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Self-employed in Spain: How to calculate your monthly social security fee

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Self-employed in Spain: How to calculate your monthly social security fee
Photo: Pixabay.

Self-employed people in Spain not only pay quarterly income tax, but after recent changes they now also have to pay a monthly social security contribution based on estimated income. Here's how to calculate it.


Being an autónomo (self-employed worker) in Spain can be a challenging existence. Whether it be the cripplingly high social security payments you have to pay every month, the complicated tax system, or the convoluted bureaucracy that's involved, the life of an autónomo in Spain can be difficult.

Fully understanding Spain’s tax system is a minefield for most people, and for self-employed people who essentially have to become their own accountants, this is no exception. Whether it’s the complicated Spanish legalese of forms or other archaic elements which sadly are still prevalent in Spanish bureaucracy, bookkeeping in Spain takes up a lot of time and is far from user-friendly.


That somewhat explains why most autónomos in Spain end up paying a gestor, a type of accountant in this case, to navigate through the muddy waters of quarterly tax returns, VAT and so on.

Gestores are a first port of call in Spain for the endless bureaucratic processes that come with anything official here; intermediaries between you and the often-complicated government departments.


Monthly fee

For many autónomos in Spain, one of the most bothersome things about being self-employed is the monthly social security fee they have to pay. Not the principle of contributing to social security, but the fact that self-employed workers in Spain pay the highest monthly social security fees on the continent.

Add to that the fact that the system changed on January 1st 2023, making a complicated system even more complicated, and meaning that Spain’s autónomos now pay their monthly social security fees based on how much they earn, instead of a fixed rate. Previously, freelancers have had to pay a minimum contribution base of €294 per month after they have been registered as self-employed for two years, regardless of how much they earn.


Calculating this monthly fee, as with most bureaucratic processes in Spain, can be a little tricky. Put simply, your social security contribution is now based on your estimated annual net income, but there's all sorts of complications including a sliding scale that allows you to choose exactly how much (or how little) you want to put in, as well as a system that lets you update your income estimates to move between brackets.

Sound complicated? That's why many people opt for a gestor, who handles it all for them.

But if you aren't in a position to be able to afford a gestor, don't worry. Spain's Social Security system has created an online calculator tool that allows you to work out how much you should pay based on your estimated income, plus see the range of different monthly payments you could choose to make based on your contribution base.

You can find the calculator here, and The Local has put together a guide on how to use it. Note, you don't have to login to the Agencia Tributaria website and identify yourself with your Cla@ve or digital pin, so you can play around with the calculator and get your estimates anonymously.

GUIDE: Self-employed in Spain: How to calculate your monthly fee

First up, you need to go to the contribution calculator on the Social Security website, which you can access here.

That link should take you to a page that looks like this:

Photo: Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones.

From there, scroll down to the 'Elige un tramo' (choose a section) bar and a series of income thresholds will pop up, ranging from menos de 670€/mes (less than €670 per month) up to más de 6000€/mes (more than €6000 per month).


Choose what you expect your monthly income to be, and once you've selected an option you should get more information popping up directly below.

It outlines your contribution base, and should look like this:

Photo: Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones.

If you look beneath the 'Elige tu cuota' (choose your quota) heading, you will see a sliding scale that allows you to move up and down and shows both your minimum and maximum monthly payments within your contribution base based on your income bracket, and how it affects your base.

Based on your income estimate, your monthly social security contribution will be somewhere between these two numbers after any possible deductions.


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