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19.03.2013 - Classification of economic activities

Various economic activities are classified in the ATECO codes 2007.

The classification of economic activities describes in a precise way business activities of companies and self-employed professionals.

Such a classification enables to define economic behavior and tax compliances.

Establishing a proper code, either with the help of ATECO codes 2007 or relying on a trusted advisor, is important both for companies and self-employed professionals, who are perceived by the public administration according to their particular features and for the public administration which, referring to economic entities, must keep in mind those features.

Technically, the classification comprises five levels that include elements identified by each of the following codes:

1. alphabetical (sections);

2. numeric code of two numbers (divisions);

3. numeric code of three numbers (groups);

4. numeric code of four numbers (classes);

5. numeric code of five numbers (categories);

6. numeric code of six numbers (sub-categories).

The classification structure reminds a tree diagram and starts from the level 1, the most general one, that comprises 21 sections and finishes with the most detailed level 6 that comprises 1.226 sub-categories.

The hierarchic structure guides the taxpayer, who is able to classify precisely his/her business activity, starting from sections and arriving to a specific sub-category that describes better the activity.

The classification is standardised at the European level up to the fourth number, whereas the categories and sub-categories (levels 5 and 6, respectively) can be different among different countries in order to reflect better national specifics.

Example: let’s take into consideration the Supermarket retail as a business activity. Its code is 47.11.20 SECTION G


G represents the section “Retail and wholesale trade”

47.1 the division “Retail trade in non-specialised stores”

47.11 the class “Retail trade in non-specialised stores with food”

47.11.2 the category “Supermarkets”

47.11.20 the sub-category “Supermarkets” (this particular category comprises only one sub-category, which in this case are the same)

Nevertheless, there are many categories that hide numerous sub-elements.


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