Skip to main content
News from IVA members

Italian Regulations

By April 23, 2015July 10th, 2021No Comments

Electronic billing has been – inter alia – the object of the last revision of Italian VAT legislation, which occurred in 2013;…

Electronic billing has been – inter alia – the object of the last revision of Italian VAT legislation, which occurred in 2013; changes fully reflect directive 45/210/EU.

Apart from this, new electronic invoicing procedures started on March 31st; they are related to sales of goods/services to Italian public bodies only (please note that definition of public body under Italian legislation is not fully clear; as to the identification of an entity as a public body, useful infos are reported in Agenzia delle Entrate memo 1/15). 

New electronic procedures vis-à-vis public bodies comply with EU VAT legislation, in a very strict way however!

Generally speaking, EU legislation aims at developing electronic invoicing on voluntary basis, by equalizing paper and electronic invoices, by simplifying procedures, and so on.

Such a goal can be found also in directive 2014/55/EU related to electronic invoicing in public procurement. As per art. 3 of the directive, electronic invoicing systems will have to be technologically neutral, user-friendly, flexible and cost-efficient; furthermore, they will have to take into account the special needs of small and medium sized enterprises. 

Italian regulations have interpreted EU provisions quite “freely”.

First of all, electronic invoicing to public bodies is mandatory (public bodies cannot pay any paper invoices issued from March 31st onwards).Furthermore:

  • Invoice format must be .xml;
  • Invoices must be electronically signed (qualified/digital signature);
  • Electronic forwarding has to be made either through certified email or through other telematic channels;
  • Electronic invoices have to be sent to the Sistema di Interscambio (Interchange system), which then forwards them to every public body;
  • Electronic invoices must be electronically stored.

Moreover, no derogation has been allowed with regard to suppliers (small, medium-sized business), and no threshold has been considered (as to small invoices, for instance).

So, small and medium business are now facing a lot of difficulties; since most of them do not know how the electronic recording of invoices actually works (a very complicated issue, indeed!), they have to pay for it; fees requested for electronic issuing, forwarding and recording of electronic invoices are often higher than 5 Euro/invoice!

Fortunately, Chambers of Commerce generally offer such a service for free, provided that the number of electronic invoices sent to public bodies is not higher than 24/year.

As regards foreign business, they are not obliged to raise electronic invoices vis-à-vis public bodies yet.

Such a case mainly refers to invoices issued to public bodies who do not run any commercial activities (more in general: to transactions whose place of supply is not Italy), while public bodies having a VAT number usually must enforce the reverse charge mechanism. 

From a technical point of view, problems are now arising from the fact that new electronic invoices must include several data/infos which have nothing to do with VAT requirements. So, as regards correct (from VAT viewpoint) invoices which cannot be paid by public bodies (due to the fact that some administrative data are missing), Italian tax authorities still have to point out how issue can be settled: through a credit note? In other ways?


Alessandro Garzon
TBS Tax Back Service srl.