Italy: Proof of delivery requirements under VAT “quick fixes” regime

Italy: Proof of delivery requirements

Italy has not yet fully implemented the value added tax (VAT) “quick fixes” regime, but guidance from the Italian tax authority clarifies application of the “proof of delivery” requirements introduced by the VAT quick fixes rules.

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The VAT “quick fixes” are intended to simplify international trade and to be implemented by the EU Member States and concern the following four items:

  • Simplified treatment for call-off stock
  • Uniform rules to simplify chain transactions
  • Mandatory VAT identification number to apply the exemption for intra-Community supplies
  • Simplified proof for intra-Community supplies

The Italian tax authority released Circular 12/E (12 May 2020) to clarify the new proof of delivery requirements introduced by the VAT quick fixes regime. The proof of delivery rules—introduced by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1912, amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011—have been applicable since 1 January 2020, without the need for implementing legislation. New article 45a of Regulation (EU) No 282/2011 provides that the transport of the goods is presumed to have taken place if certain conditions are satisfied, depending on whether the transport is arranged by the supplier or the recipient of the goods.

Circular 12/E

Circular 12/E issued by the Italian tax authority clarifies the application of the article 45a. In instances when the transport is arranged by the recipient of the goods, the recipient must deliver a declaration to the supplier, confirming that the goods have arrived at their destination. This declaration must be provided by the 10th day of the month following that in which the transaction takes place; however, if the declaration is provided late, the presumption is still valid.

The circular also confirms that the presumption does not apply when the goods have been transported directly by the supplier or the recipient of the goods, without the intervention of a third party (because the proof of transport must be provided by two parties, each independent of both the supplier and the recipient). The measures concerning independent parties exclude, for example, a head office or branch office scenario and situations when one company controls another.

The new proof of delivery can be disregarded by the Italian tax authority if it has reason to believe that the transport has not taken place. The circular cites as examples a situation when the Italian tax authority discovers that the goods are still stored in a depot of the supplier; that an accident has occurred  during transport, resulting in the destruction of the goods; or that the documentation (pursuant to article 45a as proof of delivery) contains incorrect information or is forged.

The new presumption can also apply to acquisitions taking place before 1 January 2020, if the taxpayer has the documentation listed in article 45a.

In instances when the transport cannot be proven under the new presumption rules, the Italian tax authority can revert to the existing national rules, as set forth in various resolutions and rulings, to assess whether the transport has effectively taken place. Existing Italian guidelines are to be applied on a case-by-case basis. It will still be up to the taxpayer to prove, to the satisfaction of the tax authority, that the conditions for the exemption (transport included) are met. In other words, when the presumption does not apply, the situation will remain the same as it was before new article 45a.

Lastly, the taxpayer is free to elect treatment under new article 45a or the prior national law.


Read a July 2020 report [PDF 143 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Italy

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