Tax Identifier Numbers

Anything surrounding taxes or fees with international shipping can be intimidating. Knowing all the requirements will take some research. While you can do research on your own, due to the nuances of tax law it is highly advisable to speak with a legal or tax professional. This guide will provide you with some very general advice surrounding Tax Identification Numbers or TINs as well as how to add TINs to your shipping documents.

This Guide is Not Legal Advice

This article is only a guide and not a substitute for legal advice. Please consult a tax expert to discuss your specific business needs.

What is a Tax Identifier Number (TIN)?

The basic use of a TIN is to quickly identify your business and track its related tax activities. Within the United States, you may be familiar with the Employer Identification Number (EIN) that appears on your tax forms.

If you are shipping to other countries, particularly in Europe, your business will require another type of TIN. Some of the more common ones are Value Added Tax (VAT) , Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) , and Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI).

VAT: Value Added Tax Number is required for doing business in several European countries. You may need more than one VAT Number based on the countries where you do business.

EORI: A unique number used by customs and other authorities to monitor and track shipments coming into and out of the European Union.

IOSS: An online portal to help businesses pay their VAT called the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). Businesses must register to use this service, and they are provided a number for it.

Add TIN to Customs Forms

When configuring an international shipment, you'll need to add the shipment details to the customs form. Once you save the customs details, you'll continue to create the label like you normally would.

IOSS Numbers VS. VAT Numbers

  • For orders delivered to the United Kingdom, “IOSS number” field will be labeled “VAT number” in the Customs Form.

  • If you are selling through a marketplace, such as eBay or Amazon, be sure to include that marketplace’s IOSS number in the Customs Form. If you do not, the receiving EU country will assume VAT has not been collected.

Do I need to register for an EORI number to ship to the UK?

Most merchants shipping to the UK are not required to have an EORI number, though in some cases it may be beneficial, depending on your selling scenario or shipping methods.

  • Marketplace merchants

    If you only do marketplace sales, then you do not need an EORI number, since collecting VAT is the marketplace's responsibility.

  • Brands shipping direct to consumer (not via a marketplace)

    If you ship DDP (Delivery Duty Paid), you do not need an EORI number. Your carrier will bill you for the tax on a per shipment basis. Contact your carrier to discuss how this will be billed to your account. You may still need to collect the fees from your consumer upon checkout.

    If you ship DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid), it is recommended you set up an EORI number so you can proactively pay the tax to HMRC. This has the added benefit of helping you keep shipping costs low.

Here are a few useful resources for merchants who wish to apply for EORI:

Tax Identifier Number FAQ

Which TIN should I use?

The appropriate Tax Identification Number for your business is dependent on several factors. The major factors are where your goods ship from, the destination country, and what goods you sell.

You can check the embassy or government website for the destination country to find out which tax numbers they require for imports. Ultimately, this would be a conversation to have with a tax expert.

How do I get one?

How many TINs can I have?

You can have multiple Tax Identification Numbers associated with your business especially if you ship to multiple countries.

Can I ship internationally without a TIN?

Any shipment that is subject to taxes and duties will need one. Failure to include a TIN number on your shipments may result in fines, delays, or returns.

However, not all countries require VAT or duties, so the requirements may vary. Consult government websites for the destination country or talk with a tax expert to confirm if you need a specific TIN.

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