How to register your business for VAT in Spain

We have identified that many companies abroad are experiencing difficulties VAT registering their business in Spain, as it’s one of the many countries that require documents to be ‘apostilled’ before they can be accepted. In this article, we will examine the requirements needed to VAT register your business in Spain, The Hague Apostille, the complications, and how J&P Accountants can help you in order to successfully achieve this.

The Spanish Government has imposed that non-residents submit a legalized version of their documents known as the ‘apostille’. The term ‘Apostille’ originates from France and is a specialized certificate that verifies that the documents that are being apostilled are legal and authentic. The completed apostille guarantees the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and classifies the seal/stamp, which the document bears. The apostille is attached to the original document so that it can be accepted by other Hague Apostille members.

The Hague Apostille Convention was formed in 1961 by various countries that followed a simplified system used for legalizing documents between each fellow member state. So, basically, it was a kind of safeguarding system of authenticity to be used in between membership states. Countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention of 1961 will be required to go through a procedure that goes one step beyond, it is the authentication process to certify the authenticity of the document being presented in Spain. This is known as an “authentication certificate” which follows similar steps to the apostille process. However, the authentication process does require an additional measure of Embassy Legalization by the Embassy of the nation in which the document will be presented.

The complexities that transpire when VAT registering a business in Spain is the associated costs that come with it, such as the translation and solicitor/lawyer fees. We realize that this may come as a bit of a surprise to some people, but, please bear in mind that we don’t apply these charges ourselves, but these charges arise due to the mandatory requirements that are set out by the Spanish Government, which everyone must abide by. The only service fee that we are responsible for charging to the client is the VAT registration. The translation of your documentation is necessary to have it apostilled. The translation fee will vary depending on the word count of the document. Of course, you as a customer are free to provide us with a legal translation, in order to avoid having to pass it on to us. It is your free choice which amount of support you need. Then, solicitor/lawyer fees will vary too depending on which lawyer you as a client hire in the respective country of your residence.

For you as a guideline: Before the apostille can be processed, everything must be legally translated. And once the translation is complete, your solicitor or lawyer will be able to apostille the documents for you, not before. And that is why we offer the optional translation service as we wish to make life easier for you. Once the apostille is complete, we then require it to be submitted to ourselves, in order for us to resubmit the Hague Apostille together with the necessary documentation which accompanies your application when registering to the Spanish tax authorities.

If you reside in Spain or in another state and require support obtaining your documents, please contact us and let us know how we can help you. Certain documents will require notarization prior to an apostille. The Hague Apostille can be complicated to fathom, so it’s important that you don’t leave this to untrained employees and in-experienced professionals who don’t fully understand the process and the unique requirements of certain countries. Your paperwork could potentially be rejected which will cost you time and money!

If in doubt, always please contact us at J&P Accountants. It is our job to make the complicated procedures seem more straightforward and help you along the way. Please write us an email to or call us at +44 191 3780 287 and we will be delighted to help you!