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Today we are going to analyse the opportunities Spain offers for foreigners or Spaniards who have lived abroad for some time and do not want to pay taxes on their foreign income.

For many, living in Europe, and specifically in Spain, is a dream. This is still the case, even though the political and social climate there has continued to worsen, especially in recent years. In the end, there is no doubt that Spain (at least for the time being) still has a much better security and infrastructure than countries in Latin America or Africa.

In our consultations, we see two very different trends among our clients in this regard.

On the one hand, we have those who live in European countries and are eager to leave for freer and less ‘progressive’ and ‘leftist’ countries in America, Africa, or Asia. The tax burden is a major reason here, but also the advance of socialism and the decreasing freedom that exists in European countries in general and in the European Union in particular. Of course, we also have cases of people looking for new economic opportunities, a lower cost of living, a better climate in winter or a less regulated and less bureaucratised life.

On the other hand, there are our non-European clients, who, tired of the instability and chaos often experienced in Latin American countries, want to emigrate and live in a European country. In many cases, of course, their country of preference is Spain, both for the language, the climate and the lifestyle.

There are many factors that attract non Europeans to move to Europe. Education and employment opportunities are often a major attraction. Many European countries offer high quality education and job opportunities in a variety of fields. Cultural life (museums, theatres, concerts, etc.) also attract many. And, of course, the safety and high standard of living couple with the good infrastructure in many European countries are a major attraction. Social peace and political stability are also key factors for those looking for a safe place to live and raise a family.

And within Europe, for many non Europeans, Spain is the first choice as a country to live in. They have a very pleasant climate there, with hot summers and mild winters, and many, many hours of sunshine. Nothing to do with what they would have in Ireland, the UK, Poland or Germany. The Spanish openness make it oftens easier for strangers to feel at home in Spain. It is also very easy to find other expats in Spain. The food is excellent…

So, we decided it was time to write an article about the opportunities Spain offers for foreigners or Spaniards who have been living abroad for a long time and do not want to pay a lot of taxes.

This article is addressed to people who want to live in a European country without having a European passport, but also to people who, being European or even Spanish, have spent a long period of time outside Spain.

Depending on your case, this article can help you create a long-term plan to avoid paying a lot of taxes for the next six or eleven years (depending on whether you live in Spain now or not). If you are currently living in Spain, you will have to be willing to stop being a tax resident there for at least five years, time that you could use to visit a Latin American country (Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc.), learn English (Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, United Kingdom, Emirates, Malaysia) or another language (Eastern Europe) and, at the same time, pay little or no tax.

Throughout the article we will talk about the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime, the Startup Law and the digital nomad visa.

Let us start from the beginning.

The expatriate tax regime in Spain (Beckham Law)

In short, the tax regime for workers posted to Spanish territory, also known as the Beckham Law, is a regulation that was introduced in Spain in 2005 and is detailed in article 93 of the Personal Income Tax Law (IRPF). As you can imagine, its nickname comes from the famous footballer David Beckham, one of the first to benefit from it.

This regime allowed foreign workers who moved to Spain to work and pay tax only on their income generated within the country, and not on their foreign income.

Although the Beckham Law was initially designed to attract foreign workers, over time things have changed: Nationals are now also eligible for the Beckham Law, and athletes have been excluded. Non-sporting workers, whether Spanish or foreign, who change their tax residence to Spain due to a change in their place of work, can now benefit from this regime.

The Startups Law (Law 28/2022 of 21 December) brought some modifications to the Expatriate Tax Regime (also know as Beckham Law) which makes it somewhat more interesting (we have already published an article on the Beckham Law in the past which you can take a look at if you want to review how the regime worked before). The regime is more interesting now, with the Startup Law, because it reduces the period of non-residence in Spain to five years and allows teleworkers, entrepreneurs and professionals to apply to the scheme, as well as including spouses and children under 25.

