencia

La tributación es similar a la establecida para los contratos de distribución.

La existencia de establecimiento permanente o no dependerá, en general, de si el agente tiene poderes para vincular al no residente.

Contrato de comisión

La tributación es similar a la establecida para los contratos de distribución y agencia.


La existencia de establecimiento permanente o no dependerá, en general, de si el comisionista tiene poderes para vincular al comitente no residente.

Contrato de franquicia

El pago que el franquiciado realiza al franquiciador, dependiendo de los diferentes servicios prestados, y derechos otorgados, tiene las siguientes consideraciones:

  • Puede ser considerara en parte como un canon y en parte como un rendimiento empresarial o;

  • Solamente como un canon.

(véase el apartado 7.6.4. del Capítulo 2 para información más detallada)

Compraventa de negocio (activos y pasivos   o cesión global de activos y pasivos)

Las principales implicaciones fiscales en las compraventas de negocios se localizan en el ámbito del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido y el Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales Onerosas y Actos Jurídicos Documentados. Así:

  • Si el conjunto de activos y pasivos transmitidos pueden considerarse una unidad económica autónoma, la compraventa no estará sujeta al Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido. En este caso, si entre los activos transmitidos hay inmuebles, la transmisión de estos últimos estará sujeta al Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales y Actos Jurídicos Documentados en su modalidad de transmisiones patrimoniales onerosas.

  • Si el conjunto de activos y pasivos transmitidos no pueden considerarse una unidad económica autónoma, la compraventa estará sujeta al Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido. En este caso, habría que analizar si, en función de los activos transmitidos, es de aplicación alguna exención. Si entre los activos transmitidos hay alguno inscribible y la operación se documenta en escritura pública, también se devengará el Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales y Actos Jurídicos Documentados en su modalidad de actos jurídicos documentados.

