Formalities for freelancers with their own premises

There are different procedures for the self-employed who own their own premises, including the express opening licence, the opening licence for activities and installations and the building permit.

Express opening licence

The express opening licence is the name used to refer to the new opening and activity licences following the streamlining of the procedures carried out by the administrations. Citizens can open their businesses to the public more quickly, avoiding most of the administrative procedures that existed to date.

In 2012, the government approved Royal Decree Law 19/2012 liberalising the opening of businesses. This means that businesses with premises of less than 300 m² do not need municipal licences to open, only a declaration of compliance with current regulations to open their doors to the public.

The new regulation eliminates the need to wait for municipal opening and activity licences, and those that affect the environment, health and safety, and the engineer’s project and the declaration of compliance with the current law will be sufficient, so there will be no need to wait for the approval of the corresponding local council to open the doors of the business.

Only premises of less than 300 m² that have an impact on the historical and artistic heritage of the locality are excluded from this exemption.

No waiting time or new licences will be necessary in the case of a change of ownership or alteration of the premises, although the documentation of the premises will have to be updated.

It will only be necessary to have the required documentation, the same as that requested for the approval of licences, in order to be able to hand it over in case of inspection.

Procedures for the express licence

Activities included in the Annex to Royal Decree-Law 19/2012 are eligible for the “express licence” procedure.

The following documentation must be submitted for the application:

  • Application for prior notification.
  • Application for a declaration of responsibility, in which the promoter of the activity declares compliance with all the applicable requirements, in accordance with the regulations in force.
  • Self-assessment form for the “Establishment Opening Licence Fee”. The applicant must print 3 copies of the form, 1 copy for the bank, 1 copy for the Town Council and 1 copy for the applicant, and indicate the tax fee in accordance with the regulations governing the fee for opening licence for establishments.
  • When minor works are carried out for the conditioning of the establishment, the applicant must present an estimate signed by the construction company.

The applicant must pay the Construction, Installations and Works Tax (ICIO) and the corresponding Tax, as well as, if applicable, the tax for occupation or cutting of public roads.

Once all the documentation has been submitted to the Town Hall, the activity can proceed to open (art. 5 RD Law 19/2012).

Activities that cannot apply for an express opening licence

The following activities cannot apply for an express opening license

  • Those carried out in establishments that have an impact on the historical-artistic heritage or on the private use and occupation of the public domain.
  • Those requiring major works.
  • Those that are not included in the Annex to Royal Decree-Law 19/2012.

Opening and activity licence

The opening licence is a compulsory municipal licence for a commercial, industrial or service activity to be carried out in a premises, building or office. This municipal licence certifies that the installations comply with the town planning regulations in force and with the technical regulations that may be applicable.

The activity licence is granted for the development of a specific activity. It must be renewed each time the activity carried out on the premises changes, when there are modifications to the premises or when the owners of the business change.

Types of opening licences

Opening and activity licences are distributed according to the type of activities carried out. Each of the activities and businesses that are undertaken need a different set-up in their establishments, depending on the work to be carried out.

What is needed to obtain an opening licence?

In order to obtain the opening and activity licence, it is necessary to make the application in the municipality where the business is located, accompanied by the necessary documentation, and to pay the required fees at the town hall.

Building permit

It will be necessary to obtain a building permit (urban planning) or to make a communication or a responsible declaration to the Town Council to:

  • Carry out works, reforms, constructions or other actions on premises or buildings used for activities.
  • Open new offices, shops and other activities in premises.
  • Change the use of a building for activities.

A licence is not required for painting, changing floors, tiling or replacing sanitation, water, electricity or heating installations inside premises, as long as the building is not protected. In some cases, this will be done by means of a declaration of responsibility.

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