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LIFE IN SPAIN

How to renew your digital certificate in Spain

Spain's Digital Certificate is a must for anyone who wants to save time with official processes. However, if your Digital Certificate expires, it's not always a straightforward process to renew. Here are all the steps to follow.

How to renew your digital certificate in Spain
Renewing your digital certificate in Spain to continue being able to complete official processes online can sometimes be tricky. Photo: Gino Crescoli/ Pixabay

A digital certificate (not to be confused by with a Covid Digital Certificate) is a software package that you can download onto your computer, allowing you to identify yourself during online administrative processes in Spain.

You will need it for procedures such as filing your taxes, paying fines, accessing your health records or logging onto the social security system.

Having this certificate means that you won’t always need to physically go into an office to complete all processes and can do it from your own home. For anyone who is familiar with Spanish bureaucracy, this is likely to save to plenty of time and headaches.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues – 25 official matters you can do online in Spain

If you don’t have a digital certificate and want to get one for the first time, click here to follow the steps.

In this article, we’ll focus on renewing your digital certificate when it’s about to expire, as people in Spain – not just foreigners – often run into issues with the renewal.

Your certificate is valid for four years and after this time, you’ll need to renew it, so you can continue using it.

In theory, you will get an e-mail from the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre or FNMT, where you originally applied for your certificate, to let you know that your certificate is about to run out and that you’ll need to renew it soon.

However, in practice you don’t always get this e-mail, so how do you know if your certificate is about to expire?

To find out, you can log on to the FNMT website and follow this link to get to the CERES certificates page. Here, you’ll need to click on the tab on the left-hand side which says ‘Persona física’, if you are looking for yourself. You’ll then click on ‘Verificar estado’ to find out the status of your certificate, followed by ‘Solicitar verificación’.

Find out if your digital certificate is still valid. Source: FNMT

If you have a valid digital certificate installed, it should now appear on your screen, including its validation and expiry dates.  If you click on the certificate and then click ‘Aceptar’ you will see more information on the status of your certificate.

Remember that you will need to renew your digital certificate before the expiry date. If you let it expire, you will have to do the whole process of applying for a new digital certificate. It can be renewed up to two months before the expiry date. 

READ ALSO: Spanish bureaucracy explained: Saving time through the online [email protected] system

The Renewal process  

Step 1:

After you have checked the expiry date on your certificate you will need to go back to the original page when you clicked on ‘Persona Física’ here.

Under the drop-down menu on the left-hand side, you’ll see a button that says ‘Renovar’ or renew. Click on this.

Be aware that if you have updated your operating system recently, it’s likely that this process won’t work for you and it will display an error message later on when you try to renew it. In this case, you’ll need to click on the tab at the bottom which says ‘Soporte Técnico’ or technical support. Next click on ‘Descargas’ or downloads and then ‘Descargas de Software’ (software downloads). Here you’ll find lots of technical support you need to find out if your operating system is compatible. You can also call the technical support number, found under the FAQs section, so someone can help you if you’re still having problems. You can also get your gestor or accountant to help with this, although you’ll probably be charged for it. 

READ ALSO: What does a ‘gestor’ do in Spain and why you’ll need one

If you haven’t updated your operating system recently, you can continue with the process. In order to do this, you’ll first need to download a piece of software on your computer in order for the renovation process to work. Click on ”Configuración previa’, under the renewal section. The website will give you a list of operating systems the software is compatible with. Next, click the button which says Área de Descarga de Configurador FNMT. This will give you a list of all the different types of operating systems and links to download the software for each one. Download and install the software.

Download the software onto your computer. Source: FNMT

Step 2:

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the correct software, click on ‘Solicitar renovación’ in order to request your renewal, under the ‘Renovar’ or renewal dropdown tab.

Click on the link it provides. This will take you to a page with all the personal details associated with your digital certificate. If everything is correct, click on ‘Renovar Certificado’ at the bottom of the page to renew it. If not, click on ‘Modificar datos’ to update your details.

When you have downloaded the software, you can renew your certificate. Source: FNMT

On the next page, click the large button that says ‘Generar Solicitud electrónica’ to generate your renewal request.

A pop-up box will appear listing your certificates. Click on your digital certificate, the one you want to renew, and then click on ‘Firmar’ followed by ‘Enviar’ to sign and send your application.

