One of the objectives of Act 12/2012, December 26, on urgent measures for the liberalization of trade and given services, which took effect on December 28, 2012 (hereinafter, “the Act”), has been the promotion of retail trade by means of the elimination of certain administrative constraints that paralyze the start and development of some trade activities, with the ability to achieve the objective sought by means of other control procedures.

In doing so, this Act has gone one step beyond what was regulated in Sustainable Economy Act 2/2011, March 4, by virtue of which and in general, the requirement for permits and other preventive control measures for the exercise of some activities has been eliminated, unless such permits are required for the protection of public health or safety, the environment, artistichistorical heritage, or when these require the private use and occupation of public property but, in all cases, conditioning their requirement on a diagnosis of need and proportionality.

Following the new Act, all prior municipal authorizations or permits have been eliminated for protection of the environment, public safety or health, the exercise of retail trade activities and given services envisaged in the Act, performed in permanent establishments located anywhere in Spain and whose useful floor space for exhibit and sale to the public does not exceed 300 square meters.

Such permits have been replaced by statements of compliance or prior notices, with the mandatory requirement in all cases to be in possession of the receipt for payment of the corresponding tax, when necessary. Such documents should contain an explicit statement of compliance with any requirements necessary in accordance with legislation in force.

Therefore, to commence certain trade activities and given services, government administrations or entities may not require the attainment of a prior installation, operating or activity permit, or any other similar or analogous ones that subject the trade activity to be undertaken to prior authorization, or to the possibility itself of opening the corresponding establishment.

Likewise, in relation to fitting-out works for premises to be devoted to the development of the trade activity, no prior permit or authorization will be required when such works do not require the drafting of a construction project in accordance with Article 2.2 of Building Act 38/1999, November 5.

Administrative control will take place a posteriori, and the penalty scheme in force on matters of domestic trade, land management and urban planning, protection of health, the environment and artistic-historical heritage will be applied.