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Italy

Start-ups

Updated 02/2013

Legal requirements

Legal form of business

To start a business, it is first necessary to define its structure and the type of activity to be undertaken.

There are various forms of companies:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnerships (simple partnership, limited partnership, general partnership)
  • Companies (limited liability company, joint stock companies, partnership limited by shares);
  • Non-commercial organisations;
  • Cooperatives

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Administrative procedures

Register a company

Companies wishing to do business in Italy have to perform various advertising and fiscal tasks.

The REA, Economic Administrative Index, gathers news of an economic and administrative nature regarding:

  • The notice of commencement, modification and termination of the business activity;
  • The opening, modification and termination of local units.

The compiled data covers both the subjects for which registration is scheduled in the Business Register, as well as the subjects for which it is not, such as associations, foundations, committees, etc...

The costs associated with the registration, modification and deletion from the Economic Administrative Index (REA), form part of the administrative fees.

A sole proprietorship is created simply by registering a VAT number (prior to tax identification number request) and signing up to the Business Register of the Chamber of Commerce, without, therefore, the need of a notary.

Through the ComUnica online procedure it is also possible to register a sole proprietorship even before the actual start of the business activity ("Inactive Registration").

The companies, however, are created after the signing of the constitutive deed drawn up by a notary, who is also responsible for its registration at the local office of the Agenzia delle Entrate within 20 days.

The deadline for registering with the Business Register is within 30 days for partnerships and within 20 days for limited liability companies.

The necessary tasks for establishing a business and for starting up a company have to be conducted at the same time via internet through ComUnica, a simplified online procedure which allows you to enter all information regarding tax, welfare (INPS registration) and insurance (INAIL registration). This procedure can be accessed from the Business Register website after logging in, using a digital signature and a mailbox for certified e-mail (PEC).

The portal Impresa in un Giorno (Business in one day) is an informative point of reference for all proceedings relating to the company.  

If a company prefers to send the communication practices itself to the Business Register without consulting a notary, it can obtain specific software (starweb), which can be downloaded for free from the Business Register website.

The sending of communication practices in the Chamber of Commerce is carried out using the e-government tool Telemaco.

The Services Directive: national points of single contact

The Services Directive is a European law aimed at making life easier for companies that wish to provide services within the European Union, in their home country or abroad. The Directive defines the rules for entrepreneurs who wish to start a business or provide temporary services within EU / EEA countries (the 27 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It obliges member states to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify formalities for businesses and make public administrations more efficient.

For the implementation of the Directive, each Member State has set up "Points of Single Contact (PSC)", e-government portals which help businesses to complete their administrative procedures on-line. The PSCs provide comprehensive information on all administrative matters related to the creation or expansion of a service company in a particular country.

All PSCs are part of a European network called EUGO; thanks to a central website you can easily access all PSCs in Europe. As an alternative to the services provided by the PSCs, you can contact the relevant authorities directly.

Specific procedures

For certain sectors, the startup of business activities is subject to the granting of licences, authorisations and permits. Information on this can be requested from the Single Information Point for Production Activities or the local Chamber of Commerce, or through the Italian Chambers of Commerce website.

Programmes

The Ministry for Economic Development and the Ministry for Economy and Finance periodically grant incentives, especially financial support tools and subsidised loans, for new businesses, particularly those set up by young people and / or Women.

The simplified s.r.l for young entrepreneurs, established by Law No 27 of 2012, facilitates the access to the business activity for young people not older than 35 years. This new type of company has the following features:

  • The amount of its share capital is between 1 and 10,000 euros;
  • the Memorandum and the registration in the Business Register are exempt from stamp duty and secretarial fees;
  • Notary fees are not due;
  • It is absolutely prohibited to transfer the company’s shares to members whose age does not fall within the prescribed limits.

Tax incentives are provided, also, by Law No 134 of 2012, for companies that invest in Startup, through the introduction of a funding tool that provides for the collection of capital through online portals (crowdfunding) and free simplified access to the Central Guarantee Fund.

The National agency for inward investment promotion and enterprise development promotes and funds investment programmes presented by existing companies or by new ones.

There are also many economic incentives at the local level (province, town, chamber of comerce, region), national and European level. Companies receive funds according to the sector in which they operate.

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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