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Register for your IOSS number with shipping sector experts Ship24

Enjoy seamless transition to the new EU VAT scheme with Ship24 and receive your IOSS number within as little as 3 days to begin enjoying the advantages of the new EU taxation system and fast-track customs clearances

What is an Import One-Stop-Shop number?

The IOSS scheme is designed to simplify the declaration and payment of VAT in the EU on all goods sold from distance by sellers from both within and outside the EU. An IOSS number can be obtained by registering for IOSS either directly or with an IOSS interdmiary if you are within the EU, or only via an IOSS intermediary if not in the EU.

An IOSS number is required by distance sellers and marketplaces in order to sell goods to buyers in the EU under the IOSS scheme. The IOSS scheme has multiple benefits for e-tailers and marketplace merchants who sell goods in the EU and Ship24 is ready to help businesses reap the rewards with seamless transition to the Import One-Stop-Shop scheme. Find out more about our competative pricing on our IOSS solutions pages.

Many will be wondering how to register for an IOSS number in order to meet the new EU business VAT law, therefore this page aims to answer the most prominent questions on the lips of businesses regarding IOSS and how to obtain their own IOSS number.

If you want to instead find out about the EU VAT changes, link the link provided.

What do I need to consider before signing up for an IOSS number?

Although IOSS numbers are ultimately designed to make EU import VAT charges and payments an easier process, there are a number of things to consider before registering, which we have listed below:

  • Registration: IOSS is designed predominantly for e-commerce and online marketplace sales, so you will need to assess what the IOSS offers your business, depending on your needs.
  • Location: If you are outside of the EU and do not have an established presence within any EU country, you must register with an IOSS intermediary. The EU requires that an intermediary is appointed in order to manage your IOSS payments and be responsible for ensuring you adhere to IOSS obligations.
  • VAT variations: If you sell to EU customers in different countries, you may need to take into account the varying VAT tax rates for those locations. This sometimes is already provided by the marketplace, such as Amazon, however, sellers are urged to check themselves.
  • Marketplace IOSS number: Sales through electronic interfaces, including eBay and Shopify, will have different documentation about how the rules will affect your business. If you use an online electronic interface to sell products and goods, check with them to see if they offer an IOSS number to merchants on their platform or whether you need to apply individually first.

For more information on how the IOSS system will affect marketplace sellers, check out our dedicated IOSS marketplace page.

How do I use my IOSS number?

You will need to use your IOSS number to make VAT declarations to the EU tax authorities, as it will identify your companies individuals sales.

All businesses registered under the Import One-Stop-Shop scheme will also need to include an IOSS number on any waybill number for business-to-consumer eCommerce shipments. This includes any order bought by EU based buyer that is valued at 150 euros or less.

The courier or logistics company who handles your package then provides this number to customs in the destination country, at the point of customs declaration. For instance, if you shipped your package from the USA to France, FedEx will show this number at customs which should allow it to pass through customs instantly, as they can identify via the IOSS number that VAT has already been prepaid on the order (at the point of purchase).

What happens if I don't get an IOSS number?

If you do not register for a Import One-Stop-Shop number or with an IOSS intermediary, you will not receive an IOSS number and your parcel will likely be sent with delivery duty unpaid (DDU shipping). This is where the courier will pay the import VAT on behalf of the seller/buyer, in order to ship the delivery. It could also be sent delivery duty paid (DDP shipping), however this will be through a special arrangement between buyers, sellers and the logistics company/courier (custsom declarant) involved in the transaction and delivery.

However, the invoice for the VAT will be sent to the receiver, often with an added administration fee (either be a prepayment fee or a disbursement fee). This can mean the package is more likely to be delayed at customs as outstanding VAT payments / charges are processed. The best customer post-purchase experience is with IOSS, as it offers the fastest delivery times. Also, you will need to register for multiple VAT payments when sending to customers across the EU, unlike under IOSS which consolidates EU-wide payments into a single monthly bill to one tax authority or intermediary.