The requirements of the Expatriate Tax Regime as of 2023

The first thing to make clear is that the Expatriate regime is available equally to everyone moving to Spain, regardless of their nationality. In other words, whether you are Spanish, European or from outside Europe, you could benefit from this tax regime if you meet the other requirements.

Now, let us take a look at what the three requirements consist of:

On the one hand, of course, you must not have been a tax resident in Spain for the last 5 years (previously it was 10). You must be able to prove that you have not been resident in Spain in case they question it.

On the other hand, the change of residence must be a consequence of one of the following points:

  1. Employment contract in Spain (except for athletes) by an employer in Spain. It may also be that the employer ordering the transfer to Spain is a foreign company, in which case it must be to provide services to an entity resident in Spain. The move to Spain can be justified by obtaining a new job or because your former employer is sending you to Spain (you will need to be able to present a letter of posting).

On the other hand, this law also includes teleworkers, specifically those who have the International Telework Visa (this is the digital nomad visa, whose operation and requirements are explained below) established in Law 14/2013, of 27 September, on support for entrepreneurs and their internationalisation.

  1. Acquisition of the status of administrator of a Spanish entity. The change in the start-up law allows the company to be yours unless it is an asset-holding company, in which case it cannot be a related company (i.e. it cannot be yours, or that of a relative of yours, or of a company in which you own >25% of it, etc.).
  2. Carry out an economic activity in Spain that qualifies as an entrepreneurial activity, in accordance with the procedure described in article 70 of Law 14/2013, of 27 September.
  3. Carrying out in Spain an economic activity by a highly qualified professional who provides services to start-ups within the meaning of Article 3 of Law 28/2022 of 21 December on the promotion of the start-up ecosystem, or who carries out training, research, development, and innovation activities, receiving remuneration that represents in total more than 40% of the total business, professional and personal income.

The third and final requirement is that the person has no income obtained through a permanent establishment in Spain. This is the case unless the person applies for the regime under the ‘entrepreneurial activity’ or ‘qualified professionals’ route.

All this means that if you have not lived in Spain for five years (and you have correctly processed and communicated your change of residence to the tax authorities when you left), you could return to live there under the Beckham Law.

To do this as a Spanish or European citizen, the easiest way is to have a contract as an administrator or employee of a Spanish company (which, unlike before, can be yours in its entirety as long as it is not an asset-holding company). However, the nature of the work you do has to justify your move to Spain. You could, for example, set up a Spanish company to expand your business into Spanish territory and send yourself there as administrator.

Note that, as an intra-EU citizen, being self-employed generally does not work, unless you are carrying out a business activity that the ENISA body must have approved.

On the other hand, if you are a non-EU citizen, your best option is probably to go under the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime, starting with a digital nomad visa. For this to work, the work you do has to be fully telematic. We will talk in depth about how to acquire such a visa in the relevant section.

Benefits of the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime (Beckham Law)

The benefits of the Expatriate Tax Regime are the same for both normal residents and those benefiting from the digital nomad visa and apply for six years (the year you arrive in Spain plus another five years).

In general, we can say that, by taking advantage of this regime, you are considered a tax resident in Spain, but you are only taxed as a non-resident for the income you earn in the country, not worldwide. But let us go into a little more detail.

This regime allows you to be taxed only on earned income earned inside or outside Spain. Such income would be taxed at a flat rate of 24% for the first €600,000 of income (a considerable reduction compared to the general tax rates which can be as high as 47% from €300,000 for normal residents). After that, from €601,000, you would pay 47% tax. Logically, the smartest thing to do here is to make sure that you do not have such a high salary. Income and capital gains of Spanish origin would be taxed in the normal way (according to the IRPF Law, i.e. 19% up to €6,000, 21% from 6 to 50 thousand, 23% from 50 to 200 thousand, 27% from 200 to 300 thousand and 28% from 300 thousand and above).

As we said before, if you have income generated abroad, you will not have to pay tax on it in Spain. This can include income from investments in real estate in other countries, capital gains from the sale of shares or property abroad, dividends, and even income from foreign economic activities (you could, for example, have an LLC in the US or a company in Dubai and don’t pay taxes on that income as long as the company has enough economic substance).

