Italy Company Formation

Introduction to Registering a Company in Italy

Italy is projected to be the eighth-largest economy in the world in 2016-2020 and the fourth-largest in Europe in terms of nominal GDP. Italy has recently taken new steps to position itself as a welcoming home for non-EU and EU residents for foreign investment. In fact, the time frame for the incorporation of an Italian company (including obtaining VAT and opening a bank account) is around 15 working days from the day in which we start the incorporation procedure. VAT number is obtained before the company is even incorporated and it only takes a couple of days to open the bank account. In the UK, for example, a company is incorporated in one day, but it can take several weeks to obtain a VAT number and opening a bank account can be quite difficult for a foreigner.

What are the main company types in Italy?

There are three major types  of Italian company registration for foreign investors, and they are as follows:

  • Limited liability company (SrL)
  • Joint Stock Companies (SpA)
  • Branches

What are the main features of a Limited liability company SrL?

  • Ideal format for small to medium businesses
  • minimum share capital is €10,000
  • accounts to be filed annually
  • No restrictions of foreign investors

In Italy, there are two mains types of limited liability companies;

  • Private Limited companies by Quotas including Traditional S.r.l or Simplified S.r.l.
  • Public Limited Companies by Shares

The traditional S.r.l and Simplified S.r.l are the most common types of limited liability companies in Italy and they allows the broadest flexibility to the founder.

What are the main features of a Joint Stock Company(SpA) ?

  • Minimum 1 director
  • Ideal for medium to large companies
  • The minimum share capital is €120,000
  • No restrictions of foreign investors
  • accounts to be filed annually with the Registrar of Companies

What are the main features of a branch?

  • foreign parent responsible for all liabilities of Italian branch
  • minimum 1 director
  • accounts to be maintained but no reporting requirements

Is it complicated to setup a business in Italy?

Following recent reforms, opening an Italian company has become easier than in the past, the incorporation process takes a few more days (7 working days) than in some other European countries, but unlike most European jurisdictions VAT number and bank account for foreign owned companies can be obtained at a quicker timeframe. The company incorporation formalities include the following:

  • arrange articles of association and memorandum of association
  • execute articles of association before a public notary
  • obtain an Italian tax code
  • open a local bank account
  • register for VAT
  • file with the Registrar of Companies

For more information on how to set up a company in Italy and Italian company registration services please contact us today.

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