International Invoicing for Freelancers in Spain: A Full Guide

Written by Xolo
on junio 19, 2024 • 5 min of reading

Being a freelancer in Spain opens a plethora of opportunities for independent-minded solopreneurs. 

Yet freelancers may discover that the intricacies of international invoicing, navigating VAT regulations, and ensuring compliance with legal obligations can present them with significant challenges. 

We created this comprehensive guide to help freelancers in Spain understand the essential aspects of invoicing international clients. By the end, you will::

  • Understand VAT implications
  • Invoice in various currencies
  • Register yourself as an autónomo
  • Streamline your invoicing processes

Tackle these essential basics and we’ll introduce you to Xolo, our specialized service tailored to simplify complexities for expats in Spain.

How to invoice international clients as a freelancer

It is essential to follow a structured approach when invoicing international clients to ensure compliance with both Spanish regulations and the specific requirements of your client's country. Seamless navigation of this invoicing process is broken down in our step-by-step process:

3 steps to invoicing international clients:

1. Create a Professional Invoice: Your invoice serves as a formal record of the services provided to your client. Include all relevant details possible:

  • Your business information
  • All client details
  • Unique invoice number (for tracking)
  • Date of the invoice (issuance and due date)
  • Clear description of the services rendered
  • Total amount due

2. Specify Payment Terms: Clearly outline the payment terms in your invoice to avoid any misunderstandings. Include the due date by which the payment should be made and specify your accepted payment methods to facilitate a smooth transaction process. It’s best to have these conversations with a client before sending the invoice.

3. Include Relevant Tax Information: Depending on the client's location, you may need to include specific tax information on your invoice. This could involve mentioning VAT details or any other applicable taxes based on the regulations of the client's country. Ensuring accurate tax information on your invoice is crucial for compliance and transparency.

By following these steps diligently, you can streamline your invoicing process and maintain a professional rapport with your international clients. Remember that clear communication and attention to detail are key to successful invoicing practices in the freelancing world.

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How to add VAT on invoices to overseas clients

When invoicing clients within the EU, VAT rules can be intricate, but a simple breakdown can destroy that complexity. Send invoices without anxiety to:

Clients Within the EU: If your client is a business with a valid VAT number, you can apply the reverse charge mechanism–it simply means the client accounts for the VAT. This alleviates the burden of VAT payment from you as the freelancer. If your client doesn’t have a VAT number or is a private individual, Spanish VAT (IVA) must be added to your invoice. It's crucial to differentiate between B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions to ensure accurate invoicing and compliance with tax regulations.

Clients Outside the EU: For clients outside the EU, you generally do not charge VAT. Instead, you should mention that the service is outside the scope of Spanish VAT. This exemption simplifies the invoicing process for international clients outside the EU, allowing for a more straightforward transaction without the complexities of VAT calculations. 

By clearly stating the service is outside the scope of Spanish VAT, you provide transparency and clarity to your client regarding the taxation of the services rendered.

Always validate your client's VAT number on the VIES website for accurate invoicing. Verifying the VAT number of your EU clients ensures compliance with VAT regulations. You will avoid many discrepancies in invoicing by doing so. Validating the VAT number through the VIES (VAT Information Exchange System) website allows you to confirm the legitimacy of the client's VAT registration, and accurately apply the reverse charge mechanism when necessary.

How to invoice freelance clients in a different currency

Working with international clients can mean handling different currencies. It’s a common challenge that freelancers face. We’ve prepared wonderful tips on how to easily and effectively manage currency exchange. With the right tools, most currencies will bring zero problems to your invoicing process.

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4 freelance tips for international invoicing with currency exchange

1. Monitor exchange rates: Keep a close eye on exchange rates to ensure you’re invoicing your clients effectively. Fluctuations in currency values can impact the amount you receive, so it's essential to stay informed and adjust your rates accordingly. You should consider standing by your home currency’s value, if the client agrees.

2. Consider currency conversion fees: When receiving payments in a different currency, be aware of potential conversion fees that may apply. Some payment processors or banks charge a fee for converting funds, which can eat into your earnings. Factor these fees into your pricing strategy to avoid any surprises.

3. Utilize multi-currency invoicing tools: Take advantage of invoicing software that supports multi-currency transactions. These tools automatically convert amounts based on real-time exchange rates, making it easier for you to invoice clients in their preferred currency. By using such tools, you can streamline your invoicing process and ensure accuracy in your financial transactions.

4. Offer flexible payment options: To accommodate clients from various regions, consider offering multiple payment options in different currencies. This flexibility can enhance the client experience and make it easier for them to pay you on-time. Whether it's through bank transfers, online payment platforms or digital wallets, providing diverse payment methods can help you attract and retain international clients.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively navigate common currency exchange issues with international clients. It’s easy to ensure smooth transactions and foster strong relationships with your global partners.

Do freelancers need to register as autónomo in Spain to invoice?

Registering as an autónomo in Spain is a crucial step for freelancers looking to send invoices and receive payments legally. This process involves several components to ensure compliance with Spanish tax regulations:

1. Register with the Social Security System: Enrolling in the Spanish Social Security system means freelancers can obtain a social security number. This allows them to contribute to the social security scheme and access benefits like healthcare coverage.

2. Register with the Tax Authority: It is necessary to register with the Agencia Tributaria, the Spanish Tax Agency, to formalize your freelance activities. Completing the form 036 or 037 is a vital requirement to declare your business and tax obligations accurately.

3. Pay Social Security Contributions: As an autónomo in Spain, you are responsible for making monthly social security contributions. The amount you contribute is determined by various factors, including your income level, and it is essential to stay up-to-date with these payments to remain compliant with Spanish regulations.

By completing these steps and registering as an autónomo, freelancers can operate legally in Spain. This registration process establishes your legal status as a freelancer, and enables you to access the necessary support and benefits provided by the Spanish government.

💡Let Xolo handle the registration process for you. We'll get you registered for free within 24 hours


How does Xolo helps expats in Spain

Navigating the intricacies of freelancing in Spain can be daunting, but Xolo is designed to help. Xolo offers everything you need as an expat operating in Spain:  

  1. Simplified Registration: Xolo assists with the entire autónomo registration process, ensuring you meet all legal requirements.
  2. Invoicing Software: Xolo provides intuitive invoicing software that supports multiple currencies and automatically calculates VAT when needed.
  3. Tax Compliance: Stay on top of your tax obligations with Xolo’s expert guidance. Personalized quarterly and annual tax filings ensure you avoid any penalties.
  4. Priceless Support: Whether you have questions about VAT, social security contributions, or currency exchange, Xolo’s team of experts is available to provide support.

Invoicing international clients as a freelancer in Spain involves understanding VAT rules, currency conversion and legal registration requirements. By following these guidelines outlined, you can ensure smooth and compliant transactions with your overseas clients. For expats in Spain, Xolo offers unshakeable support, making the process of freelancing and invoicing simple and efficient.

Take the stress out of freelancing with Xolo’s comprehensive service, and focus on what you do best: your freelance work.

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