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Five key questions about e-Invoicing in Italy

In 2014, the Italian government introduced mandatory business-to-government (B2G) e-invoicing for suppliers to public administration and government offices. FatturaPA is the name of the electronic invoice in Italy for public administration. Authorities only accept e-invoices through the Sistema di Interscambio (SDI) platform, which is the official exchange system.


From 1 January 2019, all invoices issued following the sale of goods or provision of services carried out between entities resident or established in Italy must be electronic. To fill an electronic invoice, you need software that allows the compilation of the invoice file in XML format, as required by the Revenue Agency provision of 30 April 2018. 


Electronic invoices must always be sent to their customers through the SDI. If the invoices are issued in a different way in accordance with the specifications given by the Italian tax authorities, the invoice is considered invalid, and penalties will be applicable.


1.How does electronic invoicing work? 

It is necessary to use a system that meets the same legal standards as the SDI to make, receive, sign, issue, or maintain electronic B2B invoices between individuals, professionals, or businesses.


2. What about for foreign transactions?

The system for declaring foreign invoices in Italy is called Esterometro. Foreign invoices received and sent by Italian companies must be declared to the Agenzia delle Entrate with the Trasmissione Dati Fatture (TDF) document.

However, this system is scheduled to be replaced in July 2022. From then, VAT data will be declared in the electronic invoice format and transmitted to the Sistema di Interscambio.


3. Is it mandatory to sign invoices electronically?

The invoice issuance process directed to public administrations can include a qualified digital signature from a secure invoice generation device. The digital signature is not mandatory for B2B transactions.


4. Is it necessary to demonstrate the integrity and authenticity of the invoices? 

Yes, as Article 1 states, “The electronic invoice is a digital document containing no executable code or macro-instructions, and in which proof of the date, authenticity of origin and integrity of the content are guaranteed by affixing the time reference and the issuer’s certified electronic signature under the terms of the Digital Administration Code”. 


5. Is there a specific requirement to archive electronic invoices?

Invoices should be stored in a way that ensures their integrity, authenticity, and accessibility for the duration of the storage period (10 years from the date of reception). The original invoice, along with its digital signature and any other suitable proof of integrity or authenticity, should be saved. This type of evidence must also be saved in a digital format.

Storage in a foreign nation is restricted to countries with which Italy has a bilateral agreement. If invoices are stored outside of Italy, they must be available online and Italy’s tax authorities must be informed in advance.


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