Start up your own business

Have you decided to start your own business in Florence? We are here to help you sort out the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

you’ve decided to strike out on your own and open your own business in Florence. We’re proud of you, Belonger! Starting your own business can be scary, especially in a foreign country.
we’re here to make things a little easier for you. Here are the steps to start working in this wonderful city as soon as possible.

If you are a non-EU citizen, the first thing you need to do to start any economic activity is to have a regular residence permit for work purposes. If you have just finished your studies in Florence, the residence permit for study allows you to work part time up to a maximum of 20 hours per week and 1.040 hours per year.
If you intend to stay in Florence and work full time, you will have to convert your Permit to Stay for study purposes into a Permit to Stay for work purposes.

Once you have regularized your position in Italy, you need to clarify your ideas about the type of business you have in mind. you have two options: you can become self-employed or start your own company. Once you define this, you can move on to the bureaucratic part.

VAT number: what it is and what it is for

If you have decided to carry out a continuous economic activity for more than 30 days a year or if your total fees will exceed 5,000 euros per year, you will have to open the so-called VAT number, a 11-digit code that is essential to issue an invoice and then collect your compensation in a legal way. The VAT number has the function of identifying companies and self-employed workers operating in Italy, even if they are not residents in our country, and it is always associated with another code, the ATECO Code.

Opening a VAT number, even for a foreigner, does not involve costs or long waits. It is possible to open one in a few hours and autonomously through the website of the Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate), although it is always recommended to have a tax professional to support you along the way.

If you are a non-EU citizen, before applying for a VAT number you must officially identify yourself by filling in the ANR/3 form, which can be downloaded here, and forwarding it to the Agenzia delle Entrate at the Pescara Operational Centre, in via Rio Sparto n. 21, 65100 Pescara, either in person or by registered mail (enclosing a photocopy of your identification document and the certification attesting to your status as a taxable person for the purposes of VAT held in the State to which you belong).

How to apply for a VAT number

Do you have all the papers in order, and are you ready to proceed with the request? Well, you will have to finalize it within 30 days from the date that you start your business. The forms you will need are downloadable from the Revenue Agency website here. These two include:

  • Form AA7/7 if you want to open a business;
  • Form AA9/7 if you want to become a freelancer.

The form you choose must then be delivered to one of the Revenue Offices, either in person or by registered mail. You can either attach a photocopy of your documents or upload the form online.

ateco code

Another code again? Yes, but don’t worry. The Ateco code is an alphanumeric combination that identifies any economic activity. When you open your VAT number, you will be asked to choose the most relevant ATECO code for the sector in which you want to work. This is a fundamental piece of communication because it guarantees that your activity is regularly classified for tax, social security and statistical purposes.

For example, if you are opening a VAT Number to work as a lawyer, you will need to report ATECO Code 69.10.10, referred to as “Law firm activities.”

Social Security Contributions

Joys and sorrows: as a VAT number holder in Italy, you are required to open your social security position at INPS (National Institute for Social Security) for the payment of contributions and at INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) for compulsory insurance. You are excluded from this last obligation in case you are the owner of a company with no employees or a professional with no employees.

Did you make it all the way through?

You made it! Now your new life in Florence can begin!

If you have any doubts, we suggest you to contact an accountant who will support you along the way. During this operation you will have to make some important decisions, such as the already mentioned ATECO Code or your tax regime. For individual VAT registered companies, the best solution is the so-called flat rate regime, because it will entitle you to many benefits, as well as a significant reduction in taxes.

You can also refer for information to the website of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence, with its online services, and in particular SARI – Supporto Specialistico Registro Imprese, or get in touch with PromoFirenze: the reference point for business assistance services in Florence. Among its services, there is the assistance for the birth of a new business, to answer all your questions about how to start a company, the mistakes to avoid, the benefits and much more. To request a meeting, simply contact the New Business Service of PromoFirenze, Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence, by phone at +39 055 26 71 600, or by e-mail by writing to