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How likely is it that you would get in trouble if you had a remote Job in the USA and then went to work in Spain without telling anyone. Could I just say I was on vacation?

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    As in most cases, if you are are caught deliberately lying (failing to understand the difference between right and wrong), you will get into trouble. Nov 28, 2022 at 3:14
  • For how long would you want to do this, and why spend the time and effort to travel to Spain if you're going to spend half your waking hours behind a computer?
    – phoog
    Nov 28, 2022 at 14:59

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How likely is it that you would get in trouble if you had a remote Job in the USA and then went to work in Spain without telling anyone. Could I just say I was on vacation?

Probably very unlikely. But before addressing this question yourself you should probably figure out precisely what Spain does or does not allow in terms of remote work by people who don't live in Spain. This depends on a number of factors you haven't disclosed, including on your nationality (for example, if you are a citizen of Ireland or of any other EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you have a right to work in Spain).

It may also depend on how long you plan to work remotely in Spain. For example, the answer is likely to be different if you plan to check in a few times over the course of a week compared to working full time for three months. Most countries allow visitors to do the former, while many proscribe the latter.

In addition to possible violations of immigration law, you should be careful about possible violations of tax law. Most countries consider that income you earn for work performed within their borders is taxable. Sometimes there is a de minimis exception, but those I've seen are in the neighborhood of a week or two, or a value of no more than perhaps $5000. On top of that, if you spend more than half of a year in a country, they will often consider you a tax resident and require you to report your worldwide income and, in some cases assets, for the purpose of figuring income tax.

On the other hand, by earning your income outside the US or outside your state of residence, you may be reducing your US tax burden.

Another thing to be careful of is your employer. You could be exposing your employer to legal liability in both their own jurisdiction and in Spain, all the more so if they find out where you are. Every employer I've asked about a similar arrangement has withheld permission. If they find out you're working remotely from Spain without their knowledge, they might dismiss you. This could happen even if they don't actually incur any legal liability; they could simply be overcautious and not wanting to pay for the legal advice they would need to set their minds at ease.

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  • Also - health insurance, personal liability insurance, and wide range of other random issues that illegal immigrants everywhere have to deal with.
    – littleadv
    Nov 29, 2022 at 4:31

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