I am an EU national based in the UK working for a British company. I would like to live and work remotely from Spain between 3 to 6 months per year. My current company told me they would not accomodate that and other companies interested in hiring me won't accomodate it either, without providing details. I would like to understand what the tax/law implications are that make companies so reluctant.

I'm a senior software engineer with a skillset that attracts lots of recruiters and companies, but as soon as I mention my plan, they quickly either ignore me or tell me it won't be possible.

Based on my research, I would remain a tak UK resident as I would spend less than 183 days per year from Spain. My understanding is that companies need to pay PAYE tax based on how long I work from abroad (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/paying-employees-working-abroad), which involves filling a P85 form. From a NICs perspective, it looks like there are no special implications as long as this arrangement does not go beyond 2 years (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-insurance-for-workers-from-the-uk-working-in-the-eea-or-switzerland).

I acknowledge this is a fairly niche situation but any information or links to resources would be greatly appreciated. The more I search, the more contradictory statements I find, and I'm quickly overwhelmed by all the jargon.

  • 1
    Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 8, 2022 at 22:56
  • There might not be special requirements from the UK side, but there might be extra conditions from the Spanish side. You would very likely be partially subject to ES income tax, which is more bureaucracy for your employer. There would be issues like worker's rights, pension payments, and health insurance (regardless of whether you have UK insurance). You're free to visit ES as a tourist, but if you work there you/your employer would have to contribute to the ES system. Unless you're an ES citizen there might also be issues with your right to work there – freedom of movement has restrictions.
    – amon
    Aug 9, 2022 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


Tax is a minor part of the issue

A UK company with employees based in Spain on a semi-permanent basis must comply with both UK and Spanish law with respect to them. This includes tax law but it also includes employment law, public holidays, and health and safety law.

First, these laws are in Spanish and the UK is not a noticeably multi-lingual country so the company will have to pay for a professional legal translation.

Second, the Spanish and English/Welsh legal systems are different - even if that laws say the same thing, they might not mean the same thing.

Third, you would likely be entitled to the most generous provisions. If Spain gives more annual leave, you get that. If the UK gives more sick leave, you get that. Of course, if you’re unscrupulous about when you travel, you can maximise your public holidays too.

Fourth and most importantly: they don’t have to worry about any of this with a UK based applicant.

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