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Italy

Branches

Updated 02/2013

Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.

Administrative procedures

The Services Directive National points of single contact

The Services Directive 2006/123/EC contains provisions aimed to make life easier for businesses through the simplification of administrative procedures, defining certain standards of efficiency. The Directive defines the rules for business owners who wish to start a business or provide temporary services within the EU / EEA (European Economic Area which includes the 27 EU Member States with the addition of the Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

For the implementation of the Directive, each member state had to set up "Points of Single Contact (PSC)", e-government portals which help businesses complete the administrative procedures online. The PSCs provide comprehensive information on all administrative matters related to setting up or expanding a services business in a given country.

The PSC allows you to find all relevant information and to send in your online applications to the responsible authority through one single point of contact. All PSCs are part of the EUGO European network; through a central website one can easily access all PSCs in Europe. It is also possible to contact the competent authorities directly.

Types of secondary establishment

Foreign companies wishing to start a business in Italy have various opportunities, including the ‘Stabile Organizzazione' (Fixed Establishment) and the 'Società partecipata’ (Affiliated Company).

The ‘Stabile Organizzazzione’ (S.O.) is a fixed business headquarters, through which the non-resident company carries out all or part of its activities within the State (Regulation of fixed establishment under the OECD Model).

The S.O has accounting/fiscal autonomy (operates with its own tax identification code/VAT number) It therefore does not have legal or contractual autonomy, i.e. it cannot carry out business activities in its own name, but only in the name and on behalf of the foreign company.

The S.O. must be Registered With the Economic Administrative Index (REA) within 30 days of the day of establishment, either online (with digital signature) or on paper, submitting forms R, inserts P and UL.

The turnover of the permanent organisation and branches is subject to taxation in Italy, and is also included in the balance sheet for the parent company (which can only avoid double taxation by way of specific agreements between Italy and the country in which its registered office is based).

Finally, if the parent company wishes to establish a long-term business in Italy, it can set up an Impresa partecipata (affiliated company), which has complete legal, contractual and fiscal autonomy.

The affiliated company is subject to tax in Italy, and its turnover is only shown on the balance sheet of the foreign holding company as a residual amount.

As it is an autonomous company, the tasks for setting it up are the same as those needed for the creation of a new company.

Programmes

Tax relief is granted for setting up new businesses and expanding existing ones. Financial aid is also available and is aimed at supporting investment.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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