Terms of payment in Spain
Attending the unsuccessful results through the Spanish Law 3/2004, of December 29th, where measures were established against late payments in commercial transactions, new changes have been introduced in order to establish a Maximum Period for payment in these commercial transactions between companies or even with the Public Administration.
With these changes introduced by Law 15/2010, in force since the 7th of July2010,, the Spanish legislator intends to fight against late payment and, more specifically, against excessively long payment delays that could cause serious harm to the Companies business and even affect their solvency.
Impossibility to negotiate terms of payment over the terms fixed by law
So far, the terms of payments were those freely agreed by both parties, and only in case of lack of agreement the term was fixed by Law. Therefore no restrictions or limits were considered in the terms of payment agreed by the parties.
However and with this new modification, from now on the parties shall only agree shorter terms of payment than the ones enacted, never longer.
The general term of payment is maximum sixty days
Except in cases explained hereinafter, payment terms shall not exceed 60, and shall start on the date of receipt of goods or provision of services.
However, a transitional regime has been established to gradually reduce the maximum terms of payment allowed by Law, as follows:
- from July 7th, 2010 to December 31st, 2011, 85 days maximum term of payment
- from January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012, 75 days maximum term of payment
- after January 1st, 2013, the maximum term of payment will be 60 days.
In order to enable this system, suppliers must send invoices or requests for payment to their clients 30 days before the date of receipt of goods or the provision of services.
The terms of payment for fresh and perishable products is limited to a maximum of 30 days
In contracts of fresh or perishable products, the term of payment shall never be more than 30 days from the date of delivery of the goods. Will be considered fresh food and perishable products “those that retain their natural properties suitable for sale and consumption during a period shorter than thirty days or those that require temperature controlled conditions for selling and transportation”.
Regarding this type of products there is no transitional regime, so that the maximum term of payment after the enforcement of the new rule is the aforementioned 30 days.
Deadline for government payments limited to 30 days
In those administrative contracts under Law 30/2007, October 30th, for Public sector contracts, the Government shall pay their installments within a maximum period of 30 days. This 30 days period runs from the date of expedition of the certificates of construction or other documents confirming the implementation of all or part of the contract. The transitional regime is the following one:
- from July 7th, 2010 to December 31, 2010, 55 days maximum term of payment
- from January 1st, 2011 to December 31st, 2011, 50 days maximum term of payment
- from January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012, 40 days maximum term of payment
- after January 1st, 2013, the maximum term of payment will be 30 days.
Special transitional regime for maximum payment terms for civil Engineering companies
Civil Engineering companies with contracts with different Public Administrations will enjoy a special transitional regime for the payment of invoices from its suppliers and subcontractors, enabling them to agree longer term payments:
- from July 7th, 2010 to December 31st, 2011, 120 days maximum term of payment
- from January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012, 90 days maximum term of payment
- from January 1st, 2013 to December 31st, 2013, 60 days maximum term of payment
Publicity of Companies’ terms of payment
We finally highlight a new requirement introduced by the aforementioned reform, under which the companies shall include the terms of payment for their suppliers in the report of their annual accounts.