Psychology is a science that studies and analyzes the psyche and the processes that are part of it. But it is also a profession that requires great effort, perseverance and dedication, the figure of the psychologist being that of a professional whose services imply an economic retribution.
Many professionals work for the public administration or manage to be hired by a company or psychology institute, but the truth is that the vast majority of psychologists must establish themselves as freelance professionals in order to survive, and to do so they must be able to bill for their services. How do you bill if you are a freelance psychologist in Spain? We are going to see it throughout this article.
Requirements to start billing as a freelance psychologist
Before you can start dealing with patients or users and be able to invoice, there are a number of prerequisites that need to be met. In order to be autonomous and be able to invoice as such, it is necessary to carry out a series of previous steps .
In the first place, in order to work as a psychologist, it is essential to be a member of a professional association, which is a legal requirement in order to practice. In addition, it is necessary to be registered with the Social Security.
Once this has been done, and provided we have the necessary qualifications to practise, we must register as self-employed with the Social Security and the Tax Authorities, registering for the Tax on Economic Activities or IAE and filling in form 037 for registration of self-employed (with epigraph 776). Once this has been done, we can start billing.
From then on, you will have to pay the self-employed quota monthly , as well as present the model 130 of quarterly payment of the IRPF and the 303 of VAT in case your professional activity is not exempt from this (also quarterly). It will also be necessary to have a fiscal address, necessary to be able to carry out the invoicing and to fill in the previous forms.
However, first of all, if we are employed by a company, it is not necessary to carry out the invoicing procedures as we will receive a salary from the company in question. We will only need to invoice if we offer our services as freelancers.
However, being linked to a company is not the same as being hired : it is common for companies to employ self-employed professionals who invoice their services, in which case you would be working on your own and it will be necessary to do so.
Other requirements for working in the clinic
In the case of working in the clinic, it will also be necessary to obtain authorisation as a health centre (even if we carry out our professional activity in our own home), which includes another series of procedures linked to the centre and the professional activity itself. The specific procedures will depend on whether we establish ourselves on our own or create a company .
Focusing on the first case, we will have to have a book of income and expenses, the opening or activity license, the registration in the waste rate, the quarterly declaration of the rent (model 115 in the Treasury) and if we hire someone we will also have to fill in model 111, also quarterly.
As far as the centre is concerned, it will be necessary to obtain, as we have said, the health register. To do this, it will be necessary to make an application to the “Servei d’Autorització i Registre d’Entitats, Centres i Serveis Sanitaris”, pay the fees, possess and present a rental contract for the property or a copy of the deeds, the ID card, and the technical project signed by a technician (including technical and functional memory)
It will be necessary to have a space enabled and free of architectural barriers, an office of at least 8 square meters. It can only be shared by other professionals with the same activity and must be accessible from a public space, with a reception and waiting area, consultation and a service for patients and accompanying persons.
We must also be registered with the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AGPD) in order to communicate and record the type of data we will be working with, provide security measures for the processing of patient data, have complaint forms and an information sign in this regard, carry out occupational risk prevention and have civil liability insurance.
Making your own invoice as a psychologist in Spain
The invoice itself is relatively simple to make , it is only necessary to take into account the different elements that must be included…
First of all, it must be made clear that the document we are producing is an invoice, and it must appear visibly in the header. Then we must incorporate the invoice number that we are issuing, so that they can be ordered sequentially over time.
We will also need to incorporate the date of issue of the invoice in question. It may also be advisable to incorporate the time, especially when we have several invoices from the same date.
Next, we must indicate the basic data of both the sender and the receiver of the invoice , the sender being the professional himself and the receiver being the client or patient.
In the case of the issuer, we will have to put our name and surname, ID card (or CIF in the case of a company) and fiscal address including city, province and postal code. In the case of the receiver, we must put our name and surname(s), DNI and address or fiscal domicile (also including city, province and postal code). If the recipient is a company instead of the DNI, the CIF will be required, as well as the company name.
After this identification data, we will proceed to describe briefly the services for which we are charging as well as the number of units of such service that we have provided to you (for example we have provided you with three therapy sessions) and the unit price or price that each of such services has. You can also tell us what we consider a unit, such as an hour of therapy. We will then give you the subtotal or taxable amount, which is the total of the gross price charged.
Now we must indicate the taxes that will be charged to us from that invoice: VAT and personal income tax. However, it should be noted that the amount and percentage of these taxes can vary greatly . These deductions have to be subtracted from the taxable base in the invoice itself, indicating both the percentage and the total amount in euros withheld. After that we will leave a record of the Total of the invoice, which will be what we will receive once the relevant deductions have been subtracted.
Finally, we must record the ownership of the data file indicating who is responsible, the use that will be given and a brief list of the rights of the user. In addition, in the case of being exempt from withholding we must also mention this on the invoice, indicating which law this exemption is subject to.
VAT on invoicing: exemptions
One of the main taxes that most professionals must take into account when invoicing is Value Added Tax or VAT, and they must calculate and pay the percentage corresponding to their professional activity in each of the invoices.
However, it must be taken into account that certain professional activities are not subject to Value Added Tax or VAT , and the health professions (as long as they are recognised by the administration) are exempt from this tax on their invoicing.
According to Article 20.3. of Law 37/1992 on Value Added Tax, assistance to individuals by medical or health professionals is exempt from VAT, including the figure of the psychologist. This means that if you are a psychologist specialising in clinical psychology or a general health psychologist (either because you have taken the PIR exams, studied the Master’s degree in General Health Psychology or have received authorisation) and your professional activity is based on health activities, you will not have to pay VAT.
This also extends, according to point 20.9 of the same law, to activities linked to the education of children and young people , including school and university education or the training of professionals. In other words, if in the same context your economic activity leads you to carry out some type of training linked to the area of health, this is also exempt from VAT.
However, the fact that these activities are exempt from VAT does not mean that we do not have to pay tax on the rest, and it should be borne in mind that if we carry out other types of activity, we will have to include VAT on the invoice. In any case, even if we are exempt, we must indicate both the percentage and the total of the money withheld (in this case, 0).
The case of personal income tax: are there always deductions?
The other major tax to take into account when billing is the Personal Income Tax . As in the case of VAT, there are also exemptions in this tax. The fact is that any invoice that is received by a non-independent individual will not require income tax withholding, so if the invoice is made to a private patient we will not have to deduct it from our bill.
In the case that our services are offered to a company, institution or freelancer, the invoice will be recorded by the IRPF, being necessary to indicate the percentage retained and the amount. In general, 15% is applied, although the first three years it is possible that the retention is only 7%.