How to Open a Branch Office in Spain in 2024-25: Complete Guide

In this article, we will discuss about how to open a branch office in Spain in 2024-25. Read the complete article to know more about what is branch, incorporation process, benefits and costs.


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    Table of Contents

    Establishing a branch office in Spain is a strategic option for firms looking to grow their worldwide presence. Spain, being one of the major economies in the European Union, provides a dynamic market environment with strong infrastructure, a talented workforce, and advantageous company legislation. This article delves into the major factors and procedural stages required to open a branch office in Spain, giving significant insights into market entrance strategies, compliance requirements, and the possible benefits of expanding into the Spanish market. Understanding these essential characteristics helps pave the road for profitable business expansion and operational excellence in this thriving market.

    What is a Branch in Spain?

    A branch in Spain is a subsidiary establishment of a foreign firm that operates within the nation while being legally reliant on its parent corporation. A branch, unlike a subsidiary, does not have a separate legal personality from its parent business, hence the parent company is fully liable for the branch’s activities and liabilities.

    Features of Branch in Spain

    Some of the characteristics of branch in Spain includes:

    • No Legal Independence: The branch is not an independent legal entity. It operates under the parent company’s name and legal structure.
    • Activity Scope: It can engage in commercial, industrial, or professional activities as authorized by the parent company.
    • Management: The branch is managed by a representative who is responsible for local operations but reports directly to the parent company.
    • Registration: The branch must be registered with the Spanish Commercial Registry and comply with local regulatory requirements.
    • Taxation: The branch is subject to Spanish tax laws and must file taxes as per the Spanish tax regime.

    How to Start a Branch Office in Spain?

    The required steps to start a branch in Spain are:

    • Obtain the necessary documentation from the parent company, including a certificate of incorporation, foreigner identification number (NIE), and digital certificate.
    • Reserve the branch name, which must be the same as the parent company.
    • Appoint a fiscal representative in Spain who will be responsible for the branch’s tax obligations.
    • Sign a public deed in front of a Spanish notary, which must include details like the branch’s activities, representatives, and registered office.
    • Register the branch with the Spanish Commercial Registry.
    • Open a Spanish bank account for the branch, for which the fiscal representative will need an NIE number.

    Benefits for Opening a Branch in Spain

    • Proven Track Record: In contrast to a subsidiary, a branch office in Spain benefits from the parent company’s existing history and experience, which can increase trust with third parties and investors.
    • Operability: A branch office functions independently but is overseen by the main firm, enabling complete control over decisions, accounting, and tax requirements.
    • No Minimum Share Capital: A branch office in Spain, unlike a subsidiary, requires no upfront capital investment.
    • Tax Deductions: Expenses for operating and administering the branch office may be tax deductible, offering possible financial benefits.
    • Tax Treaties: Spain has signed agreements with various countries to prevent double taxation, offering potential tax benefits for branch offices operating in the country.
    • Cost-Effective: Setting up a branch office in Spain may be cost-effective, as competent labor is available at competitive prices when compared to other Western European nations.
    • Tax Incentives: Spain provides tax breaks to encourage investment, particularly foreign investment, therefore boosting job creation and company growth.

    Documents Required to Register a Branch in Spain

    The lists of documents required to register a branch in Spain includes:

    • Certificate of Incorporation of the Parent Company
    • Parent Company’s Articles of Association and Memorandum
    • Spanish Tax Identification Number (NIE)
    • Legally Notarized Power of Attorney
    • Digital Certificate
    • Residency Certificate for the Branch Office Representative
    • Inscription on the Spanish Commercial Registry
    • Deed of Incorporation Notarized in Spain
    • Spanish Corporate Bank Account Details
    • Completed Form D1-A for Foreign Investments

    Difference between New Company Formation in Spain vs. Branch in Spain

    AspectNew Company in SpainBranch in Spain
    Legal EntitySeparate legal entity from the parent companyNot a separate legal entity; dependent on the parent company
    LiabilityLimited liability to the amount of capital investedParent company holds full liability for branch operations
    Registration ProcessMore complex, requires incorporation as a new entitySimpler, involves registering the branch as an extension of the parent company
    TaxationSubject to Spanish corporate tax lawsTaxed on income generated in Spain; parent company may also be subject to home country taxes
    Compliance RequirementsMust comply with all local regulations and annual filingsMust comply with local regulations, but filings are integrated with the parent company
    Management StructureIndependent management structureManaged by a representative appointed by the parent company
    Capital RequirementMinimum capital requirement (varies by type of company)No minimum capital requirement
    Financial ReportingMust prepare and file annual accounts independentlyFinancial results are part of the parent company’s accounts but must also report locally
    Operational FlexibilityGreater autonomy in decision-making and operationsOperations and decision-making are closely tied to the parent company
    Branding and Market PresenceCan establish its own brand identity in the marketOperates under the parent company’s brand name
    Setup CostsGenerally higher due to incorporation and compliance costsLower setup costs compared to forming a new company
    Closure ProcedureComplex, involving liquidation proceduresSimpler, involves deregistering the branch

    Which is Better “New Company or a Branch” in Spain

    A new company set up may be seen as more reliable than a branch due to its legal identity and restricted liabilities. Furthermore, the formation of a business is often seen as less expensive and simpler due to the lower number of tax inspections.

    Nonetheless, several factors will certainly impact an organization’s decision to establish a branch, subsidiary, or SL in Spain. Finally, it is a commercial choice, with the location of the company’s headquarters and general corporate structure potentially having a considerable influence.

    OnDemand International‘s team of business and legal specialists is available to assist you on the best way to enter the Spanish market. Please contact us to book a consultation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the tax duties of a branch office in Spain?

    A branch office must adhere to Spanish tax rules, which include corporate income tax on earnings earned in Spain. It must also submit frequent tax reports and comply with VAT and payroll tax duties if it employs people.

    What is the function of the legal representative at a branch office?

    The legal representative oversees the branch’s activities, guarantees compliance with local regulations, and represents the parent firm in administrative and legal problems.

    Do I need a real office space to establish a branch in Spain?

    Yes, a real office location is often necessary to carry out business activities and comply with local regulations. The address is also required for registration reasons.

    Can a branch office hire staff in Spain?

    Yes, a branch office may hire personnel. It must register with the Spanish Social Security system and abide by local labor laws, such as contracts, social security contributions, and employment rules.

    What is the difference between a branch office and a subsidiary in Spain?

    A branch office is not a separate legal entity and is fully liable to the parent company. In contrast, a subsidiary is an independent legal entity with limited liability, offering greater operational independence.

    How much time does it require to set up a branch office in Spain?

    The procedure usually takes several weeks to a few months, depending on how thorough the documentation is and how efficient the local officials are. Document translation, notarization, and regulatory clearances can all have an impact on timelines.