With the aim of rationalising the invoicing process and preventing tax evasion, Art. 1, Par. 909 et seq. Law no. 205/2017 (Budget Law 2018) extended the electronic invoicing obligation to B2B and B2C transactions as of 1 January 2019.

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The extension of the e-invoicing obligation to taxable persons established in Italy was authorised by the EU Council. The suspended obligation is provisional and is effective as of the period from 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2021.

Please be aware that for some types of transactions, the e-invoicing obligation was introduced before 1 January 2019, notably:

  • transactions with the public authorities (as of 2015),
  • supplies of petrol and gasoline to be used as motor fuels for transport purposes (as of 2018),
  • services supplied by subcontractors of the enterprise chain under public procurement contracts (as of 2018); and
  • transactions pursuant to Art. 38-quater Presidential Decree no. 633/72 with non-EU travellers, tax-free shopping (as of 2018).

With the provision introduced by Budget Law 2018, taxable persons required to issue electronic invoices are: companies and bodies established in Italy, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals residing in Italy and Italian permanent establishments of non-resident companies. Non-resident taxable persons who are identified for VAT purposes in Italy and small businesses are excluded.

E-invoices shall be issued for all supplies of goods and services and for VAT adjustments to taxable persons subject to VAT; private individuals. Transactions not subject to VAT as well as those certified by means of receipts and/or tax receipts are excluded.

An e-invoice is an electronic document, issued in XML format and compliant with the technical specifications provided for by the Italian tax authority (Agenzia delle Entrate), which is electronically submitted to the Interchange System (Sistema di Interscambio – SdI) and delivered by the SdI to the receiving party. The e-invoice should also contain data required by VAT Law and the necessary information provided for in Annex A as far as the technical specifications approved by the Italian tax authority with deliberation no. 89757/2018 are concerned (such as “Recipient Code” – “Recipient Certified E-mail”).

With regard to the issuing procedures, e-invoices shall be delivered to the Interchange System – SdI. The Interchange System – SdI is a platform owned by the Italian tax authority acting as an “intelligent electronic postman” that delivers e-invoices issued by the supplier/service provider to the purchaser/client. The SdI verifies whether the invoice contains the necessary data for tax purposes as well as the certified email address/recipient code of the purchaser to whom the invoice is to be delivered. The SdI also verifies that the supplier’s VAT number and the purchaser’s VAT number or tax identification number do exist. Once the verifications have been carried out, the SdI shall deliver the invoice to the purchaser by sending a delivery receipt to the supplier. Invoices rejected by the SdI shall be considered as not issued.

Taxable persons who need to issue e-invoices should have an e-invoicing software (PC or mobile app) or use a web service (cloud) in order to create such file format (e-invoicing software automatically includes this step). Compilation software complying with the technical specifications provided for by the Italian tax authority may also be used.

The handling of the electronic invoicing related services may be delegated to an intermediary by signing a specific form. In particular, the delegation may concern:

  • the consultation and the acquisition of e-invoices,
  • the consultation of VAT data,
  • the registration of the certified e-mail address,
  • electronic invoicing and the storage of electronic invoices (deliver the invoices by means of the SdI, use the storage service, create the QR code in order to acquire personal data),
  • device registration.

The Italian tax authority provides a free e-invoice storage service, available in the “Invoices and considerations” (Fatture e corrispettivi) portal. Once the service has been activated, all invoices will be automatically stored.

A consultation service is also available in the same portal in order to verify which invoices have been correctly delivered and which have not. The storage period by the Italian tax authority shall last for 15 years.

In the event of non-compliance with the e-invoicing obligation, an administrative penalty ranging from 90% to 180% of the tax relating to the taxable amount not correctly notified or recorded during the financial year shall apply. However, for the first six months of 2019 or until 30 September 2019 (depending on whether the VAT contribution is quarterly or monthly) a suspended obligation and reduction of the penalties has been adopted. In particular, “Fiscal Decree 2019” introduced the exclusion of penalties for the first six months of the year and penalties reduced to 20% in the last quarter.

As mentioned before, the e-invoicing obligation only applies to those transactions between taxable persons resident or established in Italy, while transactions with non-resident parties (excluded from the e-invoicing obligation) shall be monthly notified to the Italian tax authority by means of a specific form (esterometro). Therefore, transactions carried out by or with parties not established in Italy may continue to be notified either by paper or e-invoice.

The above-mentioned data shall be electronically transmitted within the last day of the month following:

  • the issuing date or
  • the receipt date proving the transaction, which is to be understood as the date of registration of the transaction for VAT purposes.


Barbara Scampuddu
Hager & Partners, Italy
E: Barbara.Scampuddu@hager-partners.it

Samanta Cospito
Hager & Partners, Italy
E: Samanta.Cospito@hager-partners.it