In Italy, VAT known as Imposta sul valore aggiunto (IVA) was first introduced on the 1st of January, 1973. However, the provisions of IVA have been affected by the European Legislation several times, starting from the year of 1967.
The Italian legislation, the VAT Act, is made up of seven sections, comprising ninety-four articles and three schedules. IVA is a consumption tax which is administered by the Italian Ministry of Finance.
Reduced rates: 10% and 5%
Super-reduced rate: 4%
In Italy, the reduced and super-reduced VAT rates are applied on a number of items allowed by the VAT Directive. The reduced rate of 10% applies on hotel accommodations, restaurant and catering services, admission on cultural services and all phases of waste management, storage and temporary storage, as well as the operations of plant construction.
The super-reduced rate of 4% applies on listed food, drinks and agricultural products, for instance. Specific supplies of goods and services expressly listed in Presidential Decree n. 633/72 are exempt from VAT, such as education and insurance services.
It is necessary to have a VAT number – an 11-digit code – in order to start a business or a professional activity relevant for VAT purpose in Italy. VAT registration is obligatory for anyone involved in business, agricultural activity or an artistic or professional activity on a regular basis.
VAT registration is due prior to the provision of any supplies. There is a distance sales VAT registration threshold of €35,000 per annum in case of the supplies are the sale of goods via internet.
Additionally, for non-resident traders, there is no VAT registration threshold in Italy.
How to obtain a VAT ID number in Italy?
The way to obtain a VAT ID number – issued by the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) – is completing and submitting a “Declaration of commencement, change of data or cessation of activity”. In the Declaration, it is required to provide the identification details, the code of the type of activity to be pursued, and the place of business.
The OSS (One Stop Shop) and the IOSS (Import One Stop Shop) are optional VAT schemes available also in Italy. They allow taxable persons to discharge their VAT obligations due in several EU countries electronically in one single EU country. These schemes apply only to certain transactions: supplies of goods and services rendered to final consumers in the EU.
The MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop) has been extended to become a One Stop Shop (OSS) (from the 1st of July 2021) in order to cover a wider range of supplies (distance sales and services B2C) and include further simplifications.
It is possible to register for the OSS and the IOSS on the website of the Revenue Agency or by using the telematic services of the mentioned Agency, depending on the circumstances.
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VAT liability applies to the following transactions:
The obligation of complying with the Italian legislation means the requirement to register for Italian VAT, complete Italian VAT returns and further declarations.
The Italian VAT invoices shall be issued on the date of the supply for goods, and up to 15 days following the month end of any supply.
The invoices shall contain the following details:
In Italy, the use of the simplified invoices is allowed in accordance with certain circumstances.
From the 1st of January 2019, the real-time electronic sales invoice issuance and reporting is mandatory in Italy. The invoices must be issued and submitted to the SDI (the e-invoicing platform of the Revenue Agency).
Additionally, there is an extension of the e-invoicing obligation to taxable persons established in Italy.
E-invoices shall be issued for:
From the 1st of January 2019, e-invoicing is mandatory for B2B and B2C among Italian operators with an annual turnover greater than €65 000. From the 1st of January 2022, the scope of e-invoicing is going to be extended for cross-border transactions (carried out with foreign business partners).
Italy can be considered as an innovator in electronic invoicing in Europe. In Italy for the ministries, tax agencies, and national security agencies, the use of e-invoices in public procurement, and regarding to the B2G has been mandatory since the month of June 2014. Then, one year later it became obligatory for all public entities.
The Italian VAT compliance rules and requirements have continuously been exacting and the system of them is a quite complete one. As of January 1st, 2017, “Spesometro” was the first report of the transactions which was a listing of all sales and purchases invoices that shall be filed as an XML file by the taxpayers to the Italian Tax Authorities.
The use of e-invoicing has been mandatory for the B2B invoicing since the January 1st, 2019. Additionally, in 2019, the system called in Italian as “Sistema di Interscambio” (referred to as SdI) was introduced, as kind of real-time reporting obligation (for B2B and B2C invoices). Italy was the first country in Europe which has adopted an electronic invoice clearance model (SdI).
Clearance model means that the issued invoices are needed to be pre-approved by the competent Tax Authorities and after this action the invoices can be sent to the customers. The SdI is managed by the Revenue Agency with technology and operational support provided by Sogei which is an IT provider of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. The system is absolutely compatible with the European standard.
By the adoption of the SdI, the “Spesometro” obligation has been eliminated. Since the SdI at first didn’t cover the foreign invoices, the “Esterometro” report was launched. It was like Spesometro with the difference that Esterometro exclusively dealed with foreign invoices. Thus, Esterometro takes the invoices which are not assigned to SdI live reporting.
The VAT-registered businesses with Italian residence or established in Italy shall complete a quarterly listing Esterometro – there is a monthly obligation for the ones prior to 2020 – of all cross-border invoices (both sales and purchases). The non-resident Italian VAT-registered businesses are not obliged to comply with the SdI.
At the end in Italy it is intended to eliminate the Esterometro and increase transmission via SdI for all invoices. The obligation of Esterometro is going to be eliminated in the month of January 2022, thus the foreign transactions are going to be reported in SdI. In this way it is possible to unify the transmissions with the Italian Agenzia delle Entrate. Consequently, from the 1st of January 2022, the taxpayers shall submit all their invoices to the Agenzia delle Entrate through SdI.
In addition, Fattura 1.6.1. was introduced in the year of 2021, which defines the XML structure and the content of the invoices transmitted through SdI.
Those companies that wish to use the Esterometro shall wait for the official governmental technical specifications to be published before the adaptation. However, companies using a technology partner to send their invoices will not have a problem with this adaptation.
Additionally, the deadlines for transmitting foreign transactions via SdI is as follows:
The periodic VAT returns and payments shall be calculated and paid every month or, in some cases, every quarter for those who own VAT numbers.
By the 16th day of each month, taxpayers must calculate the difference between their output VAT and input VAT in the previous months.
The possibility to choose the submission of the quarterly VAT return is open for the taxpayers with an annual turnover of less than €400 000 for supplies of services or €700 000 for other activities or belonging to certain categories.
Those entities shall file the VAT return and pay the VAT due for the first three quarters of a calendar year by the 16th day of the second month following each quarter; the VAT return for the fourth and last quarter must be submitted by 16 March of the following year.
Additionally, by December 27th of each year, all taxpayers must pay the advance VAT payment. They shall pay in advance on their VAT bill for the month of December if they file monthly VAT returns or on their VAT bill for the fourth quarter if they file quarterly VAT returns.
As a further requirement, the taxpayers subject to VAT must submit a report on the periodic VAT returns which must be submitted quarterly. This form must be sent online. By the last day of the second month following each quarter.
Additionally, each year the taxpayers who carry out a business, art, or profession must submit an annual VAT return covering all the transactions carried out in the previous year. The annual VAT return must be paid by March 16th at the latest and may be paid in equal instalments (the first one must be paid by 16 March at the latest, subsequent instalments must be paid by the 16th day of each month and the last instalment may not be paid later than 16 November).
In Italy, the fiscal representative supports non-EU business in tax-related matters. Foreign companies have an opportunity to register in Italy for VAT purposes without creating a branch, thus they appoint a fiscal representative or tax agent that is responsible for all reporting obligations.
However, the majority of EU companies use a local VAT agent.
To pay the periodic VAT returns and payments the F24 form must be filled in and submitted online. The advance VAT payments shall be paid online, using Form F24 as well.
To file the annual VAT returns, the online form found on the website of the Revenue Agency must be filed.
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