Tax Calculator
UK Sole Trader vs Spanish Autonomo

An online calculator to compare the tax burden of self employed people in the UK and Spain.

IMPORTANT! This was created in 2014. You are able to edit the rates in the fields below yourself to reflect the current tax laws if you wish, but I make no guarantees that any of the calculations or advice below is still relevant.

Enter Your Business Details Here

/ month
/ month
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  1. In the UK, if you are below the VAT threshold you don't need to charge VAT. In Spain, you always need to charge VAT. Since the consumer only cares about the total price, the burden of paying VAT falls on the business.

Monthly Results (based on tax year 2014 - 2015)

UK Sole Trader Spanish Autonomo
Pre-tax profit (after VAT)
Social Security / National Insurance
Income Tax
Total Deductions (including VAT)
Net Profit
100% (€235) higher profit in the UK.

First-Time Autonomo Discount

In Spain, first time self employed can get a discount on social security payments of 80% in the first 6 months, 50% in months 6 - 12, and 30% in months 12 - 18. Select your month range and see the effect on the results above.

Advanced Configuration (yearly)

Edit this to alter the rates for income tax, social security, VAT, and currency exchange.

UK Sole Trader Spanish Autonomo
VAT Threshold £
VAT Rate % %
Social Security (fixed) £ / year / year
Social Security Rates
Social Security Is Tax Deductable Expense
Tax-Free Allowance £ / year / year
Income Tax Rates
Exchange Rate £1 = €

Can I choose whether to pay taxes in either country?

Probably not. If you live and operate your company from either the UK or Spain for 183 days or more of the year, you are considered to be resident in that country and will need to pay taxes there. If you don't stay for 183 days in any one country, you could check the UK government guidelines to figure out your situation.

Why did I make this?

I've driven myself crazy trying to figure out if I can become a Spanish resident and use my hard earned savings to bootstrap a small business without paying a prohibitive amount in taxes and social security. Spain is a great country to live but the tax system seems almost designed to discourage the starting of small businesses. After reading countless online discussions I've realised this is common source of pain for both British and Spanish people thinking of going into business in Spain.

There are two main problems:

  1. Spain requires a minimum of about €250 / month social security payments every month. This isn't so bad once you are generating a reasonable profit, but if your revenues are small while starting up, which may take years, this could kill your business.
    In contrast, the minimum National Insurance contribution in the UK is only £2.75 / week (about €15 / month), and it's even possible to exempt yourself from this if you don't earn much.
  2. Spain requires you to charge VAT at 21% no matter how small your turnover is. In the UK, you don't have to charge VAT until your turnover reaches £81,000 (€102,000) per year. Technically the VAT is payed by the customer, but in reality, the customer is only aware of the final price, so the burden actually falls on the business to cover the cost of paying the VAT.

These two problems conspire to make bootstrapped consumer businesses especially difficult to start in Spain. This calculator is designed to:

UPDATE: New EU Laws Will Remove VAT Threshold

From January 2015, sellers of electronic services to customers in EU countries will need to charge VAT relavant to the country where the customer is based. To make this simpler, VAT MOSS (Mini One Stop Shops) are being set up which require you to 1. determine the permenent address of each of your EU customers and 2. register for VAT even if if you're below the threshold in the UK. Once registered, your business will need to charge VAT everywhere, even when selling within the UK. Alternatively, you can remain within the UK VAT threshold and simply refuse to sell to customers in other EU countries.

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