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When do I need an Italian VAT number

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When do I need an Italian VAT number

As a general rule, a foreign business must register for VAT in Italy as soon as a taxable supply is made. The following are some usual examples of taxable transactions:

  • Domestic supply of goods not reverse charged: A supply of goods located in Italy to an Italian customer where the supply is not subject to reverse charge requires a VAT registration of the supplier.
  • Supply of services not reverse charged: Foreign non-established businesses supplying services on which Italian VAT is due must register for VAT. These services are rather exceptional, as the general B2B rule would apply.
  • Import: Importing goods into Italy requires a VAT number before importation.
  • Export: Exporting goods to a non-EU country requires a VAT number before the export is made.
  • Intra-Community acquisition: Acquiring goods from another Member State where all conditions for intra-Community movements are met requires the customer to register for VAT. 
  • Intra-Community supply: Supplying goods another Member State is also a taxable transaction that obliges the supplier to register for VAT.  
  • Distance sales above the threshold also require a VAT number. See our section on Italian distance sales rules for more information. 

A voluntary registration is not possible in Italy. This is, companies cannot register if they have not made a taxable transaction.

A backdated registration is also possible in Italy, although penalties for late filing and late payment will normally apply. 

There is no registration threshold in Italy for non-established companies. Any company foreign and non-established company performing taxable transactions should register for VAT before the first supply is made.