Expand Business in Italy

Global Upside helps businesses expand into Italy by providing talent acquisition, human resources, accounting, payroll, tax, incorporation, and professional employer organization (PEO)/employer of record (EOR) services. Our comprehensive offerings create an end-to-end solution that helps you establish your business and optimize your operations, all while maintaining compliance with Italian laws and regulations.

The hiring and incorporation processes in Italy are often complex, time-consuming, and involve numerous legal and compliance challenges. Global Upside simplifies these processes and lifts the compliance burden from your business. Our teams have the experience and expertise required to help you establish a legal entity in Italy. We also offer PEO/EOR solutions to companies interested in hiring employees quickly, without setting up a legal entity in the country.

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Country Overview

Set in South-central Europe, Italy, is a nation of diverse cultures and people. The country has a population of around 60 million and ranks amongst the seven most industrialized countries in the world. Italy has an extremely developed production industry and is one of the most economically progressive countries in the world.

  • Italy’s economic structure relies mainly on the manufacturing and services sector.
  • The primary exports are metals and metal products, clothing and footwear, motor vehicles, including luxury vehicles.
  • Italy’s major imports are minerals, nonferrous minerals, energy and transport products, and chemicals.

Options for setting up a legal entity in Italy include:

Representative Office

A representative office is an office established by a company or a legal entity to conduct marketing and other non-transactional operations. Representative offices are not liable to taxation.

Branch Office

A branch office represents the presence of an overseas company. There is no discrete legal existence and the parent company is subject to all legal obligations. In a branch office setup, the costs involved are lower than the other setups.


i) Società a responsabilità limitata (S.r.l.) – a common form of entity used by small and medium-sized businesses as the management is extremely flexible. It requires a minimum corporate investment of €10,000.

ii) Società per azioni (S.p.A.) – a form of entity in which the number of shareholders is unlimited. The minimum corporate investment is €50,000.

It takes a minimum of three months to set up a legal establishment in Italy.

The Italian Employment Act (Jobs Act) is employee-friendly and also flexible for the employers. Italian employment law is based on:

  1. Italian law
  2. European Union law
  3. Mutual labor pacts (the NationalCollective Labor Agreement and the Territorial Collective Labor Agreement)

It is stated that, within a month of hiring an employee, the employment contract must be shared with that employee. The contract must include:

  • Full name of the employer and the employee
  • Date of joining and the training period
  • Expiration date of the contract or termination period
  • Salary details and all relevant benefits
  • Working hours
  • Entitlement to paid leaves
  • Duties of employee

Italy observes the following public holidays:

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • Jan. 6: Epiphany
  • Easter Monday
  • April 25: Liberation Day
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • June 2: Date of the Founding of the Republic
  • Aug. 15: Assumption Day
  • Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
  • Dec. 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day
  • Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day

Employers should pay employee wages once a month. The employee should also receive a payslip from the employer that provides payment details.

Companies in Italy must maintain consistent accounting records in compliance with the Italian Civil Code (ICC) and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Italian GAAP/IAS – IFRS).

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate in Italy is known as imposta sul reddito sulle società (IRES) and it is 24%. Additionally, there is a regional production tax known as imposta regionale sulle attività produttive (IRAP) which is 3.9%.

Value Added tax (VAT)

The VAT rate in Italy is 22% and there are reduced rates of 4%, 5%, and 10%.

According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), employers must notify employees whenever their data is being used. The Italian Data Protection Code also outlines additional data protection guidelines that employers must adhere to.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

Anti-bribery and corruption law in Italy is divided into two distinct sections:

Bribery of Public Administrators


  • For Individuals – imprisonment (1 to 10 years)
  • For Businesses – a fine of up to 200 to 600 quotas (EUR 258 to EUR 1,549)

Bribery of Private Individuals


  • For Individuals – directors and officers will be imprisoned for 1 to 3 years
  • For Businesses – a fine of up to 200 to 400 quotas (EUR 258 to EUR 1,549)