With the UK’s exit from the European Union looping and tax transparency becoming an ever larger issue for companies, I started the process to prepare and protect PROtastic last December.
As 60% of sales go to Europe, after much research I decided the best option to ensure a seamless transition was to lease an office and register companies in the 6 main countries I do business with: France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland and Czech Republic. This plan had the added benefit of allowing me to store stock locally in each country to enable European customers to receive the next and same day delivery options that UK customers enjoy.
I’d contracted a UK based accountants specialising in international taxes to do the nessessary registrations and of course my monthly VAT returns.
It was all going fine until Christmas when I got a call telling me that the Spanish wouldn’t accept the powers of attorney which allowed the accountants to act on my behalf. The way around this, I was told, was to book an appointment at the Spanish Consulate in London. Livid, I costed it up and the greedy UK trains and expensive city hotels pushed the day trip to over £220… And that was cattle class!
So during the New Year holidays I had a brainwave. What if I go to Spain to sign forms in person? Without doing much research I found out that I can apply for the Spanish identity number (that I need to start the company) at any Spanish police station.
Flights are cheaper than UK trains, and hotels are more reasonable than London. I costed it up and nearly fell off my chair. I found car rental for just €0,06 (£0.06) a day! Granted, the excess on the insurance was 4 figures but I have an annual policy that covers me against this.
The total trip was 3 days (giving a buffer for any issues) and including airport parking at the horrible Manchester Airport came in at a total of £124! No brainer, I blocked the dates out in my diary.
Return Flights: £35.98
Airport Parking: £21.50
Hotel (Inc. Breakfast): £66.66
Car Rental: £0.15
TopCashback: – £2.47
TOTAL: £121. 82
On top of that I’ll earn £6.66 back in credits via the very generous hotels.com loyalty scheme but I’ll count that on a future trip.
So with the appointment booked at Torre De Mar Police Station, I nervously counted down the days in case the car rental was a scam…