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Practical Handbook for Companies 2021

Fiscally protected cooperatives

Tax-sheltered cooperative societies are classified as follows:

1.Protected cooperatives

Regulation:Article 6 Law 20/1990

These are entities which, regardless of their date of incorporation, comply with the principles and provisions of the General Law on Cooperatives or the Cooperative Laws of the Autonomous Communities, and do not fall within any of the grounds for loss of tax protected status under Article 13 of Law 20/1990.


The rules of Chapter IV of Title II and Title III of Law 20/1990 will continue to apply to the unprotected co-operatives which have lost their fiscally protected status due to any of the causes set out in Article 13 of Law 20/1990 and which are duly constituted and registered in the Register of Co-operatives.In this case, cooperatives will be taxed at the general corporate tax rate on the totality of their results.

2.Specially protected cooperatives

Regulation:Article 7 Law 20/1990

These are the first-degree protected cooperatives of the following classes:

  • Worker Cooperatives.
  • Agricultural Cooperatives.
  • Community Exploitation of Land Cooperatives.
  • Marine Cooperatives.
  • Consumer and User Cooperatives.

3.Second-tier cooperatives

Regulation:Article 77 Law 27/1999

These co-operatives are constituted by at least two co-operatives.Other public or private legal entities and individual entrepreneurs may also become members, up to a maximum of 45 percent of the total number of members, as well as working partners.

Their purpose is to promote, coordinate and develop the common economic goals of their members, and to strengthen and integrate their economic activity.

Depending on the type of cooperatives they join, second-degree cooperatives are classified as protected or specially protected (Article 35 of Law 20/1990).

4.Unions, federations and confederations of cooperatives

Regulation:Article 79 Law 27/1999

Cooperatives of all types and kinds may form companies, groupings, consortiums and unions among themselves, or with other natural or legal persons, public or private, and enter into conventions or agreements, for the better fulfilment of their corporate purpose and for the defence of their interests.

According to the provisions of article 36.b) of Law 20/1990, these entities will pay corporate income tax under the regime of the partially exempt entities regulated in Chapter XIV of Title VII of the LIS.