For those active in the world of e-invoicing and global VAT compliance, you’ll know that in the past month all eyes have been on Italy and the first deadline for its e-invoicing reform. Since our last update, concerning the possible delay to the July 1 deadline, speculation has been rife about how volatile the mandate’s entry into force would be.
In late May, the Italian coalition government, led by Giuseppe Conte, was finally formed. This news provided some hope to the collective of roadside gas and service stations, who were most concerned with the July 1 deadline. Leading representatives of this industry went so far as to threaten a nationwide strike unless the newly formed government acted to postpone the entry into force of the first deadline, to give their sector more time to prepare.
After intense meetings on the eve of the strike (June 25, 2018), the Italian government agreed to give this sector more breathing room, and in the next day issued a decree to formalize the decision of delaying the entry into force of the mandate to the supply of roadside gas and service station fuel supplies by six months, thereby aligning it with the final deadline of January 1, 2019.
During this interim period, between July 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019, those who purchase fuel at roadside gas stations will be able to continue using the existing “scheda carburante” (referred to in English as petrol cards) as means of ensuring VAT compliance. After January 1, 2019, this system will be abolished taxpayers will no longer be able to rely on this to deduct VAT.
The new timeline for electronic invoicing in Italy
So, what’s changed following the publication of this new mandate? Here are the key dates to keep in mind:
From July 1, 2018 e-invoicing becomes mandatory:
- For supplies made by sub-contractors to the public sector, under a framework agreement in public procurement, provided that the main contractor has notified the public administration about the sub-contractors involved in the execution of the contract.
- For supplies of petrol or diesel sold for the purpose of being used as motor fuel – with the exception of the fuel sold at roadside gas stations, which has been postponed until January 1, 2019.
On September 1, 2018, e-invoicing becomes mandatory:
- For invoices issued to non-EU consumers under the tax-free scheme for consumable goods (amount exceeding 155 EUR).
And finally, on January 1, 2019, e-invoicing becomes mandatory:
- For all domestic Italian invoices.
Any more turbulence ahead?
The Italian community of roadside gas and service stations isn’t the only sector of the economy to look at the e-invoicing reform that is taking place and view it as a burden rather than an opportunity. In that context, another question arises – is there any risk of the Conte led government postponing the other deadlines?
Considering the macroeconomic potential of the reform, and the significant infrastructure investments that have gone into the new framework, further delays are unlikely. After all, it is worth keeping in mind that Italy has the largest VAT gap (measured by value) within the EU and that every day that passes until the economy is fully up-and-running with e-invoicing through its clearance platform, is another day when that VAT gap is left wide open.