In other words, in general, if the money has not been earned in Spain, no tax is paid on it there, with the important exception that earned income, even if foreign, would be taxed.

On the other hand, this regime also has the advantage that you do not have to file the annoying 720 tax form to report your wealth outside Spain. And, furthermore, you will not have to pay wealth tax on your foreign assets (yes, you would pay it on those located in Spain), nor will you have to worry about the tax on large fortunes.

It is important to note that this regime does not allow you to avoid social security contributions. In other words, you will have to pay social security in the normal way on work carried out in Spain, with the additional disadvantage that you will not be able to deduct the expense.

Some disadvantages of the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime

We did not want to forget to comment on the possible problems that this regime could have.

On the one hand, it is important to bear in mind that, as things currently stand, the Spanish tax authorities will most likely not issue you with a tax certificate for agreement purposes, so you will not be able to use the double taxation agreements signed by Spain. Moreover, even if you were to obtain such a certificate, there are some agreements (such as the one signed with the UK) that directly exclude its use in the case of using a scheme such as the one granted by the Beckham law.

Since you will be taxed as a non-resident, you lose certain advantages that are available to people who file as a resident, such as certain minimum tax-free amounts, expenses that cannot be deducted (e.g. deduction for minimum family or children, deduction of social security contributions), tax exemptions (e.g. on severance pay).

Of course, if for some reason it would suit you better (because you might no longer have foreign income or because your salary in Spain is no longer very high, for example), you could opt out of the regime. If it is clear to you from the beginning that it is not the best option, you can also choose not to apply for the Expatriate Tax Regime from the beginning. Our consultations can help you decide what to do.

Waiver and exclusion from the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime

If necessary, you could decide to opt out of the Expatriate Tax Regime. This would be a voluntary self-exclusion and would have the effect that from the following year onwards you would be taxed in the normal way. To opt out, you must apply between November and December of the year before the year in which you want to stop being under the scheme.

It is also possible that you may be excluded from the regime because you do not meet the established requirements. In this case, you would be excluded from the regime from 1 January of the year in which you no longer meet the requirements.

Whether you have been excluded or decide to exclude yourself, you should bear in mind that you will not be able to re-enter the regime even if you wish to, at least not until you have lived outside Spain for five years.

By the way, it is interesting to know that if, after you have successfully become an expatriate in Spain, you are made redundant from your job, you can continue to enjoy the Expatriate Tax Regime. In this case, you can either be unemployed or find a new job at some point and continue under the regime.

Steps to benefit from the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime

If you meet the requirements, the procedure to join the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime is relatively straightforward and consists of the following steps:

  1. Go to Spain: If you do not go on a telework visa, there must be a direct connection between going to Spain and starting your activity there. You cannot go to Spain to look for a job: you must go there with the employment contract.
  2. Living legally in Spain: This is a fundamental requirement, as you must consider Spain as your main residence. If you are an EU citizen, this will not be a problem. If you do not have a European passport, we can help you get a residence permit or a telework visa (for digital nomads).
  3. Obtain the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) if you are not a national: This identification number is unique for every foreign person living in Spain. It is essential for several purposes, including filing your tax returns. Our partners can help you with this.
  4. Applying for the Expatriate Tax Regime: It is essential that you apply for the Expatriate Tax Regime within the first six months once you have started your activity in Spain (social security registration). You should use form 149 for this purpose.
  5. Submit documentation: Of course, you will also have to provide information about your work in Spain. At the very least, you will be asked for your company to certify the employment relationship and the start date of the activity. If the posting is ordered by a foreign entity, you will need the letter of posting with the start date of the activity in Spain. If you are moving to Spain as a director of a local company, you will need a document from that company certifying that you are a director and since when. Of course, if the Tax Agency requests any additional documents, you will need to send them to the authorities. You will have a maximum of 10 days to do so.

