Amazon will not serve as the ultimate consignee on an overseas shipment, which can raise some problems for overseas companies.
In order to pay the required customs and duties when your goods arrive from overseas, you need to provide two contacts based in the country you’re shipping to:
- Importer of record - responsible for paying customs and duties, plus any liabilities related to the customs.
- Ultimate consignee - that’s essentially the official contact for the customs authority if there’s any problem.
Most US imports are done by US companies - it's simply the most straightforward way of importing goods because the CBPA (Customs Border and Protection Agency) will only approve shipments for companies that have an American Tax ID.
Many companies get concerned that they won't be able to import into the US if their business is not based in the US.
But have no fear - you can indeed import into the US - as long as you establish a Foreign Importer of Record.
To do so, you'll need a US address, a US tax ID number, and a Customs Assigned Number.
Your customs broker (or, if you've booked customs through Freightos, then our team) can help you get the Customs Assigned Number once you provide a Customs POA (Power of Attorney), an SS4 (Articles of Incorporation), and picture ID.
To get a US address and tax ID number, there are two methods:
1) You can register as a foreign importer of record through the IRS.
You can list yourself as the consignee on the shipment, but you’ll then have to give the freight forwarder an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
This can be obtained through the IRS in the following way:
- Call the IRS at 267-941-1099. This is not a toll-free number, and it’s available from 6 AM to 11 PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday.
- You’ll have to provide answers to approximately 8 questions - the call will take less than 20 minutes.
- At the end of the conversation, you’ll receive your free EIN number!
You can learn more on the IRS website.
2) Use third party providers to help you obtain the necessary credentials.
First, some forwarders will be able to register your company as a foreign importer for you to be able to pay taxes. If you need that service, select it on the additional services Freightos search page..
As for the ultimate consignee - there are a bunch of 3rd party Amazon service providers that offer those services, and Freightos is happy to recommend some reliable ones that our shippers have worked with. Let us know if this is a problem, and we’ll point you in the right direction!
And that's how you can import as an established Foreign Importer of Record!