Spanish VAT Rate in 2023: All You Need to Know

Spanish VAT Rate in 2023: All You Need to Know

Read our comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about the Spanish VAT rate and compliance.

Navigating the complex world of taxes can be daunting, especially when doing business in a foreign country. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the Spanish VAT rate and compliance, making it easier for you to focus on what truly matters - growing your business.

Short summary

  • Understand Spanish VAT rates, which range from 21% to 4%, with certain goods and services exempt.
  • Non-EU residents visiting Spain are eligible for VAT refunds on purchases made during their stay.
  • Businesses operating in Spain must adhere to comprehensive regulations set by the Spanish Tax Agency or face legal repercussions.

Understanding Spanish VAT rates

Value Added Tax (VAT), an indirect tax also known as consumption tax or vat tax, is levied on the consumption of goods and services and comes in various rates in Spain. With the aim of addressing social and economic inequalities, the Spanish government has implemented three different VAT tax rates: standard, reduced, and super-reduced. While the Spanish government has some discretion over the VAT rates implemented, they are controlled by the EU VAT Directive. Depending on the necessity and social impact of the goods and services, each rate applies accordingly, and businesses are required to pay VAT.

So, what exactly is the VAT percentage in Spain for these three rates and how do they affect businesses operating in Spain?

Standard VAT rate

The standard VAT rate in Spain is 21%, which is one of the Spain VAT rates applicable to most goods and services that are not eligible for reduced or super-reduced rates. Think of it as the “default” VAT rate for any taxable transaction in the country. The standard rate ensures that the Spanish government generates revenue from everyday transactions, which can then be utilized for various public services and infrastructure projects.

While most goods and services fall under this 21% bracket, there are specific items that are subject to a lower VAT rate due to their importance and social impact. Let’s explore these reduced and super-reduced VAT taxx rates in the following subsections.

Reduced VAT rate

Certain goods and services in Spain enjoy a reduced VAT rate of 10%. This rate typically applies to essential items, such as specific food items, transport, and cultural services like cinema tickets and access to cultural events. The rationale behind the reduced rate is to alleviate the financial burden on consumers for necessary goods and services, promoting affordability and accessibility.

To take advantage of this reduced rate, businesses must have a valid Spain VAT number. This ensures that the local tax authorities can track and monitor the transactions, ensuring compliance with Spanish VAT regulations.

Super-reduced VAT rate

The super-reduced VAT rate, the lowest of the three, stands at 4%. This rate is reserved for basic necessities such as food staples (bread, milk, eggs), books, and medical supplies. By applying a significantly lower VAT rate to these essential items, the government aims to make them more affordable and accessible to the general public, particularly those with lower income levels.

The super-reduced rate also benefits businesses operating in retail sales, particularly those focusing on essential items, as it can help stimulate demand and encourage consumption. This, in turn, contributes to the overall growth and stability of the economy.

Super-reduced VAT rate

VAT exemptions in Spain

Not all goods and services are subject to VAT in Spain. In fact, there are certain products and services that are exempt from VAT altogether. These exemptions typically apply to vital services, such as medical services provided by dentists, doctors, or opticians, and educational or training courses.

Also, high-value items like gold coins, ingots, and bars, along with internal and international air or sea travel, are also exempt from VAT application Spain. These exemptions aim to promote the accessibility of essential services and reduce the tax burden on consumers.

It’s crucial for businesses to be aware of tax exemptions, as they impact pricing strategies, tax obligations, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Spanish VAT registration process

Once a foreign company distance selling in Spain hits the VAT registration threshold of €10,000, they must register for a VAT number with the Spanish tax authorities. The process of becoming VAT registered requires the submission of necessary documents, such as a certificate of business and a power of attorney. Spanish VAT numbers are a crucial part of the process, as they allow businesses to charge and remit the appropriate VAT on their transactions.

Upon successfully registering and obtaining a VAT number, businesses must adhere to the deadlines set forth by Spanish authorities. For example, your VAT return must be filed by the 20th day of the month following the reporting period. Failure to comply with these deadlines and requirements can result in penalties, fines, and other legal repercussions.