This (and the previous one) are points for which we advise you to seek the support of a specialised lawyer or tax advisor, such as those with whom we collaborate.

  1. Obtain proof: You must ensure that you receive proof that the Expatriate Tax Regime applies to you. The receipt is issued by the Spanish tax authorities within ten working days.
  2. Tax declaration: During your first tax return in Spain, you must indicate that you want to take advantage of the Expatriate Tax Regime. You will file the tax return using form 151.
  3. Enjoy the tax benefits: Once you have filed your tax return and have been admitted to the regime, the tax benefits will be available to you.

You would then be living in Spain under the Expatriate Tax Scheme.

There are usually no problems with being granted this scheme, but bear in mind that it can later be disputed and, if they find that you do not meet the requirements, they will take it away. That is why we advise you to always seek the help of a specialist who will support you if there are any problems at some point.

Some of the situations in which you could be denied the Expatriate Tax Regime are:

  1. Failure to meet the basic requirements: This includes not residing in Spain, not moving to Spain because of a job in Spain (if you are on a telework visa this is not taken into account), not having a NIE, or not applying for the regime within the first six months of your residence in Spain, having been a tax resident in Spain for the last five years (you must be able to prove that this has not been the case).
  2. Tax fraud: If you are caught trying to evade tax or committing any kind of tax fraud, you will be refused access to the scheme.
  3. Failure to meet annual tax obligations: Once you are accepted into the regime, you still have to keep up to date with your tax obligations, such as filing your tax return. If you fail to do so, your tax benefits could be taken away and you could be kicked out of the regime.

There are certain situations in which you can be excluded from the Expatriate Tax Regime even after you have been granted it. One of these would be if they somehow discover that you have been tax resident in Spain for the five years prior to your move. Another situation is if it is not clear that the move to Spain was justified by the work you do there (as we said, this is not the case for the digital nomad visa).

Other options in Europe

For many non Europeans who want to move to Europe, Spain is one of the easiest and most convenient options, but we should not forget that there are other interesting countries. For those who already speak English, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, or the United Kingdom could be quite interesting options. For those who have no problem learning other languages and getting to know more different cultures, Bulgaria, Croatia, Switzerland, or Romania could be an alternative. And, in certain cases, for those with higher incomes, Italy or Greece could also be on the list of options.

Some of the most interesting regimes in Europe are the non-dom in the UK, Malta, Ireland, the special non-dom in Cyprus, the schemes in Greece, Italy and Switzerland that allow you to pay a fixed amount, and the now expired Portuguese NHR.

Until the end of 2023, the Portuguese NHR was one of the most popular regimes, but now that it has disappeared, perhaps the Spanish scheme could be used as a substitute. Let us take a brief look at how they compare.

The Portuguese NHR allowed you to pay 20% tax on income from work done in the country, 0% if the work was done abroad. In addition, you were not taxed on dividends received from countries with which Portugal had signed a double taxation agreement.

Under the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime, you pay 24% on your earned income, regardless of where the work was done. The amount rises to 47% if you earn more than €600,000 per year. On the other hand, all foreign income is tax-free: dividends, capital gains, interest… In both Portugal and Spain you have to add the social security contribution in the case of earned income, of course.

If we compare the Spanish regime with the typical non-dom regimes (UK, Ireland or Malta), we will see that under these regimes we do not pay tax on foreign income not brought into the country. This is, in many cases, a great advantage of the Spanish scheme, as no matter what you do with the money, you can invest or spend it in Spain without paying tax on it.

Be that as it may, the idea here is not to portray Spain as the best alternative in Europe, in fact, the options of Cyprus, Romania, Malta or Bulgaria are still much more interesting and easier for most people who do not mind where to live in Europe as long as they can save a lot in taxes. However, we do think it is important to realise that living in Spain under the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime is not a bad option, at least during the 6 years of its tax benefits.

