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Is opening an Ecommerce VAT number mandatory? Everything you need to know

By 10 May 2024No Comments
Partita IVA Ecommerce obbligatoria?

Is opening an ecommerce VAT number necessary to sell online? For those who decide to open an online sales site, regardless of the sales channel chosen—be it your own e-commerce site, a marketplace like Amazon, or dropshipping platforms—knowing the legal and tax requirements is essential. 

In this article, we will explore when you need to open a VAT number for your online business and what steps to follow to comply with current legislation.

Opening an e-commerce VAT number: when is it necessary?

Contrary to what some may think, opening a VAT number it is not always mandatory for those who sell online. The legislation distinguishes between occasional sales and habitual sales: the first occurs without continuity and without the intention of generating a business income, while the second implies a certain regularity and organization, configuring itself as a commercial activity.

Therefore, it is mandatory to open a VAT number if the online sales activity takes place in a continuous and organized manner, regardless of the volume of revenue generated. This clarification dismantles the myth of the "5,000 euro turnover", below which a VAT number would not be necessary: an erroneous belief with no legal basis.

As a result, an ecommerce VAT number is not required for occasional sales.

Guide to opening a VAT number for e-commerce

The procedure for opening an e-commerce VAT number is simple and has no costs. In fact, it is sufficient to fill in one of the forms available on the company's website.Revenue Agency. Nonetheless, it is not always easy to open a VAT number, especially for some professions, which require registration in a professional register, and for the more inexperienced, who may find it difficult to compile the documentation.

For these reasons, consider consulting with an accountant who can guide you through the process and ensure you comply with all applicable regulations, including those related to electronic invoicing obligations. 

But let's now move on to the steps necessary for opening the VAT number. First of all, there are some requirements to be able to do this: 

  • age of majority: you must be at least 18 years old; 
  • ability to understand and want;
  • residence on Italian soil. 

If you meet these prerequisites, it is then essential to determine whether your business falls into the usual selling category. If you manage a structured online store, the answer is almost certainly yes.

After that, you will have to choose the correct form to fill out between the AA9/12 form, relating to natural persons, and the AA7/10 form, relating to subjects other than natural persons. Attention: you must deliver this document within 30 days of the opening date of your business.

During registration, you will also be asked to choose the appropriate ATECO code for your business. This code identifies the product category of your sale and affects specific regulations and possible tax breaks. You can find it on the websiteISTAT.

The different online sales methods and VAT number

There are various commercial channels on the web and each provides different sales methods, which influence the VAT number.

Operate a own e-commerce, for example, involves the complete management of the sales process, from marketing to logistics, requiring the opening of a VAT number, as it is a commercial activity in all respects.

But there are also other channels, the best known and most popular of which is the so-called marketplace. Selling on platforms such as Amazon or eBay often implies opening a VAT number, especially if the sale is systematic and organised, but it is also possible to occasionally sell products without a VAT number.

Then there are innovative and relatively recent solutions, such as dropshipping. This model, which involves the sale of products shipped directly from the supplier to the buyer, also requires a VAT number, given the continuous nature of the activity.

Even for practices such as reselling, which consists in reselling particularly sought-after or discontinued products, it involves the obligation to open a VAT number if the activity is organized and regular. And the same thing goes for second-hand trade, the sale of used goods, which requires a VAT number if carried out continuously, despite being occasional.


Opening an e-commerce VAT number is an obligation that depends on the nature and regularity of the commercial activity. Sellers must be informed and prepared to comply with tax obligations to avoid penalties and ensure the sustainable growth of their business. Making use of reliable resources and, if necessary, professional advice, is the key to successfully navigating the complex e-commerce landscape.