The Startup Law Aims to Attract Foreign Investment

The startup law offers a series of tax and bureaucratic advantages to facilitate foreign investment in emerging companies. Additionally, it streamlines the residency permits for foreigners with the aim of retaining highly skilled talent.

One of the goals of the startup law approved at the end of last year is the attraction of foreign talent and investment. The new regulation aims to facilitate the entry into Spain of different international profiles with high digital skills. Digital nomads, remote workers, investors, and foreign employees have their own provisions in this law, which seeks to increase investment in startups and turn these companies into engines of modernizing the Spanish economy.

The regulation includes bureaucratic and tax improvements for the creation and investment in these types of companies, also extending the validity of residency permits to retain international talent.


Bureaucratic Improvements

Thanks to the law, foreign investors no longer need the Foreigner Identification Number; it will suffice to have the Tax Identification Number required for any company registration. This Tax ID will be required for both individuals and legal entities, and it will be obtained electronically through the Tax Agency, which must resolve it within ten business days.


Tax Improvements

The tax benefits applied to declared emergent companies will also apply to foreign investors who decide to create a startup in Spain. Thus, the corporate tax rate is set at 15% during the first four years, as long as the company maintains its emergent status during this period.

In addition, there is the special regime for impatriates, in force since 2004. According to this regulation, known as the “Beckham Law,” any employee working in Spain will annually pay the Non-Resident Income Tax (IRNR), which has a lower tax rate than the Personal Income Tax (IRPF): 24% for the first 600,000 euros generated. The Startup Law makes the conditions to qualify for this regime more flexible and broadens them. Previously, it was necessary not to have been a tax resident in Spain in the last ten years, now five years are sufficient.

The law also includes more incentives for initial investment in startups. Those known as Business Angels will enjoy the advantages that apply to founding partners of a company: the deduction percentage for share subscription in the investor’s IRPF increases from 30% to 50%, and the maximum deduction base increases from 60,000 to 100,000 euros. All of this, as long as the equity does not exceed 400,000 euros and the shares are acquired within the company’s first five years, maintaining them for three to twelve years.


Residency Permits

The regulation extends the duration of the initial residence authorization from one to three years for investors and entrepreneurs who start an economic activity in Spain; from one to two years for students in internships seeking employment or wanting to undertake after finishing their studies; and three years (or the duration of the contract) for highly skilled foreign professionals coming to work in a country’s company. This permit is extendable to five years, after which permanent residency can be applied for.

Furthermore, in addition to all this, the startup law introduces the creation of a specific visa for digital nomads, aiming to attract and retain highly specialized employed and self-employed professionals. Through this mechanism, residency permits in our country are extended, with a visa for one year plus three years of residence. Until now, these professionals could only stay in our country for a maximum of three months allowed by the tourist visa.

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