Residence permit - Company Representative Office or Branch
Residence permit for the head of the representative office of a foreign legal entity / Ufficio rappresentanze art. 27 Testo Unico sull'immigrazione (goes outside of quotas, unlimited quantity of visas of this type)
Registration of a representative office (rappresentanza) or a branch in Italy is a convenient way to promote products on the European market. Registration of a representative office is a good way to conduct business without the need to set up S.r.l. or S.p.a., while maintaining its uniqueness as a foreign company.
In particular, there are two main options of registering a representative office in Italy: representative office and branch of a foreign company.
Here is the difference:
1. Representation of a foreign company in Italy. Registered in case a foreign company has a need to be present on the Italian market, but is unable to keep up with the costs of creating and operating the company.
This form of representation is the most flexible, since it is possible to promote the products / services of a foreign company and there is no need to bear the costs of maintaining a representative office.
A representative office of a foreign company performs a purely representative, advertising, research role, without the right to engage in commercial activities. The representative office does not have to pay any tax to the Italian budget, and the parent company is obliged to pay all expenses and taxes. At the same time, it is possible to offset VAT from the amounts of expenses made.
According to Italian law, the registration of a representative office is a very simplified procedure. It is enough to inform about the establishment of a representative office the Registro delle imprese, after the taxpayer identification number would been assigned.
2. Registration of a branch in Italy. A branch or permanent establishment of a foreign company, on the contrary, has the functions of the main company and has the right to carry out commercial activities, while being subject to taxation on a general basis.
According to paragraph 1 of Art. 162 of the Civil Code (as amended by Decree No. 334 of 12/12/2003) defines a permanent establishment as "a permanent place of business through which an enterprise, in whole or in part, carries out its activities". Thus, the activities carried out by a branch of the company are regulated in the same way as any other legal entity operating in Italy.
Registration of a representative office is one of motives to obtain a residence permit in Italy. There are obvious advantages when choosing to register a representative office in Italy, but also significant disadvantages of this method of obtaining a residence permit.
Let's consider all aspects: 1. A representative office of a foreign company is registered within 30 days. 2. The authorized capital is not required to be paid, since the representative office does not have the right to conduct commercial activities, but is created only to represent the services / goods of the main company. 3. For the same reason, it is not required to pay income tax. 4. It is not required to maintain tax records, and therefore pay for the services of a accountant. 5. It is not required to wait for the quotas, unlike for the PI type of permit. This type of visas is issued in unlimited quantities.
Attention. An important point! According to local legislation, a representative office of a foreign company is registered for a period not exceeding 5 years. After that, you will need to go through the entire registration process again. When choosing this motive, the residence permit cannot be prolonged. After 5 years of living in Italy, you will need to return to your country and go through the entire process of obtaining a 'Nulla osta' again.