Recargo de equivalencia del IVA

Are you a self-employed retailer and have you noticed that your invoices charge you a higher percentage of VAT than usual? You should know that this is not an error and that this extra percentage is due to
the VAT equivalence surcharge,
a mandatory regime for all those natural persons who market a product to a final consumer.

Aware of the questions it generates, from AYCE Laborytax we will explain throughout this post what the equivalence surcharge consists of, who should apply it, the different types that exist and what are its main advantages and disadvantages.

What is the VAT equivalence surcharge?

As we have already said, the equivalence surcharge refers to a special VAT regime,totally mandatory for self-employed traders who are dedicated to the sale of items that have not been developed by themselves, and who act as mere intermediaries for the final customer.

That is, it is a special VAT surcharge that is applied to those self-employed workers or communities of goods that sell a product as they acquired it.


The VAT equivalence surcharge is not applicable to persons who carry out industrial activities, offer services or engage in wholesale trade.

Activities related to jewelry, fur, car dealerships, sale of boats or airplanes, works of art, gas stations, industrial machinery or minerals would also be exempt from the equivalence surcharge.

Self-employed workers who invoice more than 20% of their sales to companies or professional clients inthe same year, should not face the VAT equivalence surcharge either.

In this case, they will move to the conventional VAT regime, as long as the Tax Agency is informed of it at the end of the year,providing all the corresponding supporting documents.

How does the equivalence surcharge work?


Having to pay a higher percentage of VAT than usual, the self-employed trader will not have to submit the quarterly return to the Tax Agency.

Through this equivalence surcharge, the retailer pays VAT directly to the supplier,which will simplify management and allow it not to be necessary to store invoices or manage the keeping of a VAT record book.

It is important that it is the supplier who applies in the invoices issued to the retailer the corresponding VAT equivalence surcharge,since it will be in charge of entering this tax in the Tax Agency.

So that there are no problems, it is recommended that the retailer inform the supplier of the type of equivalence surcharge that is applied to him according to his situation.

Are there different types of VAT equivalence surcharge?

Not all products or activities have the same percentage as an equivalence surcharge,which will depend on the VAT rate of each product.

Currently, after the last Royal Decree Law 20/2012,when the last VAT increase to 21% occurred, there are 4 different types of equivalence surcharge:

  1. 5.2% for products with a general VAT of 21%.
  2. 1.4% for products with a reduced VAT of 10%.
  3. 0.5% for products with a super-reduced VAT of 4%.
  4. In addition, tobacco has an equivalence surcharge of 1.75%.

Advantages and disadvantages of the VAT equivalence surcharge

Like everything, the VAT equivalence surcharge has its pros and cons.

The main advantage is that it is not necessary to file the quarterly VAT return,nor to carry the books or issue invoices. This results in the release of a large portion of a retail worker’s administrative and accounting work.

On the other hand, the biggest drawback is that an amount of VAT must be paid on each invoice higher than usual.

It is also important to note that the INPUT VAT for the equivalence surcharge is not deductible nor can it be recovered,which means that the price of the products will be higher. The VAT corresponding to any investment made cannot be deducted either.

Example of the VAT equivalence surcharge

Let’s take the example of a trader who invests 1 000 euros in the purchase of products with a general VAT regime of 21%.

On the basis that the percentage of the equivalence surcharge would be 5.2%, the invoice would be as follows:

  • Tax base: 1 000 €
  • VAT: 210 €
  • Equivalence surcharge: 52 €
  • Total: 1 262 €


If you still have any doubts about the equivalence surcharge, you are not entirely clear about how you should apply it on an invoice or what type of equivalence surcharge corresponds to you, contact the team of
advisors of AYCE Laborytax