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Get full fiscal intermediation and EU VAT representation with Ship24 to make sure you take full advantage of the IOSS system for your business, with all obligations covered bas part of our comprehensive IOSS solution package

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Get a complete IOSS fiscal intermediary solution for your business

What is an Import One-Stop-Shop intermediary?

An Import One-Stop-Shop (IOSS) intermediary acts as a fiscal link between the IOSS scheme and distance sellers (specifically electronic interfaces such as e-tailers and web-based marketplaces) to manage the declaration and payment of owed VAT tax for a business or taxable person to the relevant tax authority. This payment will cover EU-wide sales for the businesses, but will be paid in a single payment where the IOSS representative is based.

IOSS fiscal intermediaries can be subsidiaries of non-EU-based sellers, law firms, or economic operators who are IOSS registered and for legal reasons need to be a taxable person or business with a fixed establishment within the EU.

Registration to become an IOSS fiscal intermediary is required, which will be done in the member state in which the IOSS intermediary has an established presence. If the IOSS intermediary has fixed establishments across multiple EU member states, IOSS registration must still only be done in one of the EU member states in which it is located, with VAT and IOSS administration being handled by the relevant tax departments of the chosen country for 3 calendar years after registration.

Once a fiscal intermediary has registered for IOSS, it will be allocated both an intermediary identification number (IIN), to identify it is an authorized IOSS intermediary. Upon receiving an IIN, they can be appointed to represent the taxable person(s) they now have the ability to register. Each of these taxable persons or businesses who register will be allocated a unique IOSS identification number when applying with the intermediary.

Who needs an IOSS fiscal intermediary?

Any business, both those based in the EU and those based outside of the EU, can use an Import-One-Stop-Shop intermediary. However, if you are based outside of the EU and do not have a subsidiary of your business or are not established within any EU country, you must use an IOSS fiscal intermediary.

This is because, if you are based in the EU or have part of your business established within the EU, you can register for the One-Stop-Shop directly, whereas those without an EU establishment cannot. This is sometimes called a "third-country business" or "non-EU cross border distance seller".

While the IOSS portal deals directly with the collection, declaration and payment of VAT by distance sellers, if an IOSS intermediary is used, it will be responsible for the submission of those declarations and VAT payments for the businesses it represents.

In turn, this means that IOSS fiscal intermediaries are jointly liable for all submissions and payments made on behalf of the companies they represent.

Does my business need an IOSS fiscal intermediary?

If you are a business or distance seller with customers in the EU, it is advisable to register for the IOSS system and get an IOSS number.

Registration for IOSS has lots of benefits, with the introduction of an IOSS system designed to improve the sales and import process of goods across and to the EU.

The Import-One-Stop-Shop aims to streamline these through its various features, such as with:

  • Prepayment of VAT at the point of sale to ensure a smoother customer process on imports
  • Full transparency for buyer and seller regarding VAT payments before import to avoid unexpected fees
  • A simplified, EU-wide tax payment and processing system
  • Reduction in VAT fraud, boosting confidence in trade
  • Ensuring a better post-purchase experience for customers, with the aim to boost trade
  • A level market for all stakeholders, including e-tailers and distance sellers for EU and non-EU businesses

However, it is important to make sure you are registered with an IOSS fiscal intermediary that has the capacity to accurately manage your VAT data, produce timely submissions and fulfil its obligations accordingly.

Therefore, it is advised to thoroughly research capable IOSS fiscal intermediaries and only go with trusted IOSS representatives with a proven track record. Ship24 is one such intermediary service, which offers rapid IOSS registration within as little as 3 working days, backed up by extensive shipping sector experience and best-in-class support. Find the ultimate IOSS business solutions right here, with the shipping sector experts, Ship24.

When choosing an Import-One-Stop-Shop fiscal intermediary, you may also want to take into account the language barrier. For instance, a distance seller based in the US may want to register with an IOSS intermediary based in Ireland, due to both parties speaking English. A Chinese marketplace or seller looking for an Import-One-Stop-Shop intermediary may need to search for a more international IOSS representative which can cater to language differences and needs.

