Sending goods via the IOSS

General

If a business is registered in the IOSS, its distance sales of imported goods are exempted from import VAT in every Member State provided that the instrinsic value does not exceed 150 Euro per consignment. While the importation is exempted, these sales are taxed through the  IOSS, with the VAT calculated according to the law in the Member State in which the carriage of the goods ends (Member State of Consumption), i.e. particularly the tax rate of the Member State of Consumption is to be applied.

For the import of goods to be exempted from import VAT under the IOSS scheme, the person making the customs declaration (postal service or expediter) must include the IOSS number in the customs declaration. The validity of the IOSS number will be checked automatically be the electronic customs system. If the IOSS number is not included in the customs declaration or invalid, the tax exemption cannot be granted.

Caution

The business must ensure that its IOSS number is available to the person making the customs declaration in a manner that prevents the improper use of the IOSS number by third parties.

Business S is registered to the IOSS. On 30 December 2022, an Austrian consumer orders goods through the online store of business S. On 5 January 2023, S sends the goods from South America to Austria. The goods are imported into Germany and from there directly forwarded on to the consumer in Austria. The intrinsic value of the consignment is 80 Euro.

Solution

S must include the distance sale of imported goods in its IOSS declaration for the period December 2022. S has time until the end of January to submit the declaration and pay the tax. The taxation rules are based on Austrian law. In the declaration, Austria must be entered as the consumption member state and the Austrian tax rate must be applied. For the import to be tax-free, the entity making the customs declaration must provide the IOSS number of S in the customs declaration.

IOSS number

The IOSS number is sent automatically to the taxpayer once the tax office has confirmed the registration for the IOSSIOSS numbers have the prefix IM. Unlike the VAT ID number, the IOSS number must not (!) be provided to business partners; rather, it is only to be used for the customs declaration (see above). It is also not possible to check the IOSS number in the VIES.

Caution

The IOSS number should not be passed on to others. Should the IOSS number need to be communicated within the business due to a sale, the number should only be provided via a secure route. The IOSS number should not be sent by email. The business must prevent the improper use of the IOSS number by third parties.

When registering through an IOSS intermediary, the intermediary is provided with a separate IOSS number for each taxpayer they represent. The IOSS number should only be divulged to the taxpayer to which it was assigned. The IOSS intermediary will also be provided with their own identification number (prefix: IN) from their own registration; however, this number is only used for the (technical) identification of the intermediary and cannot be used to import goods.

Request to invalidate an IOSS number

It is basically not possible for an IOSS number holder to have their number invalidated on request (without being deregistered from the IOSS). However, if you discover that someone is misusing your number, contact your tax office as soon as possible.

Invalidation of the IOSS number per exclusion from the IOSS

If a business ends participation in the IOSS or is excluded, the IOSS number will become invalid after two weeks. If a business is excluded from the specific scheme due to a failure to comply with the rules of the scheme, the number becomes invalid immediately. The number will also become invalid if a business switches to the IOSS of another Member State. In this case, a new IOSS number will be issued in the new Member State.

In particular hardship cases, the validity of an IOSS number can be extended for up to two months after the ending of participation or exclusion. This may be necessary if a business has started shipping goods before the exclusion and the goods arrive in customs late due to major delays in delivery. Conversely, an extension will not be possible for goods that were only dispatched after the exclusion. Applications to extend the IOSS number must be submitted to the competent tax office. The application must contain, among other information, the tax base for the outstanding distance sales of imported goods, the relevant IOSS declaration period, and evidence (including transport documents) to prove, among other things, that the payment was accepted and that the goods were transported/dispatched before the exclusion.

Translated by the European Commission, altered by the Federal Ministry of Finance
Last update: 11 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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