Best options for freelancing

Okay, I’m not sure this hasn’t been explained before, but if it has, I haven’t been able to find it.

Up until recently, I was setup in Spain as a Freelance (we call it “autónomo”). My main source of income was acting as a Commercial Agent, basically, a freelance representative here in Taiwan for a couple of companies (they don’t pay me a regular fee, just a commission from the sales). I also did translation/editing works and illustration/design, but those are rare.

The problem is that working as a freelance in Spain is a ruin: you’re forced to pay at least 380€/month as the social security fee (which guarantees you free healthcare while you’re in Spain, and a meager pension once you retire… if you don’t starve earlier). VAT is 21%, and you could deduct from that if you were paying VAT inside the EU (which is not the case, since all my expenses are in Taiwan), plus my clients will deduct another 21% for taxes from all my invoices.

That means everytime I make an invoice, the leeches will get a 42% of it, and every month I’ll have to pay 380€, the main benefit of which I can’t enjoy at all (free healthcare).

I recently had some problems with the tax agency (some minor differences between what they said I should pay and what I actually paid), and the social security (they wouldn’t allow me to renounce to the healthcare while I’m outside the country, but they won’t discount me that part of the money from what I should pay).

The next step is, obviously, see if I can be a freelance here, and what would the expenses be.

I already have a marriage visa, so I am able to work. Long term scenario, I’ll be setting up my own company to trade directly, but I don’t have the money to setup my trading company right now, and even when the business is improving, it might be one or two years ahead of schedule. I went to Jusregal some time ago to ask about setting up the company, but the cost for setting the company up and the initial investment is out of the question for me… at least until I can charge the companies I represent for this year’s commissions, which I won’t be able to do without being registered as a freelance or a company.

As a freelance commercial agent, I only get commissions, and I have no liability problems due to the contracts I sign with the companies I represent. My expenses are minor (phone, internet, transport) and almost all the money I earn is net benefit coming from overseas (at this moment I can’t make a living only with the amount I earn, but the business is growing).

I know I could go to an accountant and ask them about it, but usually registering as a freelance is pretty straightforward, and I will save money if I can do it myself (or with the help of a chinese-speaking friend).

Does anyone have experience with this? Any insights or advice will be greatly appreciated.

You could go to MOEA and register a company by yourself. Then you don’t need to pay those expensive legal fees.

Can I find a step by step guide anywhere? In English?

I am not sure; there is a post about forming a rep office on this forum which is pretty similar to forming an actual company. The documents are all in chinese so you would need a friend to help you with that.

At the moea they do have a few staff that speak english. Best thing is to call them on the phone and ask the info you need, or make an appointment to sit down with the manager there. Then they will help you to complete the process.

Oh I just saw the post about forming a company is right under the rep office one.

The main point of my question was being a freelance instead of having a company. Limited companies require more paperwork and are more expensive to create, and right now I can’t afford it.

Any update on freelancing options for those with open work permits ?