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How to get an EU IOSS number - Relax. We have everything you'll need to get set up.

Article by Simon Perkins

26 March 2021 / 11 minute read

Having an IOSS number is not mandatory. There is a way for you to ship in to the EU completely hassle-free without one, and we will show you how below. However, if you've decided that you want an IOSS number and you're looking for really simple information about how do it, then this free guide on the EU IOSS scheme will get you started on the road to getting set up. Below you'll find information on how to;

  • Find and appoint an EU intermediary
  • How to register for an IOSS number
  • How to submit your EU monthly IOSS return

First, let's go through what the EU IOSS scheme is all about. Read our simple IOSS help guide below or skip that and simply just drop us an email at info@samos-e.com, WhatsApp us by clicking here or complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and we'll get in touch to go through your IOSS options and get you off in the right direction.

What we do:

  • Free IOSS registration guidance for e-com shippers
  • Free EU Intermediary set up help
  • Fuss-free EU parcel delivery that works with or without an IOSS number. Click here to find out how to ship into the EU completely hassle-free using our EU delivery service "Samos Connect"

So you've decided to read on and get the details - great. You may have heard that you need an IOSS number in order to efficiently continue sending your e-commerce shipments under €150 in value into the EU. This came in to effect on the 1st of July 2021. An online search about IOSS returning pages and pages of confusing and conflicting information full of jargon can give you that nervy feeling pretty quickly until of course, you found this.

Relax! - it can all seem very confusing at first, but rest assured we will guide you through what IOSS is all about and how to get yourself set up and ready. The idea of IOSS is that it simplifies the whole EU VAT payment process but like with any tax process it can initially seem intimidating. Remember! IOSS is not mandatory. You can still send in to the EU completely fuss-free, regardless of the shipment value and even without an IOSS number via our hybrid EU parcel delivery service. See point lucky 13 below or click here.

1. Why have the EU done this?

To prevent fraud, level up competition with retailers and generate a fairer VAT income for the EU. That's it in a nutshell.

2. Does it affect me?

Yes and no! If you're sending more modest volumes there are other solutions to deal with EU import charges like our hybrid EU parcel service "SAMOS Connect" - click here for more details. Have larger e-com sales directly into the EU? Then yes it does. If you sell on a marketplace, it is a bit different. If the checkout process takes place on your own website and shipped in to the EU, you use your own IOSS number. If the checkout process takes place on a marketplace and shipped in to the EU, you use the marketplace's IOSS number. An IOSS number is explained below in point 5.

3. Which shipments does it affect?

Pretty much everything you're sending into the EU B2C that is valued from €0 to €150. The "no VAT applied to shipments valued under €22" no longer exists.

4. What do I need to?

You will need to register for an IOSS number in one EU member country, not a VAT number in every EU country. You can't do this from the UK and you may have heard that you need an 'EU based intermediary' to register you for an IOSS number and administer it for you. See point 6 below.

5. What's an IOSS number?

It stands for ‘Import One Stop Shop’. It means that you can clear all your e-commerce parcels into the EU through your own unique IOSS number and pay VAT to all the countries you've sold to in one place at the reciever's country VAT rate.

6. Where do I get an IOSS number?

We can help you with getting an IOSS number. You may have heard that UK businesses need to use an 'EU based intermediary' to do fiddly IOSS work for you. We have specially selected EU intermediaries that we can put you in touch with who will charge you from just €40 a month. Our EU intermediaries can register you for your unique EU IOSS number so you'll be good to go. Contact us at info@samos-e.com if you'd like us to put you in touch with selected EU intermediaries. It will take all the pain away!

7. When do I need to charge EU VAT?

Ideally you need to capture the appropriate EU VAT due in the EU country where your buyer is residing during the checkout process (just like you do with UK VAT). Easiest way to do this is by applying the appropriate country VAT rate once you've captured your buyer’s delivery address and country. A handy list of EU VAT rates applied by all the EU countries can be found by clicking here. However you account for the EU VAT, at the very least you'll want to take the appropriate payments on your checkout that will cover the VAT that will be due in your monthly IOSS return, which your appointed EU Intermediary will do for you, and let you know how much you owe. Remember not to charge UK sales VAT at checkout!

8. How do I make sure that my IOSS number is used by EU customs?

When you export into the EU, you’ll need to include your new IOSS number on the clearance information you normally provide. Of course if you're using Samos Connect European Parcel Services (click here for more details), we will help you make sure that you’re completely compliant. Most of you will provide this export data to us electronically when the parcels are shipped.