Canary Islands - IGIC tax

For businesses operating in the Canary Islands, a special sales tax called IGIC (Impuesto General Indirecto Canario) applies. This tax functions similarly to VAT but comes with a lower charge of 7%. The Canary Islands, being an autonomous region, enjoy this unique tax system that helps promote economic growth and development in the area.

It’s worth noting that transactions between the Canary Islands and mainland Spain are exempt from VAT. This ensures that businesses operating in the Canary Islands can engage in trade with mainland Spain without the added burden of VAT, fostering economic cooperation and integration within the nation.

Providing services in Spain as a freelancer

Freelancers in Spain are not exempt from the responsibilities that come with VAT. They must charge a 21% VAT on the services they provide to clients. This VAT must be collected from clients and paid quarterly to the Spanish Tax Agency. This ensures that freelancers contribute to the tax revenue generated in the country and comply with the Spanish tax laws.

As a freelancer, it’s crucial to understand the VAT obligations that come with providing services in Spain. This knowledge allows freelancers to accurately price their services, account for tax liabilities, and avoid legal issues down the line.

Providing services in Spain as a freelancer

VAT implications for cross-border transactions within the EU

Cross-border transactions within the European Union are subject to VAT, with rates and regulations differing depending on the countries involved. When procuring products from other EU countries to Spain with an International VAT number, businesses can request a sales tax exemption called ROI. This exemption simplifies the process of conducting cross-border transactions, promoting trade and economic integration among EU member states.

By understanding the VAT implications for cross-border transactions within the EU, businesses can better manage their tax liabilities and remain compliant with the tax regulations set forth by the European Union.

Spanish Tax Agency and VAT compliance

The Spanish Tax Agency, or Agencia Tributaria, is responsible for the collection of taxes and enforcement of tax laws in Spain. Businesses operating in Spain must adhere to the comprehensive VAT regulations outlined by the Spanish Tax Agency, which include the management of invoices, reporting, and recordkeeping.

Ensuring compliance with these VAT regulations is essential for businesses to avoid fines, penalties, and other legal repercussions. By staying informed on the latest tax regulations and diligently following the requirements set forth by the Spanish Tax Agency, businesses can minimize risks and focus on their core operations.


Understanding and navigating the Spanish VAT system is crucial for businesses and freelancers in Spain. By familiarizing themselves with the standard, reduced, and super-reduced VAT rates, as well as Spanish VAT registrations and compliance requirements, individuals and businesses can ensure they remain on the right side of the law and avoid potential pitfalls.

In the ever-changing landscape of taxes and regulations, staying informed and up-to-date is essential for success. Armed with the information provided in this comprehensive guide, you're now better equipped to tackle the challenges of Spanish VAT and focus on growing your business or career in Spain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is VAT in Spain?

As of 2023, IVA (impuesto sobre el valor aadido) is the standard Value-Added Tax applied in Spain.

At 21%, the standard rate of VAT in Spain is one of the highest in Europe. Certain products and services are subject to reduced rates, including passenger transport (10%), restaurant services and hotel accommodations (10%), and food and drink (4%).

For example, passenger transport is subject to a reduced rate of 10%, while restaurant services and hotel accommodations are subject to a reduced rate of 10%. Food and drink are subject to regulation.

Does Spain charge VAT to UK customers?

Now that the UK is outside of the EU, Spanish businesses do not charge VAT to UK customers. Goods that are transported from Spanish territory to the UK are exported and exempt from VAT.

Additionally, the remote sales regime does not apply to Spanish businesses delivering goods to individuals in the UK.

What is IVA 10 in Spain?

IVA 10 is the reduced rate of VAT in Spain, which stands at 10%. This lower rate applies to certain products and services such as food, books, pharmaceuticals, and residential rents.

What are the three VAT rates in Spain?

In Spain, VAT is divided into three rates - the standard rate of 21%, reduced rate of 10%, and super-reduced rate of 4%.

Do you need help with your VAT compliance? Book a free call with one of our VAT experts to find bespoke solutions for your business, optimize your VAT costs, and reach millions of new potential customers.

April 16, 2024
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when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries
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