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Italy

Goods

Updated 04/2013

Legal requirements

The implementation of a the single European market with free movement of goods, services, capital and people requires a gradual harmonisation of internal legislation of the individual Member States, to guarantee the same conditions of uniformity and competition for all.

Commercial activities is divided into major categories such as:

  • Wholesale Trade - Purchase of goods to be sold to other traders, merchants, professional users or other large-scale users;
  • Retail Trade Purchase of goods to be sold directly to end-consumers.

The original prohibition on joint operation, ie of the wholesale and retail within the same business has been removed.

Requirements for carrying out commercial activities

Commercial activity refers to any form of sale, regardless of the different types of merchandise goods being exchanged. The only difference (only relevant for the purposes of meeting the technical and professional requirements) is between:

  • Non-food products only possession of moral requirements is prescribed
  • Food products - besides ethical, specific technical and professional requirements are also prescribed.

Excise duties

Excise duties are indirect taxes on manufacture and sale of consumer products. In Italy, the most significant excise duties are those related to energy products, alcohol and tobacco.

Excise duty is a tax levied on the amount of goods produced, unlike VAT which affects the value added.

 

Administrative procedures

The Single Information Point for Production Activities (SUAP) makes it possible for certain online procedures to be performed with regards to the different phases of the life cycle of a business, including issues related to the running of the commercial activity. 

For information and application forms regarding the specific legislation for the region in which you intend to conduct a commercial activity, it is necessary to contact the SUAP of the town where the business is based.

Permits and licences

No licence is required for businesses with a surface area of less than 250 square metres in towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants and 150 square metres in towns of less than 10,000 inhabitants.  The simplified procedure currently used requires notification to the mayor of the town council where you wish to open the business.

European Union VAT number

The VIES service (VAT Information Exchange System) allows business owners with a VAT number who make transfers within the European Union to verify the validity of the VAT identification number of their customers, through the link with the tax systems of other EU countries.

The Certificate of Origin is a customs document which states the origin of the goods. This document can be requested from the Chamber of Commerce of the province where the business is based and must always accompany the products exported definitively.

International Transport Document

The Transport documents that must accompany the goods are divided into:

  • International Waybills, are a valid agreement for carriage by road and intermodal transport. The document contains the transport conditions expressly required by international conventions. 
  • Bills of lading which, in order to be effective, must always travel separately from the goods; they are documents representing the goods themselves and are negotiable, thus ensuring the legitimate carrier to obtain the goods in exchange for the delivery of the document duly signed. 
Help & advice

Help & advice

The Chambers of Commerce offer information and assistance services to business owners or to aspiring entrepreneurs.

SOLVIT helps businesses deal with problems that arise when national authorities wrongly apply EU market rules.

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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