How to claim VAT refunds

Latest update: 12/12/2020

Non-resident entities established in another EU Member State must submit their refund application through the tax authorities of their state of establishment.

Refund applications can be submitted:

  • quarterly (January-March; April-June; July-September; October-December) for a minimum amount of EUR 400; or
  • annually, if the total amount in one or more quarters is less than EUR 400, for a minimum amount of EUR 50.

If the VAT credit is for a period of less than one calendar quarter, the annual refund application must be used. For example, a taxpayer that received invoices in January and February, but not in March, cannot apply for refund for the first quarter, but must submit the annual refund application.

The quarterly or annual refund application can be submitted in Italian, English or French, stating the amounts in Euro currency. The application must be submitted electronically to the tax authorities of the taxpayer’s state of establishment, which will forward the application to the Revenue Agency’s Operational Centre in Pescara.

When the Revenue Agency accepts a refund application, the non-resident entity is notified of the date the application was granted.

For more information, please see the information sheet VAT refunds for non-resident entities established in other EU Member States.

Can the applicant submit the VAT refund application through a third party?

The non-resident entity can appoint an agent, which need not be non-resident in Italy, to file electronically the refund application to the tax authorities of the entity’s country of establishment.

The intermediaries established in Italy must meet the Italian legal requirements. The representative must retain the special power of attorney and show it to the Operational Centre of Pescara in case of checks (Decision No 110/E of 28 November 2016). No additional documents need to be submitted.

The taxpayer may appoint a third party to collect on his behalf the refund due pursuant to Article 38-bis2 of Presidential Decree No 633 of 1972, by means of a specific authorisation to collect payments (Decision No 110/E of 28 November 2016).

cInformation to be included in the refund application

The application must include the following details:

  1. for sole traders: surname and first name
  2. for businesses: business name and legal form
  3. the address of the place where the activity is carried out, or the postal address to which communications must be sent
  4. email addresses
  5. telephone number
  6. description of the applicant’s economic activity in relation to which the goods and services are purchased, using the codes of the statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006)
  7. refund period
  8. applicant’s VAT number or tax identification number
  9. bank account details, including IBAN and BIC codes
  10. for each invoice or import document:
    • name and full address of supplier;
    • except in the case of imports, supplier’s VAT number or tax identification number
    • except in the case of imports, the ISO prefix of the Member State of refund
    • date and number of the invoice or import document
    • taxable amount and amount of VAT in euro
    • amount of deductible VAT in Euro
    • deduction percentage
    • description of the nature of goods and services acquired, based on the ‘Table with the codes to be used to describe the goods purchased
  11. the final deduction percentage
  12. the reference period of the final deduction percentage

What are the refund thresholds?

  • For quarterly applications, EUR 400 or the equivalent amount in national currency
  • For annual applications, EUR 50 or the equivalent amount in national currency.

Deadline for claiming a refund

The quarterly refund application can be submitted from the first day of the month following the reference quarter until 30 September of the following year.

The annual refund application can be submitted from 1 January to 30 September of the year following the reference year.

The assessment of the application must be completed within 4 months from its receipt. This term is extended to up to 8 months if the Revenue Agency requests additional information.

Payments will be made within 10 working days after the deadline for notifying the applicant of approval of his request.

If the refund is paid more than 10 working days after approval of the application, interest payments of 2% per year will apply.

The limit on the number of refund applications that can be submitted in a year is five refund applications per year.

The EU Member State granting the refund may request, together with the application, a copy of the invoice or import document, for taxable amounts of EUR 1 000 or higher (EUR 250 for fuel purchase).

All communications with tax authority, including requests for additional information, are made by email. Refund refusals are also sent by mail.

In case of error

How to correct errors in the refund application
Non-resident entities may submit an amending application by the deadline of the original application.

This is not possible in case of errors in indicating the country that must pay the refund, the VAT number or the period for which the refund is sought. In these cases, a new application must be submitted.

What are the rules for incorrect applications?
If the refund was not due, the Revenue Agency will issue a recovery order.

In this case, the entity that has received the refund must pay it back within 60 days of receiving the order. An administrative penalty of 100% to 200 % of the amount unduly refunded will be charged (Article 38-bis2(11)of Presidential Decree No 633 of 1972).

Pending repayment of the refund not due and payment of the penalty, any further refund to the entity concerned is suspended up to the same amount (Article 38-bis2(12) of Presidential Decree No 633 of 1972).