Online sales to non-EU private individuals must be documented by invoice

The Covid-19 emergency has helped to increase the trend of online sales, a trend that has already been growing steadily since last few years.

The strength that has attracted many small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy to invest in e-commerce is the possibility of breaking down the territorial limitations of physical stores and expanding their sales on a global scale.

Although online commerce represents an advantageous opportunity from a competitive point of view, there are still many uncertainties as to how to document online supplies of goods to private consumers.

In the case of private sellers residing in non-EU countries, the transaction must be qualified as an export sale, not taxable under Article 8 of Presidential Decree 633/72, as the goods are shipped outside the EU by and on behalf of the seller.

The uncertainty arises from a documentary point of view, as the transaction is attributable to indirect e-commerce which, if carried out by retail traders, benefits from the exemption of invoicing as it is assimilated to mail order sales.

However, since this is an export sale, it is subject to customs rules which require the sales invoice to be attached to the customs export declaration.

For this reason, it can be considered that, in the case described above, the simplification of tax obligations in e-commerce transactions is hindered by customs formalities, which require the invoice to be attached when a supply is made to private individuals outside the EU.