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Required Accounting Books for Self-employed In Spain

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accounting books

Suppose you register as a self-employed in Spain. In that case, you should know you have other formal obligations in addition to paying taxes, such as accounting books. 

You’ve probably heard that you must keep accounting books with the transactions you perform to develop your economic activity. This article explains which books you should keep and what happens if you don’t.

Accounting books depending on the tax scheme

1) Normal direct estimate (“Estimación directa”)

Suppose the tax scheme in which you registered is the normal direct estimate. You also have an industrial, commercial or service activity. In that case, you must keep the official books of the Commercial Code and legalise them in the Commercial Register. The books you should keep are the following:

– Log Book

– Inventories and Annual Accounts Book

2) Objective estimate (“Estimación objetiva”)

If you registered in the objective estimate, you are not obliged to keep accounting books. Still, you should keep all supporting documents for payment or collection of your purchases and sales.

3) Simplified direct estimate (“Estimación directa simplificada”)

If your tax scheme is a simplified direct estimate, you must keep the following accounting books:

– Sales and income book

– Purchases and expenses book

– Investment goods book

Use our management platform to run your business. You will access these scheme books, updated automatically as you upload your income and expenses invoices.

Let’s see what each one of these books must include.

Sales and income book

In this book, you must include all of the sales invoices you have issued to your clients. Regardless of whether you registered in more than one economic activity and the VAT type or withholding that you have to apply, this book should include all your invoices to clients.

In addition, this book must have strictly ordered dates and continuous numbering without numbering breaks. For example, suppose you issue this year’s invoice No. 1, dated August 20th. In that case, you cannot issue invoice No. 2 with the date before August 20th, nor can you issue it as number 3. That is how your invoicing should appear:

invoice 0001 – date 15/08

invoice 0002 – date 20/08

invoice 0003 – date 30/08


If there are numbering breaks, this would mean that there are missing invoices. That is, you haven’t declared certain incomes to the Treasury so that the Tax Agency could sanction you.

Purchases and expenses book

This book must contain expenses or purchase invoices related to your economic activity. You should know that you can not include invoices for clothing purchases or cinema tickets as expenses.

In this book, it is not necessary to strictly follow an order of dates and invoice numbers. After all, deducting expenses is a right, not an obligation, as is the case with your income. So, if you forget to include an expense in the quarter you have paid, you can include it in the next quarter without any problem.

Investment goods books

The investment goods book should include purchases of goods related to your economic activity. Those goods should have a useful life of more than a year. If you need a computer, a desk and a chair to work, all these would be fixed assets that you should include as investment goods.

What happens if you don’t keep your accounting correctly?

Even if you declare your income and expenses in the IRPF, it is crucial to account for the operations as per law. If the Tax Agency decides to make you a tax inspection and you don’t keep your accounting properly, the Treasury could penalise you.

If you keep your accounting, but it is incorrect, the Treasury may impose sanctions according to the mistake.

Delay of more than 4 months

Suppose you delay more than four months in keeping your accounting. That may lead to a fixed penalty of 300€.

You pay less IRPF

Suppose you pay less IRPF due to improper accounting. In that case, the Tax Agency would apply a proportional penalty on the amount you didn’t pay, ranging between 50% and 150%.

You don’t have an accountancy system

If you don’t even keep an accounting, you will have more problems. For example, if you want an expense to be deductible, you must account for it. 

If you subsequently receive an inspection and there is no accounting, the Tax Agency will consider that expense not deductible. Thus, they will demand a higher fee in your IRPF and impose a sanction of up to 150% of the amount left to pay.

How long should you keep your accounting?

Many self-employed think that once they register, their obligations with the Treasury are over. That’s not true because the Tax Agency can check the last 4 fiscal years

From a tax perspective, that means that you must keep all the information about your activity during that period.

On the other hand, and from the commercial point of view (article 30 of the Commercial Code), as a self-employed in Spain, you must keep the books, correspondence, documentation, and supporting documents concerning your business duly ordered for 6 years. In case of death, the responsibility to keep all documents is transferred to the heirs.

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