Doing business or simply moving to Italy can be easy when you have a team of professionals working for you. With a vast experience in all legal areas, our Italian attorneys are ready to provide assistance in both civil and corporate matters.
Our law firm in Italy is LEXIA Avvocati, with offices in Milan, Rome, and Palermo. The company provides complete legal services that include litigation and arbitration, finance, corporate and tax services, fintech and blockchain legal counseling as well as insolvency and restructuring services, among others.
We also work together with accountants in order to provide complete services for international customers. All services offered to clients will be personalized in order to have the customers' best interest in sight at all times.
Our awards and affiliations
LEXIA Avvocati is a partner of:
- The Italian Stock Exchange Elite Program, starting with 2018, for assisting SMEs that will be listed with the Stock Exchange;
- Invest in Lombardy Agency for assisting foreign investors who want to open a business in the region.
The company is also a member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Italy.
LEXIA Avvocati received the following nominations:
2016: nomination by Top Legal Awards for the Most Innovative law firm in Italy;
2018: nominated by Top Legal Awards as a finalist for two categories: Law firm of the year in the innovation category and Law firm of the year.
LEXIA Avvocati is also one of the companies present on the International Comparative Legal Guides, a dedicated legal website.
Below, we answer some of the common questions related to doing business in Italy.
Why choose our law firm in Italy?
Our lawyers in Italyare focused on offering the proper services which is why they will always respond to clients’ inquires in a timely manner in order for them to fully understand the steps or actions they need to take. Our services are addressed to all foreign or local citizens and investors coming to Italy to work or start a business. Requesting the services of a law firm in Italy is a common practice nowadays especially with all the updates of the legislation in all areas, but also because of the new laws that are introduced by the local authorities.
Below you can watch a video about the legal services provided by our Italian lawyers to international clients interested in doing business in Italy:
How can a foreign investor start a business in Italy?
Starting a business is easy when you know beforehand what to expect and what our Italian lawyers are ready to offer related to the legal information for company registration. Our lawyer in Italy will first explain in detail the types of companies available for registration and their advantages.
Once the clients understand all the requirements of the Commercial Code and the documents they need to supply for registration, our lawyers can draft the required documents and submit them with the Italian Trade Register. Company incorporation can also be done by granting the power of attorney to our lawyer in Italy, thus gaining more time with other preparations.
What are the main types of companies to be incorporated by our lawyer in Italy?
Foreign businessmen who want to open a company in Italy can choose from all the legal entities prescribed by the Italian legislation. As a general rule, most of the Italian businesses are set up as limited liability companies, as the investors will benefit from numerous advantages, including the limited liability concerning the company’s debts. However, when investing in Italy, businessmen can also choose from the following business forms, presented by our lawyer in Italy:
joint stock company – in order to start this type of company, it is necessary to deposit a capital of EUR 120,000, and a quarter of this amount has to be deposited prior to the incorporation of the business form;
general partnership – this business form will require at least two partners (represented by two natural persons or legal entities), who have to sign an agreement document;
limited partnership – the legal entity is set up following the same procedures applicable to the general partnership, with the main difference that one of the partners will have to assume limited liability concerning the company’s debts;
How can our Italian lawyers assist in intellectual property matters?
Our Italian lawyers can advise on the intellectual property regulations applicable here, a matter which can concern any local or foreign company. Intellectual property covers a wide set of intellectual assets, from trademarks, patents, copyrights, designs, domain names and others and they can be effectively covered under the Italian legislation provided that certain conditions are met (payment of the annual fee, for example).
In Italy, a patent is protected for a period of 20 years starting with the registration date, whiletrademarks are protected under the local law for a period of 10 years. The registration is completed by the Patents and Trademarks Office in Italy, and our attorneys can assist with advice on the documents that have to be submitted in this case.
How can our Italian lawyers assist foreign investors?
The Italian economy relies on foreign direct investments, which is why the Government implemented a sound legislation that encourages entrepreneurs from many EU and non-EU countries to open companies in Italy. Our lawyers in Italy will offer foreign businessmen all the information on the legislation on foreign investments and will also help them access the funds they need to start a company.
Foreign investments represent an important player on the country’s economy. For example, at the level of 2015, foreign direct investment (FDI)in Italy accounted for 18.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), as specified by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
As a general rule, foreign investments are permitted in most of the Italian industries, but certain exemptions are applied to non-EU companies that want to invest in specific industries, such as the film industry, banking sector, aviation and shipping industries. Foreign businessmen can also invest in the transportation or the energy sectors, but a special approval has to be obtained from the local authorities prior to starting a business in Italy.
Our lawyer in Italy will keep them updated on any incentive the Government might introduce in order for them to benefit from all the tax reliefs available here.
How can one apply for the investor visa in Italy?