How can I get an IOSS intermediary?

Registering for an IOSS intermediary is simple with Ship24. You can register for and fulfil all EU compliance with complete Import One-Stop-Shop intermediary services from Ship24. We offer full registration services, including step-by-step support on the required documentation, with an IOSS number delivered within as little as three days. Additionally, our international team offers best-in-class support throughout the registration process and beyond, with businesses and marketplaces choosing us as their fiscal intermediary due to our unrivalled shipping sector experience.

Ship24 and its EU-based partners offer full IOSS representation for VAT purposes in order to make sure your business meets all EU IOSS obligations. Find out all about our services and competative pricing on our dedicated IOSS solutions page.

Do I have to register with an IOSS intermediary in 2021?

Registering with an IOSS intermediary is optional, and you can still send products to EU buyers with delivery duty paid and unpaid. However, check the benefits of registering with an IOSS fiscal intermediary in order to make the correct decision for your business.

If you are a distance seller using an online marketplace, the platform may have its own IOSS number or IOSS intermediary which you can use. Equally, some couriers may offer DDP services, and handle and declare VAT for you. You should check with the marketplace or courier companies you use to see what Import-One-Stop-Shop solutions and services they are proposing ahead of the new EU VAT rule changes.

Is IOSS the fastest delivery method for the EU?

The introduction of the Import-One-Stop-Shop is designed to offer the most streamlined customs processing option and will likely be the go-to option for businesses due to the benefits it provides. This is because all EU imports must now have their IOSS identification number included in the shipment, which will make customs clearance faster as authorities will be able to instantly recognize that the VAT has been paid and declared.

If you choose to not opt for the IOSS scheme, distance sellers and e-tailers can still collect VAT at the point of sale (DDP), which will still offer relatively quick delivery times. However, if you choose to ship with the delivery duty unpaid (DDU), the goods will be shipped with outstanding VAT which can further delay the delivery process and mean the customer incurs other hidden fees.

What will an IOSS fiscal intermediary do?

An IOSS fiscal intermediary must ensure the following requirements are adhered to by both itself and who it is representing. Which are as follows:

  • Clear and adequate display of both a product's price AND the additional VAT owed on the platform it is advertised
  • Collection of the full VAT amount
  • Explain different VAT rates and show the VAT on any invoice produced
  • Ensure the customs declarant has all information required for customs clearance (such as the IOSS VAT number)
  • Ensure a monthly VAT declaration is filed at the end of each month
  • Remit the VAT collected from the online sale before the end of month M+1
  • Ensure the aforementioned is done on all goods shipped valued at €150 or less
  • Keep 10 years of accurate records for all IOSS distance sales in case of an audit by the relevant EU tax authority (where the IOSS intermediary will be registered.

Once I am registered with an IOSS, do I have to send all my goods via the IOSS system?

Yes. Once you are registered with an Import-One-Stop-Shop intermediary, all goods shipped to the EU must have VAT charged on them at the point of sale and you cannot send some products under the IOSS and some DDP.

This is the case for all shipments which are valued at 150 euros or less. Imports that exceed the 150-euro value will be subject to regular tax rates, with the destination country or the goods determining the specific VAT due to be paid by the buyer at the point of sale.

How do you track a parcel sent under the IOSS scheme?

The IOSS system and IOSS intermediary will only be responsible for handling VAT-related issues and administration and will not interfere with the shipping process. Therefore, all shipments sent by companies using IOSS intermediaries can still be tracked using the universal parcel tracking website, Ship24.

You do not need your Import-One-Stop-Shop number or IOSS intermediary information to track a package, simply type in the waybill or package tracking number and start tracking your package worldwide. This includes any of the major couriers, such as DPD, UPS and FedEx.

If you are a business and are wanting to ensure you have the next level of tracking for your shipments, whether to the EU or anywhere in the world, check out our business level Tracking API and Webhook options for market-leading tracking.

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