Types of companies and partnerships in Spain: Tax landscape

Starting a business in Spain requires careful consideration of the legal and tax implications. There are several types of companies and entities, each with its own unique characteristics and tax treatment.

In this article, we will explore the most common types of companies for tax purposes in Spain, including Self-employed (Autónomo), Sociedad Limitada (SL), Sociedad Anónima (SA), Sociedad Civil (SC), Sociedad Colectiva (SCo), Sociedad Comanditaria Simple (SCS), and Sociedad Comanditaria por Acciones (SCA).

Let’s look at these structures to learn about their characteristics and advantages.

Individual Entrepreneur (Self-employed)

A sole proprietor, commonly known as a self-employed person, is a professional who operates a business activity on his or her own account. This type of entrepreneur assumes full responsibility for the debts and obligations of the business out of his or her personal assets. Although being self-employed offers simplicity and independence, it also entails personal liability risks.

Sociedad Limitada (SL)

The Sociedad Limitada (SL) is a limited liability company whose capital is divided into shares or participations. The liability of the shareholders is limited to the amount of capital they contribute. This structure is suitable for small and medium-sized companies because of its flexibility and ease of administration.

Sociedad Anónima (SA)

The Sociedad Anónima (SA) is a public limited company whose capital is divided into shares. Like the SL, the liability of the shareholders is limited to their capital contribution. SAs are usually used for larger companies and those that intend to be listed on the stock exchange in the future.

Sociedad Civil (SC)

Sociedad Civil (SC) is a company formed by two or more partners who contribute goods or services to a common business activity. Unlike other entities, the SC has no legal personality, and the partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s obligations.

Sociedad Colectiva (SCo)

Sociedad Colectiva (SCo) is a partnership in which all partners have unlimited and joint and several liability for the debts of the company. This structure is less common in modern business practices due to its high personal liability risks.

Sociedad Comanditaria Simple (SCS)

The Sociedad Comanditaria Simple (SCS) is a partnership made up of two types of partners: the limited partners, who manage the company and have unlimited liability, and the limited partners, whose liability is limited to their capital contributions.

Sociedad Comanditaria por Acciones (SCA)

Sociedad Comanditaria por Acciones (SCA) is a variant of the SCS in which limited partners participate through shares. This structure combines elements of the SA and the SCS, offering a flexible option for certain companies.


Selecting the right type of company is crucial for any entrepreneur starting a business in Spain. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of liability, tax implications and administrative requirements. Entrepreneurs should seek professional advice to make informed decisions that suit their business objectives. Please contact our tax advisors in Barcelona regarding this topic.


Frequently asked questions

  • Can I change the legal structure of my company in Spain?

Yes, it is possible to change the legal structure of your company, but it involves legal and administrative procedures. It is essential to consult experts before making any changes.

  • What type of company is the most tax efficient in Spain?

The tax efficiency of a company depends on several factors, such as business activities, profits and individual circumstances. Consultation with tax experts is essential to determine the best option.

  • What are the tax advantages available to small businesses in Spain?

There are several tax incentives and deductions available to small businesses, such as reduced corporate tax rates and deductions for research and development expenses.

  • Is there a minimum capital requirement for all types of companies?

No, not all types of companies require minimum capital. The amount of capital required varies depending on the legal structure chosen.

  • Can foreigners set up companies in Spain?

Yes, foreign entrepreneurs can set up companies in Spain. They can choose from several types of companies, and the process is relatively straightforward with the right guidance.

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