Electronic invoicing: mandatory innovations from 2022


published on 24 November 2021 | reading time approx. 5 minutes

As of 1 January 2022, the use of the Interchange System (SDI) and therefore of the electronic invoice in XML format will become mandatory also for active and passive transactions carried out with foreign entities. The electronic transmission of the XML document must be carried out, in the case of active transactions, within the normal terms for issuing invoices, while in the case of inbound transactions, within the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which the documents are received.

Italian companies have been obliged since 1 January 2019 to issue electronic invoices in XML format and send them to their customers via the Italian tax authority's exchange platform called SDI (acronym for “Sistema Di Interscambio”) if the invoice recipient (B2B and B2C) is resident or established in Italy.
With the Budget Law 2021 (Law number 178 of 30 December 2020), the reporting modalities of the data relating to the supply of goods and services made and received to and from non-resident subjects and not established in the territory of the State have been modified, introducing the obligation to use the Interchange System (SDI) also for these types of transactions starting from 1 January 2022.

At present, in fact, the data relating to outbound and inbound transactions with foreign subjects are transmitted to the Tax Authorities through a quarterly communication (the so-called “Esterometro”). From 1 January 2022, however, the Esterometro will be abolished and its place will be taken by the obligation to transmit to the Tax Authorities through the SDI, in form of a XML-self invoice, also for transactions carried out with non-resident counterparties. 

This change has substantially different implications depending on whether the transaction is an outbound or inbound transaction.

Issued invoices

As regards issued invoices, this change should not imply any particular criticality as it will be sufficient to issue an invoice in XML format (by using an “ordinary” Document Type as for example TD01) also for transactions with foreign entities and to transmit them to the Revenue Agency through the SDI, similarly to what already happens for invoices issued to entities resident or established in Italy, within 12 days from the transaction date (or within the 15th day of the following month in the case of deferred invoices). 

It should also be noted that in the field Codice Destinatario (Recipient Code) the value “XXXXXXX” (for invoices issued to entities residing in the Republic of San Marino, the Recipient Code “2R4GTO8” has been introduced, which can be used as of 1 October 2021) must be entered and that the burden of delivery of invoices to foreign subjects remains with the transferor considering that SDI will not provide for the delivery of such invoices to the customer.

Received invoices

As in the case of issued invoices, purchase invoices from foreign suppliers must also be transmitted electronically to the SdI in XML format.

Therefore, the taxable person who receives an invoice in analogue mode from the foreign supplier must generate an electronic document, i.e. convert the data of the integrative document or of the self-invoice in XML format and transmit it to the Italian Tax Authorities through SdI within the 15th day of the month following the month of receipt. This document must have the same structure as the one currently used for outbound transactions but with some peculiarities regarding its content described below. 

Document type:
  • TD17 for the application of the reverse charge procedure in case of purchase of services from non-residents;
  • TD18 for the application of the reverse charge procedure to intra-community purchases of goods;
  • TD19 for the application of the reverse charge procedure in case of purchase from non-residents of goods already located in Italy (ex article 17 paragraph 2, Presidential Decree number 633/1972).

It is also possible to issue a document in XML format (Document type TD16) for the integration of invoices relating to transactions subject to the internal reverse charge.

As regards the Recipient field (customer/buyer), in this case the data of the subject carrying out the integration or issuing the self-invoice shall be entered, as these documents are delivered by the SdI to the same taxable person who issued them.

The Date field of the General Data section of the e-Invoice file must be set differently depending on the type of transaction in question. In particular, it must be entered:
  • the date of receipt of the invoice issued by the European Union supplier (or in any case a date falling in the month of receipt of the invoice);
  • the date of execution of the transaction, in case of issuance of a self-invoice for the purchase of goods/services from non-EU VAT-subjects or VAT-subjects residing in the Republic of San Marino or in the Vatican City State.


The penalty for not transmitting to the SDI invoices relating to transactions carried out with non-residents from 1 January 2022 is Euro 2 for each invoice not transmitted, up to a maximum limit of Euro 400 per month. The penalty is reduced by half, up to a maximum of Euro 200 per month, if the transmission is made within fifteen days after the deadlines set, or if, within the same period, the data is correctly transmitted.

Changes for invoices to so-called habitual exporters (“esportatori abituali”)

As of 01 January 2022, electronic invoices issued to so-called habitual exporters (esportatori abituali) for non-taxable transactions pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph 1, Letter c) of Presidential Decree number 633/1972 must comply with the new layout as stipulated in the Ordinance of 28 October 2021. 

In fact, the Ordinance clarified that, as from 2022, three fields of section “AltriDatiGestionali” of the XML file must be filled in as shown below, in order to indicate the telematic delivery protocol number (consisting of two parts, the first made up of 17 digits and the second of 6 digits) of the letter of intent (so-called “lettera d'intento”) received from the habitual exporter: 
  • Box “TipoDato” must contain the word “INTENTO”.
  • Field “RiferimentoTesto” must contain the two-part protocol number of the receipt of the letter of intent, with the two parts separated by the character “-” or “/” (e.g. 01234567891234567-000001).
  • The field “RiferimentoData” must contain the date of the receipt issued by the tax authority, which contains the protocol number to the declaration of intent.



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