Foreign investors who are citizens of the European Union (EU) do not need an investor visafor entering commercial activities in Italy. However, this is required for non-EU investors, who can apply for several types of visas. One of the available visas is the Investor Visa for Italy - issued for a period of two years; foreign businessmen can apply for this type of visa through the Investor Visa for Italy Committee.
In order to be eligible the Investor Visa program, which was launched in December 2017, the investors will need to make certain investments on the Italian market. For example, one of the minimum requirements is to invest a total of EUR 500,000 in an Italian start-up or EUR 1 million in a limited liability company. The latter threshold is also applicable to investments in philanthropic activities.
If one of the above mentioned conditions are met, the investors will be able to apply for a residence permit, which has the samevalidity period as the visaand it can be renewed for other three years, provided that the investments will still meet the same thresholds.
Which are the benefits of the Italian visa for non-EU nationals?
Persons requesting to apply for the Investor Visa in Italy program can benefit from numerous tax advantages – tax reductions ranging from 50% to 90% from the tax base. At the same time, the program allows the investors to request for family reunification in Italy for certain family members, cases presented by our lawyer in Italy:
investor’s spouse, as long as they are not legally separated and the respective person has an age above 18 years old;
minor children (under the age 18 years old) or children with an age above 18 years, who are financially dependent on the parents due to health reasons;
the parents of the investor who are dependent on their child, in the situation in which they do not have any other children;
the investor’s dependent parents, who have an age above 65 years old.
How can our lawyers assist in litigation matters in Italy?
Our law firm in Italy is also prepared to provide legal assistance in litigation mattersfor corporate entities and may also assist in divorce and child custody procedures. Our lawyers will represent clients before the Italian specialized courts and will make sure they have all the necessary legal support at any time during the proceedings.
If possible, our Italian lawyers will recommend mediation and will provide clients with alternative dispute resolution solutions. Our Italian attorneys will also assist clients in corporate litigation matters such as debt collection, company liquidation or bankruptcy, procedures that can be completed following specific regulations.
How can our Italian lawyers assist in accounting procedures?
Accounting is one of the most important parts of running a business and our lawyers in Italy can explain how the country’s taxation system works. Considering Italian companies are required to register for taxation purposes, it is recommended to first verify these requirements with our lawyers in Italy. Additionally, our partner accountants will provide specialized accounting services, including tax efficient planning solutions.
The Italian judicial system
The Italian judiciary system is comprised of a wide category of courts that are set up in order to handle specific types of cases. The legal system in Italy, which can be detailed by our team of Italian lawyers, is made out of civil and criminal courts, the administrative and accounting branch, military courts and courts created for handling taxation matters. The legal system is also comprised of the following:
courts of first instance, which are created to hear minor civil and criminal matters;
the first instance courts also include a special category for hearing cases related to minors in Italy, the Juvenile Court;
appeal courts and penal tribunals, known as second instance courts;
the Court of Cassation (or the Supreme Court), which is the highest court in Italy.
Litigation cases in Italy can also be tried by justices of peace or by the Arbitration Court. For legal representation in any of the above mentioned Italian courts,our team of lawyers in Italy have an in-depth experience and necessary expertise to handle any legal matter.
The courts of first instance will usually hear large commercial disputes and in 2012 their competence has been extended over matters such as industrial and intellectual property, shareholders disputes, challenges to corporate decisions. These courts are also entitled to handle work related disputes between employers and employees in Italy.
Court proceedings in Italy
Lawsuits in Italy begin with public hearings conducted by the judge. However, the judge can impose certain restrictions based on confidentiality, safety or legal practice reasons andour team of lawyerscan provide more details in this case, as the legislation on this matter was modified in 2013. The main steps of court proceedings in litigation cases in Italy are:
a writ of summons in which each party presents its claim, as prescribed by the Italian Code of Civil Procedure;
notices sent to both the defendant and the defense, announcing the first hearing of the trial;
once the notice was sent, the parties have the obligation to meet in the court in which the litigation will be held;
submission of evidence by both the claimant and the defense, in order to settle the respective dispute.
All hearings following the initial one are confidential and will be attended by the conflicting parties and their Italian lawyers only. However, it is important to know that, starting with 2013, the parties are required to appeal to mediation prior to engaging in a trial and this is applicable to a wide range of legal issues, such as property, mortgage, division of joint property and others. Only in the situation in which the parties did not reach an agreement, the case may be then addressed to a local court.
For personalized offers for company registration or questions related to the legal system, please contact our law firm in Italy.
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Francesco Dagnino is the founding partener at Lexia Avvocati and he is specialized in corporate law, securities regulations, investment services, asset management and regulation of financial institutions. He has an extensive expertise on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, real estate and venture capital transactions. Dagnino serves also as a vice-chairman of the Italian Shareholders' Rights Association (Associazione Italiana per l'Esercizio dei Diritti degli Azionisti - AIEDA). Contact us for details
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