Working in Ibiza - Self Employment

- not just for summer

A Self-Employed Job in Ibiza

One of the main challenges for anybody thinking of moving anywhere abroad is the subject of employment:

  • "what will I do to earn money?"
  • "can I get a job working for someone there?"
  • "Can I be self employed?"
  • "how does the tax work?"

This article aims to address these questions about working within the Spanish system whilst living in Ibiza.

What can I do to earn a living?

There is no easy answer to this, as everything depends on your personal circumstances. The main criteria really is that you have transferable skills and are able to work anywhere.

Obviously lots of people aren't lucky enough to be in this situation immediately, but that doesn't mean it can't be done, nor that it's not worth thinking about and working towards, and can't be achieved over time, because it can.

One of the things people on holiday in Ibiza always say when they find out you live here is:

"Oh you're so lucky.."

I always have to explain, "well yes, and no.." because ultimately it really had not much to do with luck, it had much more to do with a strong desire for a better lifestyle, for what will now be the second (and final!) part of my life to be spent in a much nicer place than the first half, and the motivation and ability to make it happen over a period of time.

When I first decided I was going to leave the UK (in 2000) I had an office job in IT recruitment (that I hated) a £20k car (on a 12k loan and an apartment with a £250k mortgage on it and about 50k equity in it.

When I finally left the UK in late 2005 I was out of the UK property market, with no debts and about 30k left over to move with. I had also re-trained into skillsets suitable for remote and internet work.

Note the big gap there, 2000-2005.

This was where the "luck" was at work, planning the whole thing, selling up, getting re-trained, paying off debts, renting cheaply whilst planning the move, buying a suitable (strong and cheap) car for the drive down here pulling a four metre 1800kg trailer with all my possessions in it.

There was also the "luck" of sourcing and working with a good Ibiza property finder to find a suitable apartment 2 months ahead of time, flying out to visit and arrange it, and then finally the big day came and I made the journey to a better place.

Lucky huh? :)

The point is that you can do anything you want to, given the motivation and a little time, all you have to do is make the decision, as in seriously, and start working towards it every day.

So Can I Get a Job at a Company there?

Possibly, if you have a work skill that is in demand here, but unless you get involved with one of the English companies you're likely going to need to speak at least basic Spanish, as you probably will be customer facing, or dealing with their contacts and suppliers.

Speaking Spanish is not essential (although at least a little is desirable) to live in Ibiza, but to be employed by local companies for anything other than summer jobs not speaking Spanish will make it that bit harder, but anything is always possible.

European citizens however have the right to work in Spain, you just have to go down to the main Police Station and get the forms to apply for an NIE number, fill them out, go back and queue for a bit, and you'll get your number. Once you have this, you are legal to work if you can persuade someone to give you a job.

There will be a future Hub on the full NIE Application process, but rest assured it's fairly easy, and as long as you are warned in advance of a few little things, should be relatively pain-free.

How do I become Legally Self Employed?

This is fairly easy too, first you just need to get your NIE number, then you go and see a Gestoria, or lawyer / accountant and they will fill out your paperwork, register you with the tax office, and you are away and able to write legal Spanish invoices (Factoras).

The system in general works very much like the English self-employed sole trader status, and is called "Autonomo". This is both the name of the self-employed status of the worker, and is also the name given to the monthly social security payment that you will make, currently between 175 - 250 Euros per month depending on what you are actually doing for a living.

You will also have to pay the Gestoria a small monthly fee to be your accountant / point of contact with the Spanish system, usually 50-70 euros per month.

Doing Business & Tax

So then that's it, you are in business,you can now write Facturas and have to add 18% IVA (VAT) on top of your bills, which is payable to the government quarterly, minus any IVA you yourself have spent on supplies, exactly like the UK VAT system.

You are then only liable for tax on business operating profits (income minus outgoings) after a comparable entry threshold (called your Tax Code in the UK)

These taxes are paid quarterly, but estimated from the year before for the next year, so if you're starting out small, you are unlikely to have to pay much if any tax on top of the monthly autonomo fee for the first couple of years.

If it sounds complicated, its not, its all much simpler to go and do, than explain.

So basically to summarise, it's all possible, just assuming you want to make the change enough, there is no reason that if you live in Europe or the UK and are not tied down by bonds stronger than money, habit and fear of the unknown, you can do it..

If you really want to..

If anybody would like to ask specific questions you are welcome to in the comments here.

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Comments 8 comments

Ibizabird profile image

Ibizabird 6 years ago from Ibiza, Spain

Hi, thanks for this advice. I am thinking of going self emp next summer. Will go and speak to someone at the Historia I think. Not sure how viable my idea is yet after the autonomo and I presume insurance fees =S

Kevalcoatl 6 years ago

You make it sound so easy and not at all expensive to become self-employed in Spain. That is not my experience at all. I was planning to write a hub on the very same subject with a very different slant. However, I suppose it depends what you do and what you charge for your services.

Ibiza Style profile image

Ibiza Style 6 years ago Author

@Kevalcoatl - well don't let me stop you with your hub, - this was written from my own experience and in summary it was all fairly easy although as you say it's not like I had to get requalified first or anything.

and I don't actually think 330 Euros a month before you start, or even thinking about any tax, to just be self-employed is all that cheap, not compared to the scenario in the UK for example.

@Ibiza bird - I would say "prove the business model first" before going legal, after all you need to be able to pay your rent and live before thinking about paying taxes NI etc, otherwise you'll go legal, then quickly go bust and go home, and that's no good for anybody is it?

Tenerife Islander profile image

Tenerife Islander 5 years ago from Tenerife

Great advice here because if I make the move this is the sort of questions I need answering! Voted up!

Ibiza Style profile image

Ibiza Style 5 years ago Author

Amigo with writing skills like yours, we should probably talk if make the move here.

Igor 3 years ago

Hi, i'm a PHP/html/JS/CSS developer, and webdesigner, graphic designer and SEO. Plus, i'm a dj and music producer. For living, i'm selling things on the envato marketplace. Do you think i can also find some self employee work in there? I've been in ibiza a couple of times and i think i really wanna come there...

Joan 3 years ago

Great article! You always have to make some sacrifices when changing things, it's never easy but worth while.

@IGOR hello l have a web developing // illustration and electronic music company in NL now l would like to continue that there :) maybe we can collaborate!

l would love to move there too!

Emma-Jayne Punter 2 years ago

I've made this decision to move about a month ago just looking at work opportunities now this is great have you got a twitter I'm @EmmaJChelsea would you follow me please :)

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