9. What do I need to do with my IOSS number?

Firstly, contact us and help you get an intermediary appointed (see point 6 above)! The process the intermediary will follow is pretty much like doing an HMRC quarterly VAT return, except they'll be doing it on your new IOSS number on the website of the country it’s registered in. Once you’re all set up, they’ll know how much EU VAT you have to pay, based on your EU sales and the EU VAT you charged. Remember, you have already charged and banked the EU VAT that is due at checkout (see point 7 above). Just like you would account for HMRC UK sales VAT that you need to pay HMRC - save it ready to settle up with the EU via your intermediary, for the monthly return.

10. Why do I pay EU VAT in one country when my buyer was in another?

Your intermediary and the EU sort that bit out, so don’t worry too much. That’s why it is called Import One Stop Shop.

11. But the value of my EU e-com sale was over €150?

Continue to send these DDP or DDU. We can help with that too. Our hybrid EU parcel service means that the VAT and Duty due on shipments over €150 is reversed back to you. Your customer will not get any local VAT or handling fee demands, which has caused so many problems since Brexit. We do not surcharge for our hybrid service. Click here for more details.

12. How about getting VAT back on any returns?

Report them to your intermediary and they will just debit it from your next EU VAT return. You'll need proof that it originated and came back to the UK.

13. Do I have to register for IOSS number?

No. IOSS is not mandatory. You can still send DDP, DDU or why not try our well known hybrid EU parcel service click here for more details. If you are shipping low volume and the costs of setting up and maintaining IOSS seem excessive compared to the revenue you are generating, then you can keep sending DDU or DDP but there are big risks with both of these options - you may have already experienced the fall out! With DDP your parcel or mail carrier may surcharge you for reversing the VAT back to you. DDP surcharges can be huge and negatively affect your margins. With DDU, your parcel or mail carrier will request the VAT from your customer before delivery and they may also get a hefty local 'handling charge' too. This is a terrible customer experience best avoided. Shipping DDU has been a big issue since Brexit because increases the liklehood that your parcel will get refused and sent back.

14. Who is SAMOS e-commerce?

We are a parcel logistics company specialising in customer-focussed e-commerce parcel delivery solutions. We have become particularly well known for our hybrid EU parcel delivery solution that has enabled many e-com business get back on track and develop their EU markets.

It is our business to understand the new EU IOSS scheme in order to assist our existing and potentially new customers. We understand that the EU IOSS system can be difficult to understand, so we made a conscious decision to share our knowledge to any organisation that may need it without any obligation. IOSS is not mandatory. We can ship all your parcels in to the EU whether you are on the IOSS scheme or not. If not, you can use our hybrid EU parcel service. We do not surcharge over an about our published tariff rates. For more information about us click here.

It's so easy using Samos e-commerce. We have everything you need in one place - IOSS number help, Intermediary set up help, and of course we can deliver your parcels across the EU completely fuss-free. Our European parcel service 'Samos Connect' is a 2-5 day delivery time, with full track and trace, PUDO/home delivery options and POD at some of the best rates available, with no surcharges. Your customers are never asked fro VAT, duty or "local handling charges". Your parcels are simply cleared and delivered with or without and IOSS number. Don't believe us? - they trial us. After all the problems you've had, you'll be amazed how we do it! Click here to view our EU parcel tariff and start shipping with us today. These are the rates you pay. There are no surcharges. We’re also very approachable and would love to hear from you.

Is there anything that you’re still not sure of? Feel free to contact us here and we’ll try and help you out. If you have complex questions, there is also a tonne of more information here if you're feeling keen.

What Our Customers Say

‘’We are incredibly happy with the service provided by Samos and would recommend their EU shipment services to any businesses requiring a solution for EU logistics since Brexit. Deliveries are fast and our customers are happy. Samos take all the stress and hassle of the new (and confusing) requirements away and provide a comprehensive and fully rounded service for both us and our customers. It’s win-win solution. We were apprehensive about the future of shipping B2C into the EU after experiencing delays in transit and confusion around additional charges, until we joined Samos. They are incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and reliable, it really is joy to be working with them.’’ - Alie Mackintosh, CEO, AYM - www.aym-studio.com.

"We have been working with Samos since November 2021 to fulfil all our EU customer orders. Previously we had been using mail services, which meant a lot of hassle with customs and increased expenditure to the customer and us, and taking several weeks for parcel deliveries. We have trialled other courier companies, who’s services, pricing and customs issues have been appalling. 

Since using Samos our EU order deliver is running smooth and fast, without any issues. Customers also get delivery notifications, and can easily keep track of their parcels. Their online platform is very easy to use with minimal time spent to create shipping labels and customs paperwork. The prices are extremely competitive, and the customer services is the best we have experienced compared to any other delivery partner and couriers. This has been the best service provider we have worked with. I would highly recommend Samos!" - Daphne, Co-founder, TIC CC, tic-cc.com

The boring but necessary bit: Although we have imparted all this handy information to you and sincerely hope you find it all very useful, we're not tax advisors so we always recommend that you seek further tax advice from someone fully qualified to do so.

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