IOSS: What Is It? What Do I Need To Do?

IOSS number

Category: Shipping

Do you want to reduce the frustrating paperwork that comes with international shipping? Well, IOSS is here to make things a little easier for UK e-commerce businesses shipping to Europe — but how does it work? 

Let’s explore what IOSS entails and how it can simplify international shipping.

What is an IOSS number?

The Import One-Stop-Shop (IOSS) number was introduced in July 2021 to streamline international shipping and simplify declaring and paying VAT. 

Essentially, you can apply for a unique number that allows you to pay tax on all goods you sell to various EU countries under one monthly VAT return. This greatly reduces the amount of paperwork you have to fill out. You can use your IOSS number to deliver goods across the whole of the European Union — no need to fill out different forms and pay varying amounts for different countries.

By pre-paying all taxes before shipping to Europe, you can also speed up the customs clearance process. If you’re not IOSS-registered, then any goods you sell will be held at customs until VAT is paid. But with IOSS, customs will just check your number and then dispatch.

It’s worth noting that IOSS is only applicable to items that cost less than €150 and won’t cover Excise Goods (such as cigarettes and alcohol).

How to get an IOSS number

Depending on how you sell your goods, you have a couple of options for IOSS registration. If you sell through an IOSS-registered marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, the platform will do the work for you. 

Alternatively, you can opt for self-registration. To do this, you’ll need to register for IOSS via an EU intermediary. When you post your items, you’ll need to provide your IOSS number and then complete monthly tax returns.

How do IOSS numbers work for your customers?

As well as making international shipping easier for you, IOSS makes pricing clearer for your customers, too. They’ll just pay all VAT due on their goods when they make the purchase, avoiding additional customs fees when they receive their delivery.

What happens if I don’t use an IOSS number?

IOSS is optional – you don't have to use it. However, if you choose not to, then you’ll need to either pay any clearance costs yourself (Delivery Duty Paid or DDP), or your customers will need to pay VAT to receive their items (Delivery Duty Unpaid or DDU). 

 Often, unexpected DDU costs lead to a poor customer experience and fewer repeat sales.

Streamline your international shipping with Zenstores

Whether you choose to self-register for IOSS or sell via an online marketplace, Zenstores can help you handle all your shipping needs in one place. 

From automatically importing your IOSS number to orders to providing accurate shipping labels, we’ll streamline your sales and speed up your deliveries. Get in touch for more information or try Zenstores for free today.

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