ITALY: VAT EXEMPTION SCHEME FOR “USUAL EXPORTERS”
International traders importing goods into Italy have the opportunity to clear their goods without paying VAT on imports. To benefit from this special scheme, the importer of record (IOR) must have the status of "usual exporter" in Italy.
The status of “usual exporter”
The "usual exporter" status can be obtained by an Italian or foreign company which, from the Italian territory, performs during a calendar year a volume of export sales representing more than 10% of the total turnover in Italy.
The exporting company recognized as such, can import into Italy under a VAT suspension scheme, but within the ceilings set by the authorization. Considering the processing time of the applications for reimbursement of VAT credits in Italy (1-3 years), such a solution suspending the payment of VAT on imports is a real benefit for companies which are constantly in a VAT credit position.
Regarding the ceiling of imports under tax suspension scheme, it is set each year based on the volume of exports of the previous calendar year. Exports are regarded in this case as supplies of goods, both outside the European Union (pure exports) and within the European Union (Intra-Community supplies).
It should also be noted that in order to be qualified for the exemption of VAT on imports, the importer must establish to the attention of the customs office a prior declaration of intent in relation with the future operations.
The declaration of intent to the Italian Customs
The prior declaration of intent is to be filed using an official form as approved by a Ministerial Decree. This form should mention the VAT identification number of the foreign trader in Italy.