For members


Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes

Not to be confused with a Digital Covid Certificate, Spain's digital certificate makes many online administrative processes a lot easier. Here's everything you need to know from what you need it for to how to apply for one.

Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes
How to get Spain's digital certificate? Photo: Bartek Zakrzewski / Pixabay

What is a digital certificate?

A digital certificate is a piece of software in Spain that you can download on your computer, allowing you to identify yourself during administrative processes.

Spain is notorious for its difficult bureaucratic systems, but the digital certificate can save you a lot of hassle and allow you to complete many processes online, without having to go in person to the various offices and agencies.

What is the digital certificate used for?

The digital certificate can be used for a whole host of processes with various Spanish institutions, including the Hacienda (Tax Office), DGT (Traffic Office), regional health system, INSS social security, your bank, or your Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

You will need it to do anything from logging on to your personal health page and making changes to your employment status to paying fines, declaring taxes and registering your vehicle for road tax.

Anyone who is autónomo or self-employed in Spain should already have a digital certificate to process anything to do with taxes or social security. If you have a gestor who does your taxes for you, they will also need a copy of your digital certificate in order to submit tax returns for you.


How do I get a digital certificate?

Step 1: In order to apply for your digital certificate, you will follow this link On the right-hand side, you’ll see a button saying ‘Obtenga/Renueve su Certificado Digital’ – click on this. 

On the next page, if you’re applying for yourself, you will click on ‘Persona Física’.

Step 2: Next, you will need to download a special piece of software that allows the digital certificate to work on your computer. Click on Área de Descarga de Configurador FNMT and then select your computer operating system in order to download the correct software.

Once you have downloaded the software correctly, you will click on ‘Solicitar Certificado’ on the left-hand side panel.

Step 3: A new page will open asking you for all your personal information such as your NIE – the number on your TIE/DNI card or green residency certificate – plus your name and an e-mail address. When you’ve filled out all the fields, click ‘ENVIAR PETICIÓN’ to send your application.

Step 4: Once you have sent your application, a pop-up box will appear, if you have downloaded the software correctly, asking you for permission to open it. Click on ‘Abrir’. Another pop-up box will then appear, asking you to choose a password. You will need the password later, so choose one that you will remember or keep it somewhere safe. Then click ‘Aceptar’.

Step 5: After your application has been sent and your password set, you will receive an email with an application code. You will then need to make an appointment to visit one of the FNMT or Tax Agency offices to accredit your identity in person. You can find a list of offices and locations here, in order to find your nearest one.

When you get your appointment, you will need to take your identity documents such as TIE card, DNI card or residency certificate, plus your passport and any other documents you are asked to bring with you.

Step 6: When your identity has been verified, you will receive another e-mail with a link to download your digital certificate, as well as the same application code. To download it correctly, it will ask you for your name, NIE and code. Click on the option ‘Instalar Certificado’ in order to install your digital certificate onto your browser. This means that it will pop up every time an official Spanish website, such as the ones mentioned above, requires your identity for an administrative process.

Keep in mind, your digital certificate will only be on the one device you installed it on, to install it on other devices, you will need your application code and password. If you have a gestor to help with taxes and other administrative processes, they will also ask you for your code and password to be able to download it on their computers too. 

READ ALSO: Spanish bureaucracy explained: Saving time through the online [email protected] system

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For members


La Renta: What items can you deduct on your Spanish tax return?

Find out what costs you can and can't claim back on your annual Spanish tax return or 'declaración de la renta'.

La Renta: What items can you deduct on your Spanish tax return?

Spain’s annual tax return is known as the declaración de la renta and completing it or knowing what you can claim back as an expense can be quite tricky, particularly because there are many regional differences too. 

Anyone residing in Spain for more than 183 days and earning over €22,000 a year, who is self-employed (autónomo), or moved here in the last year, must complete it. 

Your Spanish income tax return has to be filed by June 30th for the preceding year, in this case for 2021.

