Coronavirus in Spain: What state help is available for self-employed (autonomos)?

The Spanish Government has established an extraordinary provision for those who are self-employed - autonomos - in Spain.

Anyone registered with the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA).can apply if they have been affected by the enforced closure of businesses due to the state of alarm, or if their revenue for the month (since state of alarm was declared on March 14th) is less than 75 percent of their average monthly revenue over the six previous months.

What does this extraordinary provision involve?

  • Payment of an amount equivalent to 70 percent of the calculation basis.
  • Suspension of social security contributions during the validity period of the provision, and the worker will also be recorded as having paid their contributions during this period.

Who can apply?

  • Any worker who has registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA), including incorporated self-employed workers, who have been affected by the enforced closure of businesses due to the declaration of a state of alarm.
  • Any worker who is registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA), including incorporated self-employed workers, whose revenue for March and subsequent months during State of Alarm is less than 75 percent of their average monthly revenue over the six previous months.

Can a worker who is registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA) apply if they employ workers for whom they have submitted an ERTE (temporary layoffs)?

  • Yes, both measures are compatible with each other.

 

What are the requirements for applying?

  • You simply need to be registered on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA) and be up to date on your social security contributions, that is the so-called self-employed “quotas”.

Is there any minimum period of social security contributions required prior to applying?

  • No. Unlike other provisions, that is irrelevant in this case.

How long will this extraordinary provision be available for?

  • When the first state of alarm decree was declared, this provision was put in place until April 30th, but it will be extended until the last day of the month in which the state of alarm is due to end, based on the assumption that it will again be prolonged.

 

When can this extraordinary provision be applied for?

  • From March 18th 2020, for cases of business closure and cessation of activity.
  • From the moment that supporting documentation for a reduction in revenue has been presented, for cases where revenue is less than 75 percent of the average monthly revenue over the six previous months.

 

What is the deadline for applying for this extraordinary provision?

 

  • The deadline is moveable but currently sands as the final day of the month in which the state of alarm comes to an end.

What else should I know about the application procedure for this provision?

 

  • The entities that are managing this provision—the mutual insurance companies—have provided application forms on their websites that can be downloaded, as well as the relevant documentation so that the entire process can be managed online.
  • All applications should be accompanied by a sworn statement confirming that all the applicable requirements have been met.
  • Accounting paperwork should be provided to demonstrate that revenue for March 2020 has fallen by at least 75 percent compared to the average monthly revenue of the six previous months. This paperwork may be a copy of the record book for invoices sent and received, the daily record of income and expenditures, the record book for sales and income, the book of purchases and expenditures or, if the self-employed worker is not obliged to provide this accounting paperwork, any other form of evidence.
  • Contributions that correspond to 1-13 March 2020 will need to be paid, as the state of alarm had not been declared yet during that period.
  • Should the self-employed worker already have paid their contribution for the whole month of March, the Spanish Social Security Treasury General Office will automatically refund the amount corresponding to the period covered by the extraordinary provision.

More info:

Summary of the work-related measures in the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March

Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on extraordinary urgent measures to deal with the economic and social impact of COVID-19

Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, declaring a state of emergency to manage the health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Spain

This article has been compiled with advice from Gutierrez Pujadas & Partners,  an international firm with a boutique mindset, specializing in international taxation, family offices and holding companies.

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