The Digital Nomad Visa in Spain

The digital nomad visa is part of the Startup Law we talked about above and can be combined with the Expatriate Tax Regime to optimise your taxes while living in Spain. We have talked in depth above about the tax benefits you can get with this regime.

In short, it consists of a visa for non-EU foreigners (British, Canadian, Australian, Turkish among many others) who work as employees or self-employed and want to work remotely for companies outside Spain, using exclusively computer, telematic or telecommunication means. If you are self-employed, you can receive up to a maximum of 20% of your income from Spanish companies.

The visa is granted for one year. However, if the visa holder can continue to meet the requirements, it is possible to apply for renewal again and again (although you could also apply for another type of visa or residence permit). It is important to note that renewal is not automatic and requires a reassessment of the holder’s financial situation and the fulfilment of other conditions.

The digital nomad visa is also available to family members of the main applicant. However, it should be noted that there are specific additional income or savings requirements for each family member as discussed below.

Incidentally, it is important to note that all years spent in Spain through this route count towards Spanish nationality.

As we said, once you have the digital nomad visa that allows you to live legally in Spain, you can register with the Expatriate Tax Regime in order to enjoy its tax advantages.

Thus, employees who move to Spain without being ordered to do so by their employer, and who work remotely using computer and telematic means, are eligible for the regime; a requirement that will be deemed to be fulfilled when they have the visa for international teleworking provided for in Law 14/2013, on support for entrepreneurs and their internationalisation.

Apart from the visa for digital nomads, there are other ways to obtain a residence permit in Spain, such as the Golden Visa (residence permit for investment) or the non-profit residence permit. You can contact us if you need help with any of them.

That way, a non-EU foreigner who does not meet the requirements for the digital nomad visa, could obtain a Golden Visa by buying a property for at least €500,000 in Spain and then travel as administrator of a Spanish company to Spain, enjoying the Expatriate Tax Regime.

Another option would be for the non-EU foreigner to go to Spain because of an employment contract with a Spanish company. In this case, an attempt could be made to obtain a temporary residence permit and work as an employee.

In any case, let us now take a closer look at how to apply for a telework visa and what the requirements are.

Applying for a digital nomad visa

To apply for a digital nomad visa in Spain, you must follow the steps below:

  1. Download and complete the visa application form.
  2. Gather the necessary documentation, including valid passport, criminal record certificate, health insurance, proof of sufficient income and proof of remote work.
  3. Make an appointment at your nearest Spanish consulate or embassy to submit your application. It is also possible to apply for the visa from Spain if you are legally present there: You must then submit the application to the Immigration Office corresponding to your place of residence in Spain.
  4. You will also need a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE) to apply for a digital nomad visa in Spain. You can apply for it at the corresponding Spanish embassy or consulate in your country, or in Spain, either in person or remotely.
  5. Pay the visa application fee.
  6. If you have met the requirements, your application will be approved and you will receive your visa.

The visa is granted for a period of 1 year, after which you can either continue to apply for the visa every year or move on to apply for a 3-year residence permit, the International Telework visa. In either case, after five years you could apply for the permanent permit, which no longer obliges you to spend at least half the year in the country in order to retain it.

As mentioned above, you can be in Spain on a tourist or similar visa at the time you apply for the telework visa, but you must be there legally.

If you need help with the procedure, you can contact us.

Requirements for applying for a telework visa in Spain

Now, let us see what the requirements are.

As we have already said several times, the visa for digital nomads is not available for EU citizens, i.e. you must be a non-EU citizen.

You can be self-employed and have different clients or you can be employed and have only one employer who allows you to telework. You can also work for your own company, but it must be a foreign (non-Spanish) company and must be at least three months old. On the other hand, your main employer must not be a Spanish company. If you are self-employed, you can offer services to a Spanish company, but this income must not exceed 20% of your total income.

If you are an employee, you must be able to prove the employment relationship and the employer must certify in a letter that you are employed remotely.

