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How can the digital certificate help me?

Bureaucratic formalities-Digitisation

Many of our clients come to us without a digital certificate. We believe that a digital  certificate is very useful, especially in the increasingly computerised society we live in,  which is why one of the first things we recommend to our clients is to get one. 

What is a digital certificate for and how do I apply for it? 

While we used to have to handle all bureaucratic procedures by going to the relevant  counter, which meant waiting in queues and spending a lot of time, now, thanks to  digitisation, we can handle most procedures online, faster and without having to travel. To  complete these formalities via computer, you need a digital certificate, which is easy to  obtain. This is how you can obtain a digital certificate. 

What is a digital certificate? 

A digital certificate is an electronic document that identifies a person with a public law code  that allows them to perform procedures on the Internet. This certificate is issued and  signed by an accredited entity recognised as a certification authority. The certificate has a  unique serial number and a validity period of four years, so it must be renewed  periodically. Any adult or emancipated minor in possession of an identity card can apply. 

What is the certificate for? 

The digital certificate is used to speed up the completion of various procedures over the  internet, reducing time and allowing the procedure to be carried out at any time, without  time limits. Currently, many procedures of state, regional and local government  departments, as well as other entities such as professional associations or universities,  among others, are carried out with the certificate. Signing a document with the digital  certificate has the same validity as signing in person. 

For the self-employed, it is mandatory to have a digital certificate because the tax  authorities have required the submission of certain documents via the internet for several  years. 

How do I get a digital certificate? 

The process to obtain the digital certificate consists of three stages.

In the first place, the certificate must be applied for via the internet from a certification  authority. Generally, this is done through the Fábrica de La Moneda y Timbre, but there  are also other bodies, such as the Certification Authority (ANF AC) or Camera Firm. Once  the certificate is applied for, a certificate application code is sent by e-mail. The FNMT  recommends using Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers for this procedure. 

Second, with this code, you have to go in person to a registration office, such as the be l a  s t i n g k a n to re n a dm i n i s t r a t i o n s ( A g e n c i a Tr i bu ta r i a ) a n d s o m e  social security offices, which is a necessary step to download the certificate. 

The third step is to download the certificate from the FNMT website on the same computer  where the application was made and install it in the browser to work. The certificate is  stored on the computer’s hard drive. You can check if it is installed by going to the Tools  tab – Internet options – content – certificates. 

It is also advisable to make a backup copy of the certificate on an external storage  medium. 

How can you get accreditation if you are outside Spanish territory? 

Citizens who are not Spanish residents can obtain their electronic certificate through  Spanish consulates abroad, provided it is one issued by the Spanish Fábrica Nacional de  Moneda y Timbre. 

Obtaining a certificate from the FNMT basically consists of three steps: the application  through the FNMT’s website, the in-person accreditation at the consulate or embassy (you  have to present the code obtained at the time of application and the requested documentation) and, finally, the downloading of the certificate, also from the website of this  certifying body. The fourth recommended step is to make a backup copy of the certificate  obtained so that you can restore it if necessary. 

What procedures can be performed with the digital certificate? The most common procedures that can be performed with the digital certificate include: 

• Filing and paying tax returns. Paying taxes such as income tax, and in the case  of the self-employed, paying VAT. 

• Submission of claims and appeals . 

• Consult and pay fines with the DGT . You can also pay traffic fines online if you have the  certificate. 

• Grant applications and procedures . It speeds up grant processing. 

• Enter population and housing census data. 

• Registration in the municipal census .

• Electronic signing of official documents and forms . 

• Obtaining social security reports . One of the documents that can be requested is  employment history, which is important to know when you can retire. 

• Handling certain cases at the unemployment office . Going to the unemployment office to  get your unemployment card stamped is one of the functions you can now avoid with the  certificate. 

• Manage your income tax return . 

Finally, you should know that you can only have one digital certificate in force, which must  be renewed when it expires. Once you have your digital certificate, you can safely  conduct all your online procedures. 

Note: The content of this article is purely informative. 

Do not take risks, always contact a lawyer. All practising lawyers in Spain must be  registered with a bar association. For your safety, you can check this at: servicios…/censo-de- letrados/ 

Nathalie Zanolie 

Lawyer (registered with the Tenerife Bar Association with registration number 3.033 – Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Santa Cruz de Tenerife ICATF).



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