How to Stop Being Self-Employed and Deregister From the Autonomo System in Spain

If you want to stop being self-employed in Spain then the good news is that deregistering from the autonomo system is much easier than registering to join it in the first place. Spain is well-known for its high level of bureaucracy and its love of paperwork, and this is true of stopping being self-employed too, but the process isn’t the most time-consuming you could be engaged with.

If you’re freelance career is over, either because it's time to retire, or because you’re going back to the office, or even because you’re leaving Spain, then here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

Reasons to Stop Being Self Employed in Spain

During the pandemic, self-employed individuals and freelancers were particularly badly hit, with many struggling to earn enough to pay the €283 per month social security contributions they were liable for, as work dried up and clients tried to save money by bringing many projects in-house. If you aren’t earning enough to pay this social security payment each money then the best option is to deregister from the autonomos system (known in Spanish as darse de baja como autónomo) , and stop being self employed. Whilst this will mean you can’t undertake freelance work any more, it will also mean you don’t have any more outgoings to social security: and you can deregister from the system up to 3 times a year without paying the full fee for the month in which you do so, so when you are offered work again, you can always re-register to the system and pick off where you left off. Seasonal workers, individuals who work on a project to project basis, and those who are struggling to recover from a pandemic will all find this system useful.

If you are sole trader and don’t have an employees, or anyone working under you, then you can deregister online, provided you have a digital certificate. If you don’t have a digital certificate then your gestor will have to complete this process on your behalf. And if you employ other people as part of your business then the process is a little more complicated, as you will need to visit both the Hacienda and the local Social Security office in person.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Being Self Employed

  • Your first step should be to inform the hacienda of your plans. This is important because the hacienda is Spain’s official tax body, and if they don’t know that you have stopped working they will continue to expect tax returns (and tax payments) from you. If you de-register in the middle of a tax quarter then you should be aware you will still have to complete your return at the end of the period.
  • To deregister from the Hacienda, you should go to their website and look for the Modelo 037 form. You can complete this form online if you have a Cl@ve pin and are registered for online services. You should then submit the completed form and sent it for processing. If you’re not sure whether you’ve done this correctly, log into your account and look in your files to see the status of the form.
  • Once you have deregistered from the Hacienda you need to deregister from the social security system. You need to complete both of these processes, or you will still be registered as self-employed, and liable for your social security payments. Again, your first stop should be the social security website, and the form you are looking for is called ‘Solicitud de baja en el Regimen Especial de Trabajadores por Cuenta Propia o Autónomos’ or Withdrawal from RETA.
  • To complete this form, you log in with your digital certificate, ensuring your personal details are still correct, and the start entering the relevant information. If you struggle to find your IAE code, you will find this on the RETA certificate that you received when you first registered as self-employed.
  • Once you have completed the form, you simply need to click ‘confirm’ and a PDF certificate will be automatically generated, confirming that you have deregistered and are no longer considered to be self-employed. We advise both saving and printing this document, if possible, in case you need it in the future.
  • When completing both of these forms, it is important that you are clear about the date you stopped working, and that the date you put on both forms is the same. This will avoid any confusion between the two bodies, and will make your position clear.

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