Goods - Italy
Trade within EU countries is regulated by Community legislation.
The implementation of a single European market, with free circulation of goods, services, capital and people has required and still needs a gradual harmonization of internal legislation of the individual Member States to guarantee the same conditions of uniformity and competition for everybody.
In Italy, commercial regulation has become the exclusive responsibility of the regions, which define the general directions for setting up trade activities and urban planning criteria for the commercial sector, with Constitutional Law No 3/0 modifying Title V of the Italian Constitution.
Business owners must therefore comply with any specific legislation (in addition to general guidelines provided at national level) for the region they intend to trade in.
Commercial activities are divided into categories covered by specific legislation. On a legal level, we can distinguish between:
- Wholesale trade - buying goods to be sold to other traders, merchants, professional users or other large-scale users;
- Retail trade - buying goods to be sold directly to end-consumers.
Requirements for carrying out trade activity
Trade activity, which is regulated by the Legislative Decree 114/98, refers to any form of sale, regardless of the different types of products being exchanged. The only distinction (only relevant for the fulfilment of technical professional requirements) is made between:
- Non-food products - only the moral requirements, set out in Article 71 of Legislative Decree 59/2010, must be fulfilled;
- Food products - along with the moral requirement, specific technical professional requirements must also be fulfilled, specified by Article 71 of the Legislative Decree 59/2010 and Article 6 of Regional Law 14/2003 as modified by Article 3 of Regional Law 6/2007.
Excise duties are levied indirectly on the manufacture and sale of consumer products. In Italy, the most significant excise duties are those related to energy products, electrical energy, alcohol and tobacco.
Excise is a tax on the quantity of goods produced, as opposed to VAT which applies to the value.
Trade licensing requirements
Thanks to the trade reform, the procedure for beginning trading activity has been significantly simplified. Italian law is now in line with that of most of the other Member States of the European Union.
For information and forms regarding the specific laws for the region in which you wish to start up trading activities, you must contact the one-stop shop for production activities of the municipality in which the business is located.
Permits and licences
There is no licence for businesses with a surface area of less than 250 square metres in municipalities with more than 10 000 inhabitants and 150 square metres in towns of less than 10 000 inhabitants. The simplified procedure currently used requires you to notify the mayor of the municipal council where you wish to open the business.
International VAT number
The VIES (VAT Information Exchange System) service allows business owners with a VAT number who make transfers within the European Union to verify the validity of the VAT identification numbers of their customers through the link with the tax systems of other EU Member States.
Trade of goods declaration
The European Union certificate of origin is a customs document which states the origin of the goods. This document may be requested by the Chamber of Commerce of the province in which the business is based and must always accompany the products exported.
International transport document
The transport documents which must accompany goods are divided into:
- Waybills, which generally travel along with the goods, except for documentary operations;
- Bills of lading, which must travel separately from the goods in order to be effective. These are representative deeds for the goods and are negotiable. They allow the legitimate carrier to obtain the goods being exchanged in return for the properly signed document.
In case of commercial litigation, there are two types of mediation aimed at conciliation:
- facilitative mediation;
- adjudicative mediation.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: