Corporate & commercial Law

How to start a sole proprietorship/self employed activity in italy

A person must obtain an individual VAT (Value Added Tax) number in Italy when engaging in:

  1. Commercial or agricultural activities.
  2. Artistic or professional activities on a regular basis.

The registration process involves acquiring a VAT identification number, an 11-digit code that must be indicated on every invoice or other commercial document issued or received during the course of the activity.

How to Register a VAT number in Italy

Non-resident individuals or entities

Non-resident individuals or entities who plan to start a business, art, or profession must fulfill VAT obligations in Italy if they also conduct activities with end consumers or non-commercial entities that do not possess a VAT identification number. However, they can still avail themselves of the rights derived from VAT application, such as deducting VAT on purchases and requesting refunds.

Foreign operators are not obligated to register for VAT purposes if their customers in Italy are exclusively other VAT-registered entities established in Italy. For instance, registration is unnecessary if the non-resident entity in Italy solely sells goods to other resellers and not to end consumers. In such cases, all VAT obligations will be the responsibility of the Italian operator.

To register for VAT (Value Added Tax) purposes in Italy as a non-resident entity, you can choose between two main options:

1/ Appoint a Resident Tax Representative in Italy

You have the option to appoint a tax representative who is a resident in Italy and has their own Italian VAT identification number. This representative will act on your behalf for VAT-related matters in Italy, taking responsibility for fulfilling your VAT obligations and representing you to the Italian tax authorities.

2/ Direct Tax Identification

Alternatively, you can choose direct VAT identification if you are a resident of another European Union country or a third country with which Italy has reciprocal agreements. Under this option, you can obtain an Italian VAT identification number directly from the Italian tax authorities without the need for a tax representative. In this case, you will be responsible for fulfilling your VAT obligations in Italy on your own.

In both scenarios, the non-resident operator remains a non-resident entity for VAT purposes.

Furthermore, any non-resident entity can create a permanent establishment (Stabile Organizzazione) in Italy. The fixed establishment must register for VAT as a resident entity in Italy and comply with Italian VAT regulations.

To start a Partita IVA (Proprietorship) in Italy, you need to follow these steps:

1. Fill out the Declaration of starting activity, Data Change, or Cessation of Activity (Dichiarazione di inizio, variazione dati o cessazione dell’attività) within 30 days of commencing your business activity. This declaration should be completed and submitted to the Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Agency). You may have a legal representative handle this process, and you can also seek assistance from ILF Italian attorneys.

2. Provide the required information, which includes your personal details (name and relevant information) and the economic activity code (Codice Ateco) corresponding to the type of business you plan to start. You can find the appropriate code in the Ateco2007 table of economic activity codes.

3. Indicate the addresses or locations where your business operations will take place.

Select the Appropriate Declaration Form

The specific declaration form and submission method may vary depending on the type of entity you are (e.g., self-employed, sole proprietor, company), so it’s essential to choose the correct form and follow the instructions provided by the Agenzia delle Entrate.

Submit the Declaration

Once you have completed the declaration form with the required information, submit it to the Agenzia delle Entrate within the 30-day window. ILF tax Italian lawyers can assist you in filling in and depositing the correct Form at the Italian Tax Revenue Office!

Receive Your Italian VAT Number

Once your declaration has been processed, the Agenzia delle Entrate will assign and notify you of your Partita IVA number. This number serves as your unique VAT identification number for tax-related purposes in Italy.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and forms may change over time. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with ILF Italian tax advisors to ensure accurate completion of the registration process in compliance with current regulations.

Non-residents with permanent establishment in Italy

For non-residents with a permanent establishment in Italy, the following forms should be submitted:

  1. Individuals conducting business activities as sole proprietors (“ditte individuali”) should use “Modello AA9/12.”
  2. Companies should use “Modello AA7/10” when submitting their Declaration of starting a business in Italy.

To transmit the Declaration, all individuals and entities required to be registered in the Business Register (Registro delle imprese) or the Economic and Administrative Information Register (Registro delle notizie economiche e amministrative – Rea) must submit the completed form (AA9/12 or AA7/10) electronically or on digital media through the “Comunicazione Unica d’Impresa.” 

Contact Us Now! ILF Italian tax advisors can assist in submitting these declarations on your behalf.

The Comunicazione Unica d’Impresa managed by the Chambers of Commerce, streamlines the process of starting a business by allowing fulfillment of all necessary requirements with a single declaration. It covers compliance with various authorities, including the Agenzia delle Entrate (tax agency), Chambers of Commerce, INPS (National Social Security Institute), and INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work).

Non-resident entities without a permanent establishment in Italy 

Those without a permanent establishment but engaged in business activities in Italy, specific procedures for VAT registration apply, they should submit the following forms:

  1. Non-resident individuals or entities, regardless of EU or non-EU country origin, who do not have a permanent establishment in Italy but wish to conduct business, art, or a profession in Italy can choose from several options for VAT registration.
  2. Individuals or entities resident in another EU member state can opt for direct VAT identification in Italy and request an Italian VAT identification number. Before undertaking any operations in Italy, they must submitModello ANR/3” along with a photocopy of the declarant’s identification document and a certification confirming their VAT taxpayer status in their home country. The date of submission is considered the date of dispatch.
  3. All non-resident subjects, including those from non-EU countries, have the option to appoint a tax representative for VAT purposes. The appointment should be documented through a public deed, a registered private document, or a letter recorded in a special register at the competent Agenzia delle Entrate office based on the fiscal domicile of the representative.
  4. The applicable forms for the Declaration of starting a business in Italy are “Modello AA9/12” for sole proprietors or self-employed individuals and “Modello AA7/10” for entities other than natural persons (companies, organizations, etc.).

The same procedures for completion and submission as those for resident subjects apply to non-resident subjects who appoint a tax representative. This option serves as an alternative to direct VAT identification for business activities in Italy.

Stay up-to-date on Italian regulations and procedures

It’s important to note that VAT regulations and procedures may change over time. Therefore, it is essential to verify the most up-to-date requirements and instructions on the official websites of the relevant Italian tax authorities or seek guidance from tax professionals when conducting business in Italy as a non-resident.

ILF Italian tax advisors are available to provide assistance in navigating the complex Italian system for incorporating your personal activity. Their team of lawyers and accountants, fluent in English, can guide you through public Italian offices and procedures.

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