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Italy: New E-Archiving Requirements in 2021

Gabriel Pezzato
November 12, 2020

Italy has been at the forefront when it comes to the introduction of continuous transaction controls (CTC) in the EU, and it still leads the way as other European countries look to Italy for inspiration on their local CTC implementations. But even before the introduction of its clearance e-invoicing system in 2018, the country had implemented rigid requirements for electronic archiving of e-documents, a category in which e-invoices are part of. The regulation around the preservation of e-documents has been quite stable since 2013, but a new set of rules are set to be enforced on 7 June 2021 by the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID).

New rules set for June 2021

The so-called new guidelines must be followed by taxpayers that store e-documents under Italian law and contain instructions for the creation, management, and preservation of such files. According to the AGID, the guidelines incorporate a static text and a flexible set of appendices suggesting that the Italian government will update the appendixes with some frequency. 

Among the updates affecting the archive of e-documents is the introduction of new standards and references. These relate to newer versions of standards already in place. An example of the latter category is the recently revised UNI 11386, whose purpose is to ensure interoperability in the preservation process.

Another change implemented by the new guidelines affects the metadata that must be associated with the e-documents. To comply with such a requirement, the AGID published an Appendix dedicated to the subject which includes, for example, the method of creation of the e-document, and the type, version, and authorship of the document.

The AGID has also modified bureaucratic rules. The new regulation clarifies that businesses may outsource the preservation manager role to a company with suitable competence and knowledge to perform the preservation manager’s duties.

It’s noteworthy that the guidelines go beyond e-archiving and introduce new technical specifications for the dematerialization of paper documents into electronic form. Although most invoices must be issued electronically through the SDI platform, it is still possible to issue and receive paper invoices in cross border flows to and from Italy. Consequently, businesses must observe new rules when dematerializing their paper flows.

While many taxpayers initially expected that the Italian e-archive requirements would lose importance after the introduction of the e-invoicing mandate, it has instead become evident to larger Italian businesses that it’s becoming more important than ever to maintain stronger evidence to support their transactions. In Italy, the only way to disprove a tax authority is by keeping an e-archive that complies with the rules on the storage of e-documents.

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Gabriel Pezzato

Gabriel Pezzato is a Senior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Stockholm and originally from Brazil, Gabriel’s background is in tax, corporate and administrative law. Gabriel earned a Law degree and a specialization degree in Tax Law in his home country and has a master’s degree in International and European Tax Law from Uppsala University (Sweden).
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