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Taxation in the IRPF of literary composition

Escritor fumando en pipa delante de su máquina de escribir

IRPF taxation of the publication of literary works in electronic and paper format directly and through third parties.


1.- Earnings from work

Section 2 of article 17 of Law 35/2006, of 28 November, on Personal Income Tax and partial amendment of the laws on Corporate Income Tax, Non-Resident Income Tax and Wealth Tax (BOE of 29 November), includes a list of income to which it expressly grants consideration as work income, among which it incorporates (paragraph d) "income derived from the preparation of literary, artistic or scientific works, provided that the right to their exploitation is ceded". This consideration is complemented by the provisions of section 3: "However, when the yields (...) involve the ordering on their own account of means of production and human resources or of one of both, for the purpose of intervening in the production or distribution of goods or services, they shall be classified as yields from economic activities".


2.- Income from economic activities

On the other hand, article 95.2.b).1 of the Personal Income Tax Regulations, approved by Royal Decree 439/2007, of 30 March (Official State Gazette of 31 March), considers professional income to be that obtained by "authors or translators of works, from intellectual or industrial property". It also adds that "when authors or translators publish their works directly, their performance will be included among those corresponding to business activities".



According to these normative qualifications, the self-publication of a book by its creator (either in electronic format or on paper, or both) will imply that the yields that could be obtained from its sale would have the qualification, for IRPF purposes, of yields from economic (business) activities.

In order for the income to be classified as income from work -in application of the provisions of article 17.2.d) of the Tax Law- it would be necessary for the book to be published by a third party to whom the rights to exploit the work were assigned, unless the author's work had been carried out in the exercise of an economic (professional) activity, in which case the remuneration for the assignment of rights would be considered income from professional activities.


Josep Navarro's picture
Josep Navarro es Licenciado en Económicas por la UB, especializado en Inspecciones Tributarias, con más de 25 años de experiencia en asesoría fiscal para empresas y particulares en España.