ICEX-Invest in Spain and Garrigues launch the 2023 Guide to Business in Spain

Among the new features, the publication covers the recent legal reforms designed to support startups and simplify the process of forming a company

Each year, the guide attracts more than 50,000 readers from all over the world. The latest edition was viewed from 2,605 cities and 156 countries. Mexico, the UK and Colombia account for 10% of all visits.

The 39th edition of the Guide to Business in Spain, prepared by the law firm Garrigues, is now accessible on the ICEX-Invest in Spain website. It is available for free in both Spanish and English and can be accessed online or downloaded in PDF format, either in full or by individual chapters.

The publication condenses crucial regulatory factors impacting investments in Spain into seven chapters and three annexes. It specifically focuses on the nuances of the Spanish legal framework with respect to foreign investment, covering areas such as company law, taxation, labour and social security regulations, anti-money laundering policies, significant initiatives for public business subsidies, financial sector rules, intellectual and industrial property rights, e-commerce regulations, accounting and auditing standards, and more.

Featured among the notable recent developments in Spain since the previous edition of the guide are key changes introduced in the Create and Grow Law. These reforms include the removal of the 3,000-euro minimum share capital requirement for forming a limited liability company, actively encouraging the widespread adoption of online procedures for company incorporation.  

In its 39th edition, the guide also acknowledges the enactment of the Startup Law, officially titled the Law for Startup Ecosystem Promotion. This legislation enables these companies to benefit from a reduced tax rate of 15% during their early years. It promotes compensation methods based on the issuance of shares or stakes to startup employees and enhances tax breaks for investors in newly established or recently created businesses.

With respect to taxation, the guide specifically outlines new fiscal measures in Corporate Income Tax aimed at addressing climate change. It also establishes reduced tax rates for companies with a net turnover below one million euros (23%) and increases deduction limits for investments in film productions, audiovisual series and live performances in arts and music. Personal Income Tax (IRPF) in particular sees a deduction of up to 20% introduced in the amounts paid for energy-efficient home improvements.

Regulations related to foreign investments and entrepreneurship have continued to evolve in the chapter on labour, exemplified by the recent introduction of work permits for digital nomads. Spain has in addition enacted several equality laws, including Law 15/2022 of 12 July, which ensures comprehensive equal treatment and non-discrimination. This legislation acknowledges the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination for individuals, irrespective of their nationality or legal residency status.

Finally, in the chapter focusing on public aid, the guide mentions the implementation of a new initiative by the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) under its INNVIERTE Programme. This initiative is designed to foster venture capital investment in strategic companies. The guide also discusses another CDTI initiative: the Audiovisual and Video Game R&D Projects Programme, which aims to support projects focused on developing innovative technologies in these sectors.

Furthermore, this year’s guide provides in-depth coverage of the regulations governing subsidies available to investment projects that create employment in designated just transition areas. It also discusses the changes and adjustments made to regional incentive regulations, following the necessary adaptation of the Spanish Royal Decrees outlining Economic Promotion Zones in Spain's new regional aid map for 2022-2027, approved by the European Commission in March 2022. Investments in regions such as the Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, Andalusia, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, in particular, continue to qualify for substantial subsidies. Other regions in our country have also managed to retain their eligibility for these incentives.

Lastly, the Guide presents current information on incentives and subsidies from EU funds. It concisely outlines recent developments related to the execution of the Spanish Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, along with the disbursements received by our country from EU institutions during the current financial year.

Over 50,000 readers from 156 countries
Over its 39-year history, the Guide to Business in Spain has become a definitive resource for foreign investors. Its informative approach offers readers access to specific legal information and sophisticated technical insights into the Spanish legal system. Particularly noteworthy is its role as a crucial tool for foreign investors seeking an initial understanding of Spanish legal regulations in English. This Guide to Business undoubtedly stands out as the most ambitious and extensive publication on the Spanish legal system available in the English language.

The guide is also noteworthy in being one of the most downloaded documents from the Invest in Spain website, attracting over 50,000 readers from various origins and nationalities every year. The latest edition, in particular, drew readers from 2,605 cities across 156 countries. Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Colombia contributed to a significant 10% of all visits.  

Spain, one of the largest FDI recipients
The Guide has a wide-ranging potential audience, with Spain standing out as one of the world’s top recipients of foreign investment. Recent UNCTAD data from 2022 positions Spain as the 11th largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) globally, surpassing economic powerhouses such as Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy. 

According to statistics from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism’s foreign investment registry, Spain hosts approximately 20,000 foreign-owned companies, providing employment for around 1.8 million individuals.

ICEX-Invest in Spain
The role of the Executive Management of Invest in Spain ICEX is to promote and attract foreign investment. Its mission is to promote, attract and encourage foreign investment in Spain, as well as reinvestment by established foreign companies. ICEX also performs activities to position Spain as a global platform for international investment and business. Another area of action for ICEX relates to improving the business climate in Spain, in continuous dialogue with other ministerial departments and with business associations and companies established in Spain, both Spanish and foreign-owned.

Garrigues is an international legal and tax services firm that advises clients locally, regionally and globally on all aspects of business law. Garrigues' strength lies in its team of over 2,000 people who work across the board to solve its clients' problems, not to mention the values it shares with the countries in which it operates across four continents: the highest quality of service, ethical commitment and an innovative attitude to anticipating market needs. Its ultimate aim is to contribute to creating an environment of security and trust that fosters companies’ development in a fairer, more ethical, responsible and sustainable society.