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A new Digital Services Tax in Europe: Spain

A new Digital Services Tax in Europe: Spain.


Short after it was declared the lack of consensus in OECD about digital taxation, Spain continue its own path towards Spanish DST (Digital Service tax): “Impuesto sobre determinados servicios digitales”. First the Spanish Government approved the Draft of Law on the 7th of October 2020. Later on the 15th of October 2020, the Spanish Parliament approved the Law. After Austria, France, Italy and UK, Spain has joined this selected group (each of them with their own particularities) of DST Countries.

The Spanish DST Law was published in the Spanish Official State Gazette on 16th of October 2020 and will enter into force on 16th of January 2021, with Q1 2021 being the first reportable period. This Spanish DST is in essence following the blueprint of EU Directive Proposal of 21.3.2019 on the common system of a digital services tax on revenues resulting from the provision of certain digital services

The main elements of this tax can be summarized under the following:

Tax rate: 3%

Tax base: Turnover in Spain of the concerned taxpayers about digital services.

Taxable persons: entities that fulfil these two conditions:

  • Worldwide turnover over 750.000.000 Euro
  • 3.000.000 Euro in Spain.

The entry into force: 16th of January 2021

Tax event:

This tax is levied in all digital services rendered in Spain by the taxable persons concerning this tax. Under digital services they are included three categories:

  • Online advertising services

Those services are based on the placement of advertising targeted at the users of an interface. The placement can be on its own or on a third-person digital interface. That includes any commercial digital communication to promote service, brand or product that are place in the web or apps that are being used by users. Services provided by Instagram, Google or Facebook can be easily deemed as such.

  • Online intermediary services

Those services make available the interaction between users so that the supply of goods and/or services is agreed. It refers in particular but not only to digital platforms. This category will fit with Amazon or eBay.

  • Data transmission services

These services refer to the transmission of data collected from users that has been generated by the activities of users on digital interfaces.


The Law foreseen some exceptions:

    • Sales where the provider (taxpayer) is not acting as intermediate person.
    • Financial services provided by authorised financial institutions.
    • Financial services related to data transfer by authorised financial institutions.
    • Intra group digital services, where the concerned companies has a stake share participation of 100%.


Time will show us whether this own path taken by Spain may be the best one, or it would rather be better to wait and see as some European countries do.

The question is who will be the next one to join the selected DST Country Group. The big question is which will be the US response to these European Taxes.


Barcelona, 1st December 2020

David Elvira