Sign and send your application. Source: FNMT

Step 3:

You should get a message when your certificate has been renewed. You’ll then need to download it onto your computer. To do this, click on ‘Descargar Certificado’ under the same dropdown menu on the left-hand side of the screen you were previously on.

Introduce your details such as your TIE/NIE number, your name, and the renewal code you were given in the message, then click on ‘Descargar Certificado’ to download your certificate.

Download your new certificate. Source: FNMT

It’s also recommended that you make a copy of your certificate. To do this, click on ‘Copia de Seguridad’ on the left-hand side. Here you will find instructions on how to export a copy of your certificate as well as instructions on how to request your digital certificate on a physical card if you wish, although this is not necessary. 

Your digital certificate has now been renewed and you can continue using it like before for all of your online processes.  

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TAXES

Q&A: How will Spain’s new social security system for the self employed work?

The Spanish government announced new tax rates for the self-employed from 2023, but many "autónomos" are confused as to exactly how it will work in practice. Here's everything you need to know, to help you understand better.

Q&A: How will Spain's new social security system for the self employed work?

From 2023 Spain’s autónomos will pay monthly social security fees based on “real earnings” in a similar way to how it works for income tax. The Spanish government revealed the new rates at the end of July 2022. 

The changes mean that rather than there being a fixed minimum contribution base of €294, self-employed workers will pay different monthly amounts based on how much they earn. It will go from €200 a month for lower earners to €590 a month for higher earners.

READ ALSO – CONFIRMED: Spain’s new tax rates for the self-employed from 2023 onwards

However, many of those who are self-employed are confused by the new rules and have many questions regarding exactly how much they’ll be paying from next year. 

Here are some of the most common questions asked and the answers, which are based on an interview with Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá on radio station Cadena Ser. 

Q: When will the new system come into effect?

A: Autónomos will start paying the new social security quotas from January 1st 2023.

Q: How will I know what income bracket I will be put into?

A: At the beginning of the year, each autónomo will have to state their expected income level using a special tool called ‘importas’ or imports. This will help you calculate how much you might potentially earn during the year. You will be able to modify and change your income bracket six times per year, based on your real earnings. At the end of the year, you will find out what your final real earnings are and your fee will be adjusted accordingly.

READ ALSO: Will you pay more under Spain’s new social security rates for self-employed?

Q: Does that mean I will get my social security back if it turns out Ive paid too much?

A: Yes, essentially like the income tax, you will be paid part of your social security fee back again if it turns out you’ve paid too much. On the other hand, it also means that you will also have to pay more social security if you have paid too little.

Q: How will the new system work if I only work sporadically?

A: As mentioned above, you will be able to change your expected income every two months. This means those with seasonal work will end up paying less in social security fees than they do now, during the months when they get less work. When you begin to earn more, you can change your expected income level again and will be charged more.

Q: What will happen to the tarifa plana or flat rate scheme whereby new autónomos start out paying only €60 per month in social security fees?

A: The tarifa plana as it stands currently will end and those on it will not continue paying the same amount. Instead, new autónomos will pay a flat fee of €80 per month for the first year and will continue at this rate in year two, only if they earn below minimum wage. Low earners, those who earn less than €670 per month will see their rate reduced to €230 in 2023, €225 in 2024 and €200 in 2025.

Q: What will happen if I have to close my business for some reason, do I have to de-register completely?

A: The new law now states that if you are forced close your business partially or temporarily, such as in the case of the volcano eruption in La Palma, you now don’t have to deregister completely from the autónomo system. Those who have to partially close their business will be able to apply for financial help, even if they do not close completely.

Q: Why is there such a big difference between the social security rate in Spain and other European countries?

A: According to Escrivá, Spain is one of the countries with the highest level of protection for self-employed people in Europe. In other countries, you may pay less in social security fees, but will not get pensions, sick pay, maternity or paternity benefits, he explained. It also means you have aid benefits during a crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic or if you own a shop on a street that has to be closed for construction, for example.

Q: How will we know if the new changes will be successful or not?

A: These reforms essentially mean higher pensions for the self-employed, as well as higher and better benefits. When autónomos start benefitting from these, then we know that it is successful, said Escrivá. 

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