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19.09.2012 - E-commerce

How many times have you considered selling products or services via Internet?

The fear of administrative or bureaucratic procedures and going through the rough path of formalities seems very often much bigger than the one concerning the activity itself. Nonetheless, you have made a decision to set up your own business. And have contacted, naturally, a qualified professional.

It must be pointed out that there are 2 types of e-commerce:

  • indirect, having something in common with the so called “distance selling”. There used to be mail order catalogues, nowadays those catalogues are to be found online and a vendor, who wants to enlarge their business is suggested to turn to e-commerce.
  • direct, means downloading products right from the vendor’s website. Enough to think about buying a digital book via Amazon.

It is important to define which kind of e-commerce you would like to establish. Tax implications are then different. In the first case you are supposed to deliver the goods, in the other, described in the resolution n. 274/E from July 3, 2008, you are dealing with the delivery of “virtual goods”, which tax authorities consider as providing services.

In this article we will focus on the indirect e-commerce.

What steps you should undertake?

Choosing the best business type.

Sole proprietorship? Partnership? Corporation? Family business? Sole proprietorship is a good solution for small businesses. Companies are better for more than one candidate for an entrepreneur. It can be a partnership or a corporation, depending on the size of the affair and the level of trust between partners. An interview with a professional will help you to make the best choice.

Legalizing your business in a Commercial Registry office.

If you decide to establish a company, you will need a notary’s intervention in order to register your business. If you choose to set up a sole proprietorship, you will need to acquire a proper software and electronic signature or delegate it to a trusted professional.

But be careful: you will remain inactive. The next step is, in fact

Providing SCIA (segnalazione certificata di inizio attività – a declaration of opening a new business) by sending an e-mail to SUAP (Sportello Unico delle Attività Produttive – One-stop-shop for Productive Activity)

You can do it on your own by obtaining an adequate software and a smartcard or rather use the services of an accountant.

Tax liability and social security obligations.

Those who run an indirect e-commerce business can use a receipt or a bill to confirm the transaction. However, those who provide direct e-commerce services must issue an invoice.

When estimating the costs of an affair you must not forget about the social security obligations. At present (September 2012) for an income less than €14.930, a vendor must pay to INPS (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale – National Institute of Social Security) every 3 months an amount of €800,25. It concerns also the situation when the income is negative.


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