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The rates of VAT in Italy

The rates of VAT in Italy

Updated on Tuesday 03rd May 2016

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The standard rate of VAT (value added tax) was raised to 22% in 2013, from the former rate of 21%. This rate is applied to most goods and services that are sold in Italy and it must be paid by both local and foreign citizens who purchase products in Italy. At the same time, the VAT is also applicable to companies carrying out operations on the Italian territory
It is important to know that foreign citizens who buy products from Italy can receive a refund on the VAT, if they take the products out of Italy and if they are able to provide the receipt for the goods bought. In order to obtain the refund, it is necessary to go to a VAT refund station in an airport, at a tourist office, etc. The rule is applicable for persons considered to be visitors in Italy and who are citizens living in other states than the ones which are members of the European Union. 
The VAT refund is not available for any amount of money spent in Italy because there are minimum purchase limits and certain types of products for which VAT refund can be claimed. The regulations related to VAT refund can vary from a country to the other, but our team of Italian lawyers can assist you with the characteristics of the VAT refund procedure applicable in Italy


Registration for VAT number

Foreign investors who want to open a company in Italy that will provide products, goods and services on the Italian and foreign markets, will require a VAT number for the company, which is a compulsory step in the incorporation process, regardless of the business activity carried out. 
After having registered for VAT, the Italian companies are required to file for the payments of the amount due. The representatives of the companies are responsible for VAT collection and they can face penalties if they don’t respect the law related to Italian taxes. The VAT returns in Italy are established on a monthly basis, while the annual returns are established in accordance with the following: 
VAT communication, related to the goods and services sold (due in February);
annual VAT return, which is due in September. 
The companies registered in Italy must file for VAT and fill the declarations related to VAT refund in accordance with the company’s documents, which must respect the Italian accounting standards. Our team of Italian attorneys can offer more information in this sense.  


Reduced rates for VAT

The standard VAT rate in Italy is 22%, but there are some cases in which the rates are lower, especially designed for certain categories of goods and services. 
 Italy operates under two types of reduced VAT
reduced rate, established at 10% for food products, public transportation, cultural events, several pharmaceutical products, hotel accommodation or restaurants;
reduced rate of 4%, introduced for certain foodstuffs, certain social services, certain medical products, books, newspapers and others. 
The VAT was first introduced in 1972 by the Italian authorities and it is called “imposta sul valore aggiunto” in Italian. This decision was made according to the directives of European Union.
If you need more information about the VAT registration and VAT rates, you may contact our lawyers in Italy, who can offer you legal services and assistance for your business.


  • Adriano 2016-04-26

    Italy operates under three types of rates, which are established in relation with the product/service brought on the market. General basic products and services are taxed at 22%. Businesses selling products and services registered in the reduced rates will always file for a much smaller VAT (4%-10%).

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