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Establishing a representative office in Italy (local office)

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Copia-di-STARTING-A-BUSINESS-IN-ITALYRepresentative offices - which are not legal entities of a foreign company in Italy - are characterized by two elements:
• a local presence to promote the company and its products/services and to perform other non-busi- ness activities;
• the local unit does not require a permanent representation (it does not represent the foreign company vis-a-vis third parties).

Local offices must be registered with the Economic and Administrative Index (REA, Repertorio Economico Am- ministrativo) at the Chamber of Commerce, attaching the following documents:
• if the company is incorporated in an EU country: a certificate indicating the company’s details and the legal representatives of the company issued by the foreign equivalent of the Register of Compa- nies in Italy;
• if the company is incorporated in a non-EU country: a statement of the existence of the company is- sued by the Italian Embassy in the country where the company has its registered office.

In any case, documents in foreign languages must be translated into Italian by a sworn translator.

Tax issues

If the representative office is used only for the following purposes:
• storage, display or delivery of goods belonging to the foreign company;
• purchasing goods or obtaining information for the foreign company;
• conducting preliminary activities assisting the business activities of the foreign company; it would not be considered a permanent establishment from a tax perspective.

A representative office is not required to keep books, publish financial statements or file income tax or VAT re- turns. It is, however, required to keep ordinary accounts in order to document the expenses (e.g. personnel costs, office equipment, etc.) to be covered by the foreign company.

 

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