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From January 2019 the electronic invoicing is mandatory

What is electronic invoicing

From 1st January 2019 it has become mandatory to issue the electronic invoice (e-Invoice) in transactions between private individuals following the sale of goods and rendering of services carried out between subjects residing or established in Italy. Therefore, starting from this date paper invoices can no longer be issued. The e-invoice is prepared digitally, using a computer, a tablet or a smartphone, and transmitted electronically to the customer through the Exchange System (SdI) of the Italian Revenue Agency. The obligation to issue the electronic invoice was introduced by the 2018 Budget Law.

How it works

To prepare the electronic invoice it is possible to use a series of free services from the Revenue Agency. Once prepared, the invoice is sent to the Exchange System. The file of the invoice can also be transmitted via Certified Electronic Mail (CEM), or via the dedicated digital channels. The Exchange System essentially operates as a postman: it checks if the invoice sent by the supplier contains the necessary data (at least the mandatory data required for tax purposes), as well as the digital address (so-called "recipient code " i.e. CEM address) to which the customer wants the invoice to be delivered; it checks that the VAT number of the supplier (so-called seller/service supplier) and the VAT number, i.e. the Tax Code, of the Customer (c.d. buyer/client) exist. If so, the SdI securely delivers the invoice to the recipient by communicating, to whoever has transmitted the invoice, the date and time of delivery of the document with a "delivery receipt". Therefore, the mandatory data to be shown on the electronic invoice are the same as those shown on paper invoices, in addition to the digital address where the customer wants the invoice to be delivered.

The advantages

Electronic invoicing allows you to issue, send and deliver the invoice without the use of paper, with a remarkable reduction in the costs of printing, shipping and storing documents. Documents may be stored free of charge by joining the dedicated service provided by the Revenue Agency. Moreover, as it is possible to acquire the invoice in the form of XML files (eXtensible Markup Language), the accounting process for data contained in the invoices can be sped up, thus reducing both the costs of managing this process and the errors that can be generated by acquiring data manually. Finally, as the date of issue and delivery of the invoice is certain (since it is only transmitted and delivered via the SdI), this increases the efficiency in commercial relationships between customers and suppliers.

There are several advantages for tax obligations:

  • for VAT operators under the simplified accounting regime that only issue invoices (i.e. subjects carrying out transactions other than those provided for by art. 22 of Presidential Decree n.633/1972 ) and that use the data made available to them by the Revenue Agency based on the rules laid down by a Revenue Agency measure, the obligation to keep VAT registers is withdrawn (Articles 23 and 25 of Presidential Decree n. 633/1972);
  • for all VAT operators vat that only issue and receive invoices, receiving and making payments via a tracked procedure above the value of 500 euro, the time limit for tax assessment shall be reduced to 2 years (refers to the time-limit referred to in art.57, first paragraph of Presidential Decree n. 633/1972 and the deadline referred to in art.43, first paragraph of Presidential Decree n. 600/1973);
  • any operator, as well as final consumers, may at any time consult and acquire a copy of their own electronic invoices issued and received through a simple and secure online service made available by the Revenue Agency: the "Invoices and Payments” portal;
  • In order to facilitate taxpayer compliance, the decree signed on 28th December 2018 by the Minister for Economy and Finance, Giovanni Tria provides that at the end of each quarter the Revenue Agency will disclose the amount due on the basis of the data present in the electronic invoices sent through the Exchange System. Thanks to those data, the Agency will provide a service on its website enabling interested parties to pay the stamp duty with debit to the postal or bank current account, or with the F24 model prepared by the Agency itself.

Who is affected

The obligation to issue an electronic invoice is valid both in the case where the supply of goods or the provision of a service is carried out between two VAT operators (B2B transactions, i.e. Business to Business), and in the case in which the sale/service is performed by a VAT operator toward a final consumer (B2C transactions, i.e. Business to Consumer).
Only operators (businesses and self-employed persons) that fall within the so-called "advantage regime" (referred to in art. 27, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the decree-law of 6th July 2011, n.98, converted, with amendments, by the law of 15th July 2011, n.111) and those that fall within the so-called "flat-rate regime" (referred to in art. 1, paragraphs 54 to 89 of the law of 23rd December 2014, n.190) are exempt from the obligation to issue an electronic invoice. Operators under the advantage or flat rate regime can still issue electronic invoices in accordance with the provisions of the measure of 30th April 2018. To these categories of operators we can add "small agricultural producers" (referred to in art. 34, paragraph 6, of Presidential Decree n. 633/1972), which were exempted by law from issuing invoices even before the introduction of the obligation for electronic invoicing.

"FatturAE" the free app for issuing electronic invoices

The Revenue Agency has created an app called "FatturAE", available both on Android and iOS operating systems, through which to prepare and send to electronic invoices the Exchange System (SdI). Through a guided procedure, the app supports the user in the preparation of an ordinary or simplified invoice between individuals or an invoice to the Public Administration. In addition, in order to facilitate the operations of fuel station managers as much as possible, the app also allows you to choose an invoice template for the sale of fuels from the invoice templates.

"Fatturae", the free app from the Revenue Agency for smartphones or tablet, can be used by VAT operators, individual firms and self-employed persons; it cannot be used by companies. Companies can use the web procedure within the "Invoices and Payments” portal of the Revenue Agency website, or the stand alone procedure (software downloadable from the Revenue Agency website). The app also allows you to send electronic invoices;

Other free services from the Agency

For preparation of the electronic invoice, the Revenue Agency offers a series of free services:

  • a web procedure, which also allows you to transmit electronic invoices, in addition to preparing them; to use this procedure it is necessary to gain access to the "Invoices and Payments” portal;
  • a software for desktop PC available, with a guide, at the following link; this procedure only allows you to prepare and save the files of the electronic invoices;
  • the "Invoices and Payments” portal allows you to generate, transmit and store electronic invoices (toward public administrations and toward private customers), transmit the data on invoices (issued and received) to the Revenue Agency, store and transmit data on payments, identify and activate devices, obtain certificates to load onto these devices, for secure storage and digital transmission of data on payments.
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