Can multiple businesses use an IOSS number?

No. An IOSS number - which is also referred to as a VAT code by some - should not be used by anyone who is unauthorized to do so. It can be used by suppliers or sellers who sell goods online through a marketplace, such as Etsy, or their own online shop. If you are an online marketplace seller, you need to contact the marketplace first to see if they have an IOSS number and whether you are allowed to use it.

What will the new IOSS number format look like?

Although the new IOSS scheme will see the creation of a new IOSS number format, it will be very similar to the format used currently for VAT numbers. Currently, a VAT number is around nine characters long, with a mixture of letters and numbers which indicate various unique features of the parcel. An example of this is below:

  • FR 295849305

In the above example, the first two letters identify the country where the parcel is heading and the corresponding VAT amount which will need to be paid. The following numbers identify where the package is heading and other carrier information. The IOSS number format will also likely have additional characters which differentiate it from packages sent under DDP or DDU postage methods. This will allow it to pass through customs instantly.

Can I track a parcel without an IOSS number?

You can track a parcel whether or not is is sent under the IOSS scheme and has an IOSS number. All registered packages sent with major couriers and logistics companies can be tracked worldwide using the Ship24 shipment tracking platform, at Ship24.com. We track all major couriers in Europe, including DHL, TNT and GEODIS, as well as in the rest of the world, such as UPS and Yanwen.

For businesses who are looking for professional, universal tracking for B2B or B2C packages, whether sent via IOSS, DDP or DDU in Europe or anywhere in the world, join the thousands utilizing our powerful Tracking API and Webhook options.

What is my marketplace IOSS VAT number?

Some marketplaces, like Alibaba and Amazon, have their own EU VAT number (IOSS number) which can be used by merchants on those platforms for sales. If a merchant is using eBay to sell their products, they should contact the marketplace directly to find out the procedure for sales to EU buyers as well as the new Import One-Stop-Shop scheme and requirements.

Please note, marketplace seller VAT rules apply on business to consumer imports

What do I do I make an IOSS administrative mistake?

If the IOSS declaration made by a company is incorrect, then the fault and responsibility lie with the company. When something is sold in the EU, the company should collect, declare and pay the total amount owed. Should the company fail in their duties for sellers then it can result in bans from the IOSS scheme for up to two years.

When choosing an IOSS intermediary, businesses should check both the capacity and services provided by the potential option, to make sure that it is capable of fulfilling your intermediary needs. Ship24 is a fully VAT competant intermediary service which will ensure that your business meets EU IOSS obligations, with support from our expert international team available around the clock to help you.

What's the deadline for IOSS number registration?

Registration for an IOSS number can take as little as 3 working days with Ship24. However, businesses and marketplaces are encouraged to register as soon as possible in order to begin taking advantage of the benefits of the IOSS system.

Ship24 works closely with its EU partners in order to offer the quickest turnaround possible to deliver IOSS numbers to the businesses we represent as soon as possible. Not only do we offer one of the quickest turnarounds regarding IOSS number delivery, but our dedicated IOSS team aims to provide the smoothest possible transition to the IOSS scheme with ongoing, best-in-class support to meet our clients needs while ensuring full EU compliance.

Do the new EU VAT laws only count if you have an IOSS number?

No. Although the Import One-Stop-Shop scheme is optional, the introduction of the scheme will still see the abolishment of the low-value tax exemption which meant that all imported goods which were valued at less than 22 euros did incur any import fees.

As of July 1, 2021, VAT will be charged on all goods business to consumer goods, whether under the IOSS system and charged at the point of purchase or if it is charged at the point of entry into the EU (if they value 150 euros or less).

This new ruling is designed to ensure a fairer market for domestic and non-domestic sellers, some of which were at a competitive disadvantage when it came to goods amounting to less than 22 euros.

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