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The way in which self-employed workers in Spain pay their social security contributions and tax is seriously being studied by the Government, with a possible change in the system on the cards.

This comes after President of the Federation of Self-Employed Workers (ATA), Lorenzo Amor, made a plea to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría to change the procedure so that ‘autónomos’ are taxed more fairly.



Amor’s proposal consists of ‘autónomos’ paying a social security rate in line with their earnings from the previous year rather than being able to choose their tax basis and how much they pay, which is how the current system is applied.

If this proposal were to be approved it would mean that those who earn more will make higher contributions, whilst those who earn less will pay less.

It would be a much fairer system than the current one whereby many self-employed workers don’t even earn enough to pay the minimum option as this wouldn’t give them enough to live on for the rest of the month.

The current way in which ‘autónomos’ are taxed encourages many low-earners to work illegally without contributing at all, despite the fact that the majority want to pay but just can’t afford it.

How is it possible that by earning less than 1,000 euro a month, you have to pay the same in social security as another who is earning 3,000 a month?

According to figures from ATA, there are around 700,000 self-employed workers earning more than 30,000 euro a year who are taxed at the lowest social security rate, which is aimed at those who earn approximately 10,000 euro per annum.

If a fairer system were put in place it would result in 80% of the self-employed workers that pay the minimum quota (261 euro a month) paying more, whilst many of the remainders would actually be able to pay less than the actual minimum base.

The Deputy Prime Minister has only gone as far as to thank the ATA for their proposals, but sources close to the Government have confirmed that the subject is something that is definitely on the table and being debated, in particular a change for those who are taxed on the ‘modules’ basis, which is approximately half of all self-employed workers.

The proposal is currently being looked at by the departments of Tax and Employment, although the final decision on whether or not to go ahead with the plan will depend on whether it can be incorporated into the fiscal reform and whether the ATA accepts the Government’s plan.

There are major difficulties in implementing this as it requires a huge amount of planning and joint coordination between the tax department and the Social Security. The Government also doubts that the proposed change will be accepted by the majority of ‘autónomos’.