If you work for your own company, you will have to provide certain information. On the one hand, a certificate from the commercial register or similar that shows the date of incorporation of the company and the type of activity it carries out, and, on the other hand, some kind of tax declaration.

If you are self-employed, you must be working for at least one company outside Spain. You will have to be able to prove your work activity through invoices or contracts with your clients and it must be understood from the type of activity you carry out that it is possible to telework.

To obtain the visa you will have to prove that you are a graduate or postgraduate from a prestigious university, or have professional training from a prestigious business school, or have at least 3 years of professional experience in the corresponding field. You must also be able to prove the existence of a real and continuous activity on the part of the company for which the applicant works (it should have existed for at least one year).

You will have to take out health insurance to cover you during your stay in Spain and you must also have the necessary financial means to live there. In concrete terms, this means that the main applicant for the telework visa must prove (from bank statements and invoices) that he/she has an income equivalent to 200% of the Minimum Interprofessional Wage, which is equivalent to around €30,250 per year right now (by 2024 this could grow considerably, given who is in government). If you are also applying for a visa for your spouse or children, you must prove income of 75% (€22,688), and for the remaining 25% (€7,563).

Another way of proving means would be to show bank statements showing enough savings to live on for a year, rather than a fixed income.

In other words, you could set up a tax-free US LLC or a company in Dubai, Bulgaria or Romania with us and four months later apply for a visa.

Getting a Spanish passport

A great advantage of living in Spain is that you can obtain citizenship by naturalisation. In this case, Latin Americans, Andorrans, Filipinos and Portuguese have a great advantage, as after only two years living legally in Spain they could become naturalised Spaniards.

If you are not originally from one of these countries, you would have to spend much more time living in Spain before being able to apply for citizenship, specifically ten years of continuous legal residence immediately prior to applying for citizenship.

On the other hand, if you are married to a Spanish person, you could apply for nationality after only 1 year living legally in Spain. Also, if your child was born in Spain, you could apply for his or her nationality after only 1 year.

It is interesting to note that the time you have been living in Spain while taxed as a non-resident (i.e. under the Expatriate Tax Regime or Beckham Law) is also taken into account. It also counts if you have been living in Spain with the digital nomad visa or other residence permits.

Of course, if you are a national of a European country, the Spanish passport may not have so many advantages for you (besides, being European, the waiting time until you can apply for it is quite long), but if you are Latin American, this passport can open doors for you and your family to live anywhere in Europe, which is a great advantage.

We are not going to talk here about the procedures to get the Spanish passport (the article is already long enough), but we do want to tell you that you can buy our Citizenship Encyclopedia if you want more information about it and that we can help you through our partners to apply for it and get it. If you are interested, please contact us.

Our prices and services

Our partners can help you with a variety of needs, for example:

  • Applying for the Expatriate Tax Regime,
  • tax returns as a normal resident or expatriate,
  • investment in real estate or land,
  • application for citizenship,
  • with residence permits (Golden visa, telework visa, permanent residence permit, non-profit, etc.),
  • NIE application,
  • incorporation of a Spanish or foreign company,
  • and with the creation of a Spanish company paying only 4% in the ZEC zone (Zona Especial Canaria).

Below are some prices so that you can get an idea of the costs that could be involved in working with us. In any case, please note that they are only indicative and should be confirmed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Application for the Expatriate Tax Regime including tax consultancy with our Spanish tax lawyer: between €2,600 and €3,500.
  • Digital Nomad Visa: €2,500.
  • Filing of form 149 (to apply for the regime): €600.
  • Investor visa including golden visa and tax consultancy with our Spanish tax lawyer: €2,950.
  • Obtaining your NIE remotely by showing up at the last appointment: €450.

If you want to add the consultancy service to the application for the Expatriate Tax Regime, the investor visa or the digital nomad visa, we offer a discount of €200 on the price.

Answers to some frequently asked questions

Do the years spent living under the Expatriate Tax Regime count for exit tax?

Yes, they do count for exit tax, as in reality you are considered a resident with the advantage that you declare as a non-resident on your earned income.

