Business entities in Italy

Business entities in Italy

Healy Consultants will assist our Clients with setting up the optimal corporate structure. There are several ways of doing business in Italy, the most common being the setting up of an LLC. Alternatively, foreign companies can also incorporate a Branch Office or a Representative Office.

The Italian limited liability company (SRL)

    Setup LLC in Italy
  • The Italian LLC is commonly used to setup an SME. An LLC must appoint at least 1 director and 1 shareholder, who can be of any nationality. Please note that corporate directorship is also permitted;
  • Furthermore, minimum paid-up share capital of €10,000 will be required to complete the incorporation process.

The Italian publicly limited company (SPA)

  • This business entity is recommended when the promoters intend to publicly list the company. Such a company requires a minimum capital of €120,000 for incorporation. Furthermore, only 1 shareholder and 1 director must be appointed, whom can be of any nationality;
  • It is not mandatory for a PLC to list on a stock exchange in Italy. However, it will still be required to go through an annual audit. To give your company a marketing edge, Healy Consultants recommends our Clients establish an Italian PLC instead of an LLC.

European stock corporation (Società europea)

Two EU based companies can choose to setup as a European Stock Corporation. A minimum paid up share capital of at least €120,000 will be required. The main advantage of this business entity is that our Clients will be exempted from setting up a complex network of subsidiaries under different national laws.

Branch (Succursale)

Italian Corporate law stipulates that a branch office can be 100% foreign owned. The scope of operations for this entity will be defined by the parent company. Also, the branch office will have an independent management team and corporate bank account based in Italy.

Representative office (Ufficio di rappresentanza)

While the Italian representative office can be 100% foreign owned, it is not allowed to pursue production-related or commercial activities. Consequently, this entity can only engage in i) market research and ii) promoting the business of the parent company.

Table of comparison between Italy entities

 LLCPLCBranchRep office
Also known as:SRLSPASuccursaleUfficio di rappresentanza
How long to set the company up?2 weeks4 weeks2 weeks2 weeks
How long to open company bank account?4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
Legal liability?LimitedLimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Wholly foreign owned?YesYesYesYes
Minimum paid-up share capital?€10,000€120,000€0€0
File annual tax return?YesYesYesNo
Corporate bank account?Intesa SanPaoloDeutsche BankBNP ParibasBarclays
Does our Client need to travel?NoNoNoNo
Resident director required?NoNoNoNo
Resident shareholder required?NoNoNoNo
Minimum directors allowed?1111
Minimum shareholders?1111
Italian resident company secretary required?NoNoNoNo
Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYes
Corporate director(s) allowed?YesYesYesYes
Italy corporate tax rate1?27.5%31%31%0
Annual financial statements required?YesYesYesNo
Statutory audit required?YesYesYesNo
Allowed to issue sales invoices?YesYesYesNo
Allowed to sign contracts?YesYesYesNo
Allowed to import and export goods?YesYesYesNo
Can rent an office in Italy?YesYesYesYes
Can buy Italy property?YesYesYesNo
Can own equity in other Italian companies?YesYesYesNo
Total Italy business setup costs in Yr. 1€12,150€14,650€14,150€12,150
Subsequent annual costs (excl. accounting and tax fee)€3,950€3,950€3,950€3,150
Sample engagement fee invoiceItaly LLC setup costItaly LLC branch setup costItaly LLC branch setup costItaly LLC branch setup cost

1Regional corporate tax inclusive

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Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in Italy, please email us at Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Zhang Yi, directly:
client relationship officer - Zhang Yi