1. If a citizen of the European Union, a copy of the first page of the passport will suffice.
2. http://www.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/es/1200666550200/Tramite_C/1215326307711/Detalle.html
3. https://www.agenciatributaria.gob.es/AEAT.sede/tramitacion/G322.shtml
4. Bear in mind that a sworn translation must be made, both of the document and of its authentication and the apostille.
5. Form 036 can be acquired at offices of the tax authorities or downloaded directly from the tax authority website: www.aeat.es (Modelos y formularios / Declaraciones/Todas las Declaraciones).
6. If the signatory of form 036 is not registered as a shareholder or member of the managing body in the agreement of intent, authorization of the signatory must be provided.
7. With the following content: a) type of company, (b) corporate purpose, (c) initial capital stock, (d) registered office, (e) shareholders, and (f) the members of the managing body. A copy of the N.I.F./N.I.E./national identity document of the shareholders and members of the managing body must also be provided.
8. Bear in mind that a sworn translation must be made, both of the document and of its authentication and the apostille.
9. Except in the case of the entrepreneurial limited liability company, the rules for which are described in section 4.2 of Annex I.
10. Directorate-General of Registries and the Notarial Profession of January 18, 2012.
11. Articles 136 and 305 of Legislative Royal Decree 8/2015, of October 30, 2015, approving the revised General Social Security Law.
12.Applications for clear name search certificates may be made:
• Directly at the offices of the Central Commercial Registry with a printed application form. • By mail, by sending an application or letter to the offices of the Central Commercial Registry. The Registry will issue the certificate in return for payment on delivery to the address indicated in the application.
• By telematic means, by filling the application form on the website: www.rmc.es (http://www.rmc.es/Deno_solicitud.aspx).
13. Law 10/2010, of April 28, on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing requires the founders of a company to provide a declaration by the “beneficial owner”, that is, by the individual(s):
• on whose behalf it is intended to establish a business relationship or take part in transactions; and/or
• who, in the last instance, directly or indirectly own(s) or control(s) more than 25% of the capital stock or voting rights of a legal entity, or who by any other means exercise(s) direct or indirect control over the management of a legal entity. Companies listed on a regulated market of the European Union or other equivalent third country are excepted; and/or
• who hold or exercise control over 25% or more of the assets of a vehicle or legal entity that manages or distributes funds, or, where the beneficiaries are still to be designated, the category of persons for whose benefit the legal entity or vehicle is created or mainly acts.
14. There are two main procedures for such legalization:
• Execution of the powers of attorney in the presence of the Spanish Consul in the foreign investor’s home country. The foreign investor appears before the Spanish Consul, provides evidence of his identity and grants the related powers of attorney. If a company, rather than an individual, is the foreign shareholder, apart from his identity, the person appearing before the Spanish Consul must provide evidence of his capacity to grant the powers of attorney to the designated person in the name and on behalf of the shareholder. The Spanish Consul may demand any documentation he considers necessary and will proceed to grant a deed of power of attorney, in Spanish, to the designated person. This power of attorney may be used directly in Spain.
• Execution of the power of attorney in the presence of a foreign public authenticating officer. The foreign investor appears before the authenticating officer, provides evidence of his identity and grants the related power of attorney. If the foreign investor is a company, its representative shall execute the power of attorney in the presence of the public authenticating officer, who will certify the document as well as the identity and capacity of the representative of the foreign investor to grant the power of attorney. The signature of the foreign authenticating officer would also require subsequent legalization (either by the “apostille” procedure approved by The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, or by a Spanish Consul abroad). Under this second procedure, the power of attorney would normally be issued in the language of the authenticating officer who attests to the act, meaning a sworn translation into Spanish would also have to be provided.
15. It will not be necessary to evidence the reality of the monetary contributions in the case of entrepreneurial limited liability companies (see Annex 1, section 4.2).
16. In this connection, in accordance with the provisions of Law 12/2012 on Urgent Measures to Deregulate Trade and Certain Services, establishments with a useful area of up to 750 m2 whose activity is included in the Schedule to the Law will not be required to obtain an opening and operating license beforehand, but rather to submit a solemn declaration or prior communication.
17. For these purposes, it is established that the standard form of public deed will be used to form a limited liability company with and without standard bylaws (art. 6 Royal Decree 421/2015, of May 29).
18. It will not be necessary to evidence the reality of the monetary contributions in the case of entrepreneurial limited liability companies (see Chapter 2, section 4.2).
19. It will not be necessary to evidence the reality of the monetary contributions in the case of entrepreneurial limited liability companies 9.
20. The decision by the Directorate-General of Registries and the Notarial Profession of January 26, 2012, establishes that in forming companies domiciled in territories where rules or instructions have been handed down regarding the settlement of transfer tax (including under the corporate transactions heading), the relevant tax return must be submitted together with the deed of formation at the relevant Commercial Registry.
21. In accordance with the provisions of Law 12/2012 on Urgent Measures to Deregulate Trade and Certain Services, establishments with a useful area of up to 750 m2 whose activity is included in the Schedule to the Law will not be required to obtain an opening and operating license beforehand, but rather to submit a solemn declaration or prior communication.
22. A limited liability entrepreneur can achieve that his/her liability and any creditor’s action, stemming from business or professional debts, do not extend to the exempt asset, as an exception to what is provided for in article 1911 of the Civil Code and article 6 of the Commercial Code, in accordance with article 8.2 of the Entrepreneurs Law and provided that this absence of connection is disclosed in the manner established in that Law.
23. In accordance with the provisions of Law 12/2012 on Urgent Measures to Deregulate Trade and Certain Services, establishments with a useful area of up to 750 m2 whose activity is included in the Schedule to the Law will not be required to obtain an opening and operating license beforehand, but rather to submit a solemn declaration or prior communication.
24. Except in the case of an entrepreneurial limited liability company. For these purposes, please see section 4.2.4 of Annex I.
25. Article 10.1 of Legislative Royal Decree 5/2004, of March 5, approving the revised Nonresident Income Tax Law.
26. Spain has tax treaties in force with all EU countries except Cyprus.
27. The general corporate income tax rate is 25%.
28. Withholding tax rate = 19%.
29. Exempt, provided certain conditions are met.
30. The withholding tax rate on dividends used in this example is 10% (the most common rate in the tax treaties entered into by Spain).
31. The branch profit tax will apply if provided for in the corresponding tax treaty (e.g. the U.S., Canada and Brazil).
32. Article 348.bis of Legislative Royal Decree 1/2010, of July 2, 2010, approving the Revised Capital Companies Law, the application of which was suspended until December 31, 2016.
33. The resolution approving the global transfer need not be published where the resolution is notified individually in writing to all of the shareholders and creditors. In addition, the global transfer plan and the directors’ report must be made available to the workers’ representatives.
34. In the case of notification in writing to all of the shareholders and creditors, one month from the sending of the notification to the last one.