What does the Italian business register contain by way of information?
Italy's Registro delle Imprese is run by the Chambers of Commerce, with support from Unioncamere, under the supervision of a judge and the Ministry of Economic Development. The ICT infrastructure is run and maintained by Infocamere, a consortium of the Chambers of Commerce in public limited company form.
The register provides detailed information on businesses, such as:
- complete names of companies
- registered office
- VAT number
- activity and legal form
- governing bodies
- legal representatives
- powers of representatives
It also provides access to public documents concerning companies, including:
- full financial statements
- instruments of incorporation
- lists of shareholders
The Italian business register offers two types of reporting:
- Legal reporting
- as guarantee of the existence of the company
- to ensure that information can be relied upon in dealings with third parties(Article 2193 of the Civil Code)
- Economic reporting
- for statistical and economic purposes
Is access to the Italian business register free of charge?
Access to the register and to a limited amount of information (such as name and address of company) is free of charge. However, on-line access to complete information is available only on request and against payment.
How reliable are the documents in the register?
In Italy the business register is kept by the relevant offices of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture. These offices are called business register offices (uffici del Registro delle Imprese), and act under the oversight of a judge appointed by the court with jurisdiction for the place (who supervises the formal correctness of individual registrations) and under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Economic Development.
Italy's business register was set up in its current form following a reform in 1993 (Article 8 of Law No 580 of 1993) implemented by a 1995 regulation (Decree of the President of the Republic No 581 of 1995).
With this reform the business register, hitherto kept purely in paper form at the record offices of commercial courts, was transferred to the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture so that they could run it in fully computerised form, making the information and documents contained therein fully and immediately available across the country.
These provisions were subsequently supplemented by Article 31 of Law No 340 of 2000, which made it mandatory for almost all types of enterprises (all companies in particular) to use a digital signature and computer tools for preparing applications for registration and the accompanying documents and for submitting them to the business registrar.
Following further changes in the legislation (Article 9 of Decree-Law No 7 of 2007), all types of enterprise, including sole traders, now correspond with the business register, for the purposes of reporting requirements, using digital signatures and electronic channels.
Before registering an enterprise, the relevant business register office checks (pursuant to Article 11(6) of Decree of the President of the Republic No 581 of 1995) that:
(a) the application is authentic;
(b) the application form is completed correctly;
(c) the act or fact for which registration is requested corresponds to legal requirements;
(d) the documents required by law are attached;
(e) any other legal conditions for registration are complied with.
We should also point out that almost all the documents relating to companies that are entered in the business register are drawn up by a notary. Article 11(4) of DPR No 581 of 1995 lays down that: ‘The document to be recorded shall be lodged in the original version, and in the case of a private deed not lodged with a notary the signature shall be authenticated In other cases an authentic copy shall be lodged. The extract shall be deposited in authentic form in accordance with Article 2718 of the Civil Code.’
Under Article 2193 of the Civil Code
- If information that must be registered by law is not registered, it may not be relied upon against third parties by whoever was required to apply for registration, unless they prove that the third parties had knowledge thereof.
- Third parties may not claim ignorance of information that must be registered by law once it has been registered.
- This is without prejudice to any specific provisions of law.
History of the Italian business register
The Italian business register was established in 1993.
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