VAT Returns in Spain
Frequency of Spanish VAT returns
As a general rule, VAT returns are filed quarterly in Spain. The quarterly periods follow the calendar quarters, from January to March, April to June, etc. Where the Spanish revenue of a business exceeds the 6,010,121.04€ threshold during the previous calendar year, or where the business applies for the Monthly Refund Scheme, monthly VAT returns are due. To calculate this revenue, all outgoing invoices are taken into account, including exempt and zero-rated supplies. All incoming invoices should be disregarded. Annual VAT returns are not applicable in Spain, not even for small enterprises. We are referring to Annual VAT returns, which are different from the Annual Summary VAT returns.
Frequency of filing
MonthlyAnnual revenue above 6M€ or registration in the Monthly Refund Scheme
QuarterlyStandard reporting period
Due date of Spanish VAT returns
Spanish VAT returns are filed on a quarterly basis unless the monthly reporting period is applicable. The quarterly returns are due by the 20th day of month (there is a holiday extension for the December and Q4 returns).
Due date rules
Monthly30th day of the month following the reporting period
Quarterly20th day of the month following the reporting period
Holiday extensionThe December and Q4 VAT return can be filed by the 30th January of the following year
If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, the date is shifted to the next working day. The Spanish authorities publish a calendar with all tax due dates.
Spanish annual VAT returns
Most companies registered for VAT purposes in Spain must submit an Annual VAT return by the end of the year. This is a recapitulative return for informative purposes, therefore no VAT payment is due upon its submission. This return is also known as modelo 390. Instructions are published by the tax authorities and updated if necessary, every year.
Annual VAT returns is Spain must be submitted no later than the 30th day of January following the reporting period. If this day falls in weekend, deadline will be moved to the next working day.
Spanish Annual VAT return is not due in the following cases:
- If the company is submitting the SII books there is no obligation to submit the Annual VAT – this could be case of a company under REDEME (monthly refund regime), VAT groups, or Big companies – “Grandes empresas” with an annual turnover higher than 6 M € threshold.
- Companies under simplified VAT regimes related to rental of immovable property.
Concerning companies filing monthly VAT returns and SII Books, although they do not have to submit the Annual VAT return, they must complete an extra section in the December VAT return (or modelo 303) to report the details of the annual turnover.
Spanish VAT payments
There are two methods for making VAT payments in Spain: i) the NRC code method, or ii) by making a bank transfer from a foreign bank account.
NRC Code method
This method must be done from one of the authorized banks in Spain (most retail banks are included). The list of authorised banks is published by the tax authorities. When requesting the payment, you must provide the VAT number, name, period, form submitted, and amount paid to the bank. Once the payment is made, the bank will issue the so called "NRC code" which you need to enter in the VAT return before submitting it. This is, it is not possible to submit Spanish returns without having made the corresponding VAT payment. The bank account can be on the name of any other person. Only in case the payment is made through the website of the Spanish tax authorities, the bank account must be on the name of the tax payer or its fiscal representative. All bank charges should be borne by the taxpayer. There is no need to provide a bank account number when requesting the payment. The Spanish bank will make the payment to the tax authorities according to their standard process for these payments.
Bank transfer from foreign bank account
This method consists of making a direct bank transfer from a foreign bank account. This method was introduced to ease the VAT payment process for foreign businesses. Once you have completed your VAT return, you will have the option to pay the VAT due via a bank transfer. You will need to complete certain information fields, including information about the bank account from which the payment will be made. You will then see the bank account information where you need to make your payment. As a reference on your bank transfer, you will need to indicate your Spanish VAT number. All payments should be made in euros, and any payment made in another currency will be rejected. Also, all bank transfer fees should be paid by the taxpayer. You will find more information in our dedicated article here.
