Latest update: 22/09/2021
VAT registration is mandatory in Italy for persons engaging in the following activities:
- business or agricultural activity
- or an artistic or professional activity on a regular basis.
Registration involves the acquisition of a VAT number; this is an 11-digit code that must be displayed on every invoice or other commercial document issued or received in the course of business.
Non-resident persons intending to start a business, art or profession must discharge their VAT obligations in Italy if they also perform activities for final consumers or non-commercial entities that are not VAT-registered. At the same time, they will be able to exercise the rights arising from the tax, such as the right to deduct VAT on purchases and to claim refunds.
Foreign operators are not required to register for VAT in Italy if their customers in Italy are exclusively other VAT entities established in Italy. For example, registration is not necessary if an entity not established in Italy sells goods to other traders only and not to final consumers. In this case, all VAT obligations will be borne by the Italian operator.
How to register for VAT
Non-resident entities that need to register for VAT in Italy can choose one of the following options:
- appoint a tax representative established in Italy and with Italian VAT number
- register directly for VAT in Italy, i.e. obtain an Italian VAT number.
This second option is only available to entities residing in other EU countries or in a third country with which reciprocal agreements are in place.
In either case, the foreign operator remains a non-resident entity for VAT purposes.
Lastly, any non-resident entity may set up a fixed establishment in Italy. The fixed establishment must register for VAT as a resident entity.
How to obtain a VAT identification number
To obtain a VAT identification number it is necessary to complete and submit a Declaration of commencement, change of data or cessation of activity (hereinafter, the 'Declaration of commencement of activity'). The Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) will then issue a VAT number.
The information to be provided in the declaration includes:
- identification details
- the code of the type of activity to be pursued - which must be taken from the table of economic activity codes: Ateco 2007 Classification of economic activities
- the place(s) of business.
The exact form to be used and the submission procedure vary according to the type of entity.
In order to submit their declaration of commencement of activity, all the entities that must be registered with the Register of Companies or with the Economic and Administrative Data Repertory (Rea) must submit the completed form (AA9/12 or AA7/10) online or in digital format through the Comunicazione Unica d’impresa (Single business reporting platform). The single reporting procedure fulfils, via a single declaration, all the procedures for starting a business required by the various competent authorities (Revenue Agency, Chambers of Commerce, INPS – Social Security Agency, INAIL – Workers’ Compensation Authority).
The persons who pursue an art or profession must use Form AA9/12 (which is also valid for sole traders) and can submit it:
- online, through the Fisconline or Entratel online services
- at any office of the Revenue Agency, directly or through a delegated person, submitting the form in duplicate or
- by post, by registered letter to any office of the Revenue Agency, attaching a photocopy of an identity document.
Non-resident entities with a permanent establishment in Italy
Non-resident entities having a permanent establishment in Italy must submit their declaration of commencement of activity using the same forms and the same submission methods as resident entities.
Non-resident entities without a permanent establishment in Italy
Entities established in another EU Member State
If the non-resident entities do not have a permanent establishment in Italy but carry out a business, art or profession in another EU Member State, they can register directly for VAT in Italy.
Before carrying out any transactions relevant for tax purposes in Italy they must submit Form ANR/3 to the Revenue Agency at the following address Agenzia delle Entrate - Centro operativo di Pescara - via Rio Sparto 21 - 65100 Pescara. The form can be submitted in one of the following ways:
- by hand to the office, directly or via a delegated person
- by post, by means of registered letter, attaching a photocopy of a photo ID of the declarant and a certification of the entity’s status as subject to VAT in the home state. The declaration submission date is the date of dispatch.
All non-resident entities (established in a non-EU country or in another EU Member State)
All non-resident entities – whether established in a non-EU country or in another EU Member State – may appoint a tax representative for VAT purposes.
The appointment of the tax representative must be recorded in an authentic instrument, registered private instrument or letter filed in the register held by the Revenue Agency’s office having jurisdiction over the representative’s tax domicile. In this case, the declaration of commencement of activity must be submitted on:
- Form AA9/12 for sole traders or self-employed persons
- Form AA7/10 for entities other than natural persons.
The rules for completing and submitting the forms are the same as for resident entities. This option is an alternative to direct VAT registration.
How to change VAT details
If any of the details provided in the declaration of commencement of activity changes during the life of the business, it is necessary to fill in a new commencement of activity form and submit it to any Revenue Agency office within 30 days from the date of the change in the activity, in the same manner as for the first declaration of commencement.
Cancelling VAT registration
To cancel VAT registration, it is necessary to fill in the declaration of commencement of activity form and submit it to any Revenue Agency office within 30 days from the date business activities ceased, in the same manner as for the declaration of commencement.
Transferring a VAT number to another business
An Italian VAT number cannot be transferred from one business to another.
Registration for One Stop Shop (OSS) and Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)
The One Stop Shop (OSS) and the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) are optional VAT schemes which, for certain transactions, allow taxable persons to discharge their VAT obligations due in several EU countries electronically in one single EU country.
The schemes apply only to supplies of goods and services rendered to final consumers in the EU.
The OSS and IOSS schemes can be adopted for electronic, telecommunications and broadcasting services, already covered by the optional Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, for all other services rendered in other Member States, for intra-Eu distance sales of goods, for supplies of goods with departure and arrival in the territory of the same Member State facilitated by an electronic interface (established in the EU or outside the EU) and for distance sales of goods imported from third territories or third countries.
For further information and to register for the OSS or IOSS see the section VAT OSS/import scheme.