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BUSINESS

The Spanish villages that want remote workers

With the news that Spain will be introducing a digital nomad visa and tax incentives for startups, several places in Spain are already trying to attract remote workers. Here are some of the villages that want remote workers and what they offer.

The Spanish villages that want remote workers
Tolox in Málaga province is among the villages in Spain that want remote workers. Image: Pxfuel

The rise of remote working means that many jobs can be done from anywhere that has an internet connection, and Spanish regions that have struggled with depopulation due to a lack of job opportunities are seizing upon this trend.

A total of 30 towns and villages across Spain have joined the association of Red Nacional de Pueblos Acogedores or the National Network of Welcoming Villages, aiming to attract digital nomads (people who travel while continuing to work remotely) and remote workers (who settle full time in one place and work remotely for a company or companies in another town or even another country) to their communities.

These towns and villages are spread throughout the regions of Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Aragón, Andalusia, Navarra and the Basque Country.

Among other services, most of them offer coworking spaces and high-speed internet. 

READ ALSO: Tax cuts and special visas: Spain’s new law to attract foreign startups and digital nomads

Andalusia

Benarrabá
A tiny village of just 460 inhabitants, Benarrabá is located in the province of Malaga. It’s a charming and picturesque village, where the cost of living is €392 per person per week, according to RNPA. It offers a coworking space, plus a library to work from.

Photo: Albertoac1990/Wikipedia

Tolox
The village of Tolox is a gorgeous white village set in the Sierra de las Nieves, just west of Malaga. It has a total of 2,250 inhabitants and the cost of living is €150 per person per week. It’s ideal for nature lovers, with access to the nearby Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve. There’s no coworking space, but there is a public library to work from. 

The village of Tolox is welcoming remote workers. Photo: jacqueline macouPixabay 

Basque Country

Kuartango
Located in the Basque province of Álava, just west of the capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Kuartango has just 430 inhabitants and a cost of living of €310 per person per week. It’s ideal for those who want to explore the nearby Gorbeia Natural Park and all the excellent culinary offerings in Vitoria-Gasteiz. It also offers a library, an education centre and a coworking space. 

Photo: Asier Sarasua Garmendia/Wikipedia

La Rioja

San Vicente de La Sonsierra
The cute town of San Vicente de La Sonsierra sits on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards and topped with a castle and a church. You can even see snow-capped mountains in the distance. It has a population of 1,030 and a cost of living of €205 per person per week. As well as its cultural offerings, it has a coworking space and library.

Photo: Josep Renalias/Wikipedia

Canary Islands

Tejeda 
Tejeda is located on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, surrounded by mountains and ancient volcanoes on all sides. While it may be located in the interior of the island, it’s just a one-and-half-hour drive from the coast. The village has a population of 1,020 and the cost of living is €205 per person per week. It’s ideal for those who don’t like cold weather, with an average yearly temperature of 19C. It also boasts a public library and is on the island’s bus network. 

Tejeda in Gran Canaria wants remote workers. Photo: Vladimír JeškoPixabay 

Aragón

Oliete
The small village of Oliete lies just south of the city of Zaragoza and is just a two and half hour drive from the Catalan coastline and the Natural Park of the Delta del Ebro. With a population of just 343, it’s quiet and compact but offers a coworking centre and a library from which to work. The cost of living is €314 per person per week and there’s plenty of opportunities to explore the nearby natural and gastronomic attractions. 

Photo: B25es/Wikipedia

Castilla y León

Covarrubias
Located in the province of Burgos, along the Arlanza River, Covarrubias is an attractive little town of 541 people. Filled with half-timbered houses, it’s known as the ‘Cradle of Castilla’ because it was once the capital of one of the most important monastic manors. History buffs will love Covarrubias, because of the sheer number of historic sites and buildings in such as small place. The cost of living is €405 per person per week and there’s a public library, as well as several other facilities. 

Photo: Ecelan/Wikipedia

El Burgo de Osma
One of the largest towns on the list with a population of 5,035, El Burgo de Osma is located in the province of Soria and was declared a Town of Touristic Interest and of Historic and Artistic Importance. Filled with honey-coloured architecture and a plethora of historic sites, there’s plenty to do here. Sitting somewhere in the middle of Valladolid, Zaragoza and Madrid, it’s also ideally situated to reach various transport hubs. The town offers a coworking space and a library and has a cost of living of just €169 per person per week.  

El Burgo de Osma is welcoming remote workers. Photo: Andrés CorredorPixabay 

Santa Colomba de Somoza 
A 20-minute drive from the city of Astorga, Santa Colomba de Somoza lies in prime position for travel to nearby León and Ponferrada too. It has a population of 520 inhabitants and is known for tourism and gastronomy. You’ll always find foreigners travelling through here, as it’s located along the famed Camino de Santiago route. It’s home to a coworking space, as well as lots of other facilities, including bus service. The cost of living here is €310 per person per week.

Photo: Jim Anzalone/Flickr

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TAXES

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

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.

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