A/ Steps to form a company in Spain

0. Get a NIE number

All directors and shareholders of the company need a NIE. The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is the identification number in Spain for everyone who is not a Spanish citizen. It is the counterpart to a DNI for Spanish citizens. Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens get issued a NIE. The NIE is not a fiscal residency identification; you can have a NIE and be fiscal resident in another country.

1.- Register the company name at the national Mercantile Register, making sure the name chosen is unique.

This can take between 4 and 6 days. You have to provide three names. If all three names you provide are rejected, then we will ask you for three more names, and repeat the process. For this reason, it’s important that your third choice is a safe choice that will ensure approval.

2.- Statutes and by-laws

Draft the statutes and by-laws for the company’s constitution

3.- Get a temporary tax ID number (CIF) for the company.

The company needs a Spanish tax ID (CIF), which is the VAT number. You will have the tax ID the day you sign at the notary. With the tax ID, your Spanish company can do business anywhere.

If the company will be exchanging frequent invoices with companies in the EU but outside Spain, then you may want to be listed in the EU VAT registry (VIES) so you won’t have to bill and be billed for VAT in your EU transactions.

4.- Communicate with the notary.

Review all documents and make all necessary preparations for the signing.

5.- To sign at the notary's office.

Completing this process requires that you have a NIE. Getting a NIE may take time, so you should begin that process as soon as possible.

6.- Pay the transfer tax/stamp duty.

Payment of Asset Transfer Tax.

7.- Register the company at the local Mercantile Registry.

This can take between 15 and 30 days. We cannot guarantee this time, since this depends on the Mercantile Registry, but this is the usual time frame.

8.- Publish the company information in the Mercantile Registry's Boletín Oficial

The BORME is the official advertising body of the Mercantile Registry  for legal acts that by law must be made public.

9. Get a permanent tax ID number (CIF) for the company.

The CIF was the tax ID for all companies registered in Spain. It consists of a letter followed by 8 digits (BXXXXXXXX). The letter represents the type of company (e.g. Spanish SL company BXXXXXXXX or Spanish SA AXXXXXXXX). This number also served as a Spanish VAT number. In fact, the CIF doesn’t exist anymore. Since 2008 the Spanish identification number is the NIF.

B/ Tax and accounting obligations for a company in Spain

You are required to file tax forms every quarter, as well as yearly tax forms. You are also required to fill out four accounting books and present them yearly to the Mercantile Register. These requirements hold true even if your company has no financial movement.