This article aims to clarify the framework for the Digital Nomad, by identifying critical issues in the first trimester of the implementation of the 28/2022 Law for international teleworkers.
Since January 2023, the Digital Nomad Visa has become a reality, being a legal entry mechanism for all regular, highly qualified non-EU citizens who intend to continue their work or professional activity (previously performed in their country of origin) remotely from Spain, with foreign companies.
It is interesting to emphasize the potential of the law. It has introduced the new authorization (for a three-year period), and also the subsequent extension of the “special tax regime for posted employees” (the Beckham Law) to employees or professionals who are teleworking from Spain. It thus covers all the prerogatives, bringing up legal issues and establishing a new regulatory framework for the emerging “post-covid teleworkers”.
In this way, the aim is to solve the irregularities committed during the previous years at the labour and social security level, concerning this category (unregulated so far) such as, for instance, digital nomads with non-lucrative visas, or transnational employees “loaned” to Spanish-resident companies.
There is also a tax benefit for the worker and his family, in order to make international mobility more attractive. By applying a flat tax rate of 24% for the first €600,000 (instead of 50% under the ordinary tax system), the digital nomad might be more motivated to declare as such and regularize his income in Spain.
However, from a practical perspective, has it been effectively possible to obtain the visa with its benefits? Have any difficulties been experienced?
During these months the administration, acting through the Large Business Units (UGE), has implemented the new authorization for those who are in Spain on a regular basis, complying with the premises, the basic requirements and the specialties contained in each case of the law. On the other hand, no visas have been issued by the Consulates yet, as they are waiting for the instructions that are supposed to arrive at the end of March 2023. Therefore, the fastest way (and the only one at the moment) to obtain the authorization for international teleworking is by applying directly from Spain, through the services of the UGE, sending the request once the displacement has been carried out on a regular basis (with or without visa).
Regarding the tax benefits of this new category, we regret the suspension of the application procedure for the special tax regime, since the Spanish Tax Authority has declared to be “pending of the regulatory development for the approval of the new application Form adapted to the new situations and conditions” of digital nomads (and their families).
This means that, the Digital Nomads will be able to apply for the Beckham Law at a later time, and as soon as the new Form is approved, despite having received the authorization of residence at a time prior to the approval of the development regulation.
Faced with this scenario, legal and fiscal advice and support on the matter is necessary, to overcome the technical and administrative difficulties that this procedure implies, and to define a strategic line of a realistic international mobility on the aforementioned critical issues.