Is it true that you are only taxed on Spanish income?

This is not true at all, you are taxed on national or international earned income, but only on national capital gains and savings income.

Do you have to report your assets abroad?

No, you do not have to file form 720.

Can you apply for a tax certificate and benefit from the double taxation agreements signed by Spain?

Although you are considered a tax resident, you do not have access to Spanish double taxation agreements.

Do you have to pay wealth tax or tax on large fortunes?

You would not pay wealth tax or wealth tax on your foreign assets, but you would pay wealth tax on your domestic assets.

Could you use your own LLC and not pay tax on your foreign income?

Yes, in principle you could use an LLC and not pay tax on the income from economic activities. It would be important that you are not the manager and the work is done from outside (effective management/economic substance).

Can I just register a foreign company and not pay taxes in Spain?

It’s important to note that the foreign company will need to have economic substance outside of Spain if you don’t want the profits obtained by it to be considered of Spanish source. Remember that Spanish incoume would end up paying taxes in Spain.

Can I be sure that I will be able to benefit from the Expatriate Tax Scheme?

If you meet the requirements and can prove it, yes, but if you make any mistakes, you could be disqualified. That is why we advise you to always seek the advice of a specialist.

If I qualify for the Expatriate Tax Regime, can my family also benefit from the scheme?

Yes, your spouse and dependants under 25 years of age can also apply.

Is the scheme automatically activated if I meet the requirements?

No, you must apply for it within a maximum period of 6 months from the date you register with the Spanish social security system.

How long can I benefit from the regime?

You can be under the Expatriate Tax Regime for five years plus the year in which you apply (six years in total).

If I get fired from my job, what happens?

If you lose your job, you can continue to benefit from the regime, even if you are unemployed and cannot find another job. You just have to be able to prove that you moved to Spain for work, not that you kept it during the six years you can take advantage of the regime.


As we have seen in this article, the Expatriate Tax Regime is a somewhat complicated regime, which in the past very few could use (practically only foreigners who had never lived in Spain before). There had to be an employment contract with a Spanish company that you could not own.

Now, thanks to the Spanish Startup Law, things have changed quite a lot. The regime is still worse than others, like the Cypriot, Maltese or Irish non-dom, for example; but for those who want to live in Spain, it has become an option to do so for six years without paying tax on their foreign income at all. It is even an interesting option for Spaniards who have spent at least five years living abroad and want to return home.

We could say that the Spanish Expatriate Tax Regime is the successor to the Portuguese NHR, with somewhat higher requirements for EU nationals (for non-EU nationals it may even be simpler), but which are within the realm of possibility for many.

We are not going to comment on the political, economic or social situation in Spain. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that it isn`t in a good place at the moment and that it does not seem to be getting any better.

However, the reality is that for someone who applies the Flag Theory correctly, i.e. has their investments, business and savings outside Spain, under this scheme, they need not worry too much about the current situation. In fact, you would not have to pay taxes or even report your foreign assets.

Thus, you can simply enjoy living in a country where the standard of living is quite good and, if things change or stop working out for you, you can pack your bags and go to another country. In some cases, perhaps even with a new passport in your pocket that would open the doors to all of Europe.

None of us in the team currently live in Spain, but, without a doubt, if we were to go one day, we would do so taking advantage of this regime which, as you have seen, allows you to live without paying taxes on your foreign income.

Now, if you would like us to help you emigrate to Spain under the new Beckham Law, whether as a self-employed person, worker or administrator of a company, as a Spanish citizen, EU or non-EU citizen, you can contact us. Of course, we can also help you with procedures such as citizenship, obtaining the Golden Visa and other types of visas and permits.

If you’re not sure what your best option is, you can book a consultation with us.

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Have you ever wondered how you can optimise your taxes if you have a business…

Globalisation as a career springboard: how digital nomads and freelancers are succeeding all over the world

May 4, 2024
We are proud to publish on our blog a very special article written by Dirk…
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