READ ALSO – La Renta: The important income tax deadlines in Spain in 2022

There are many different allowances or deductions that can be made on your tax return such as deductions for couples, children, single parents, elderly parents, disabilities and large families, may of which we have covered in previous articles such as this one here

This article, however focuses specifically on costs that you can claim back on your tax return. For example, can you deduct rental or mortgage expenses, property tax or private health expenses? Read on to find out. 

READ ALSO: How to complete Spain’s Declaración de la Renta tax return

Spanish pension contributions

Up to €2,000 can be deducted for contributions to pension plans or up to 30 percent of the tax base (total income).

Property tax

Those who own a property in Spain will pay the yearly Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles, better known as IBI. This is similar to council tax in the UK and one of the expenses you can claim back on your annual declaration.

The costs of renovating your main home

Keep in mind, that you can’t just deduct the cost of any renovations on your home, particularly if they’re just cosmetic, but you can deduct for any renovations which reduce the demand for heating and cooling by at least seven percent. In this case, you can apply a 20 percent deduction, with a maximum of €5,000. 

Buying or rental costs of your main home

This expense can only be deducted by those who bought their property and signed the mortgage before January 1st, 2013 and must have included it in previous declarations. In the case of those who are renting, the signing of the contract must have been made before January 1st, 2015.

The tax benefit is up to 15 percent with a maximum limit of €9,040, while the maximum deduction will be €1,356.  

Some regions will also allow you to deduct further expenses if you buy a house in a rural area or habitually live in an area at risk of depopulation, such as in Andalusia, Cantabria, Castilla La-Mancha, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja and Valencia.  You can also deduct expenses for the cost of buying a residence for a particular group of people, be it young people in need, victims of domestic violence, disabled people or large families.


Donations of many kinds can be deducted on your annual tax declaration, whether they’re charitable donations, donations to cultural institutions, donations for scientific advancement, innovative technologies or the environment.

Generally, you can deduct 80 percent of the first €150 and 35 percent of any donations after that. If you have any doubts as to whether the donations you made last year can be included, it’s best to check with your accountant or gestor.

For educational studies and textbooks

Many times, you can deduct the cost of education and the textbooks associated with them. In general, you can deduct 15 percent of school fees; 10 percent of language courses and; five percent of the cost of purchasing clothing for exclusively school use.

However, this does not include claiming back for all courses, unless you are autónomo (self-employed) and they are designed to help improve your business. If you’ve taken a course, it’s best to check with your gestor or accountant to see if the fees can be included on your declaration as there are slight variations between regions too.

Investments in environmental installations (some regions only)

Many regions in Spain allow you to deduct costs of investing in environmental installations such as solar panels, thermal installations, and water-saving devices. This category also includes improvements made to your habitual residence due to disability or adaptation because of technical or structural issues. Some of the main regions you can deduct these expenses include Valencia, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Murcia and Galicia. Unfortunately, these are not included for Madrid or Catalonia.

Domestic help (some regions only)

In some regions in Spain, you can even deduct expenses for domestic help, such as cleaners, nannies or au-pairs. This is true in Madrid, Andalusia, La Rioja and Castilla y León.

Electric cars (some regions only)

Those who make an investment in buying an electric car may also be able to deduct the cost of this, depending on where they live. This is true if you live in Valencia, La Rioja and Castilla y León.

Standout regional differences

  • The Canary Islands and Cantabria are the only two regions that allow you to deduct private health insurance and other health-related expenses, but make sure you contact your gestor to find out exactly which health costs can be claimed for.
  • Andalusia is the only region where you can deduct legal expenses.
  • Public transport costs can be deducted in Aragón and Asturias.

Please note, we at The Local are not financial experts. What we’ve learned, we’ve learned the hard way — by getting on the phone and listening to all those frustrating automated messages. 

The information above is designed to help, but if you are in doubt or unsure of exactly what you can claim back, seek professional advice.