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Spanish VAT refunds
When a VAT return is in a repayable position, a VAT refund can only be requested in the December or Q4 VAT return (unless the business is in the Monthly Refund Scheme). Only those businesses registered in the Monthly Refund Scheme (so called REDEME) can request monthly VAT refunds. This scheme requires a number of additional compliance obligations. At the bottom of the VAT return, there are sections that can be ticked to determine whether the VAT return is on a payable position ("a ingresar") or, in case the return is on a repayable position, VAT should be carried forward to the next period ("a compensar") repaid to the taxpayer ("solicitar devolucion"). In case of repayment, Spanish VAT refunds can be received in a foreign SEPA bank account. The IBAN number of this account must be included at the bottom of the VAT return form. The Spanish authorities must reimburse the VAT within six months following the VAT refund request. An audit interrupts this six-month limit. In case VAT is refunded after the six-month period (even when an audit has been carried by the authorities), interest will be paid in addition to the VAT amount refunded. Audits are not always carried when requesting a refund, however, these happen often for material amounts or significant changes in the VAT position."
Spanish nil and corrective VAT returns
A nil VAT return needs to be submitted even if there are no transactions to be reported for that period. The option "Sin actividad" needs to be ticked. Regarding corrections, a corrective VAT return must be filed whenever the VAT position changes. The following scenarios can happen:
- Additional output VAT or less input VAT (VAT position increased): A new return replacing all data of the previous return needs to be submitted. The box "Declaración complementaria" should be ticked and the reference number of the initial return should be entered. Payment of the additional VAT should be made by the usual process. The authorities will charge penalties on the VAT paid late. See below section on Late payment penalties (link to section). The form applicable at the time of the period corrected should be used.
- All other corrections (including: Additional input VAT; less output VAT or no changes to the VAT position): A letter needs to be sent to the Spanish tax authorities informing about the change. The authorities should refund the amount within the six months following the submission of the letter, which can be sent electronically through the website of the authorities.
Corrective VAT returns are submitted electronically. The process is the same as the usual returns, but the box ‘Declaracion complementaria’ should be ticked.
VAT penalties in Spain
Late submission (includes late payment when made via NRC code)Penalties are applied as a % of the VAT due (so called ‘recharges’): - 1% of the VAT due if paid before 1 month after the due date, and an additional 1% applies for each month passed after the deadlines until the 12th month, this is - 2% if paid between 1 and 2 months after the due date - 3% if paid between 2 and 3 months after the due date - 4% if paid between the 3 and 4 months after the due date, and so on until the 12th month, when the delay is 12 months or more it applies 15%. On top of this, interest must be paid when on VAT payments made 12 months after the due date (i.e. when 15% recharges were paid): - The applicable late payment interest in the relevant year is charged (usually from 2% to 5%).
Late payment from foreign bank account methodUsing this payment method, in case of late VAT payment, the recharge amounts are 5%, 10% y 20% of the VAT position - depending on the delay of the payment.
Late registrationNormally, no penalties for late registration. Penalties are charged as part of the regularization of the VAT returns.
If paid within the deadline provided in the letter where the penalties are stated, the amounts are reduced by 25%. Additional penalties may be charged by the authorities, particularly where the corrections are triggered by an investigation or VAT audit. For penalties on ECSL, Intrastat and other returns, please see the relevant section.
Spanish distance Sales. VAT on e-commerce
You can find information about the general EU VAT regime on distance sales in our article about VAT on e-commerce. You may also watch our webinar explaining VAT rules for e-commerce in the European Union.
Spanish tax authorities contact
Unlike other EU countries, Spain does not have a non-established taxable persons unit. Foreign companies are registered at the tax office of their fiscal representative or the office where they have a permanent establishment. When replying to a request from the authorities, it is recommended to send the response to the office and address stated in the letter. However, according to Spanish administrative rules, these documents can be submitted in any tax administration. The following tax office is often used for being one of the largest of Spain and being located in Madrid:
Agencia Estatal de la Administración Tributaria Delegación de Hacienda Calle de Guzmán el Bueno, 139 28003 Madrid Telephone: +34 915 826 1 78
There is telephone number for general enquiries about VAT and other tax related issues. Information is only given in Spanish and for general purposes (we recommend not to rely on this information only): +34 901 335 533