ACP Import under VMI – Vendor Managed Inventory

We have been receiving an increasing number of requests from new customers (parts/materials manufacturers outside Japan) in the automotive and machinery parts industries.

The background of the increase in needs is that the Japanese end-customer, a manufacturer of finished goods, has requested to switch to VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory), which means that the inventory management is done by the vendor (supplier) side.

Before using the VMI scheme, when trading between an overseas parts/materials manufacturer (seller) and a Japanese finished goods manufacturer (buyer), the buyer would act as the importer and import the goods, and the buyer would manage the goods as its own inventory.

After switching to the VMI scheme, the parts/materials manufacturer (seller) outside Japan imports the goods themselves, manage the inventory near the customer in Japan, and deliver the goods to the buyer’s factory just in time (JIT) when the finished goods manufacturer (buyer) wants the goods.

In this way, the buyer avoids the cumbersome of managing inventory but still can have the seller deliver the required quantity at the required time. Furthermore, since the buyer is not the importer, it is relieved of various responsibilities required of importers (for example, it is no longer necessary to keep import-related documents and books, or to respond to customs post-clearance audits as required by law).

On the other hand, the foreign parts/materials manufacturer (seller) has to use an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) for the seller to act as the importer. In addition, as a response to national taxation, since sales in Japan (taxable sales under the Consumption Tax Law) will occur, it is necessary to appoint a Tax Representative (of JCT – Japan Consumption Tax) to register as a taxable business operator for consumption tax and to perform periodic tax filing duties.

Considering the invoice system for consumption tax, the use of a tax representative is also essential for B2B transactions, as the seller must become a registered business in order to be able to deduct purchases when filing consumption tax returns on the buyer’s side.

 

 

Switching to the VMI method (example)

Before introducing of VMI program

Foreign parts/materials manufacturer (seller)   → Sales →    Japanese finished goods manufacturer (buyer)

  • Inventory control on the Japanese side: Buyer
  • Importer: Buyer
  • Seller’s sales subject to consumption tax in Japan: No

 

After introducing of VMI program

Foreign parts/materials manufacturer (Seller)   → Sales →   Japanese finished goods manufacturer (Buyer)

  • Inventory control in Japan: Seller
  • Importer: Seller   ACP – Attorney for Customs Procedure is required (for Customs purpose)
  • Sales subject to consumption tax in Japan on the seller’s side: Yes    JCT Tax Representative is required (for National Taxation purpose)

 

Please Be Careful

In cases where foreign corporations (non-residents) without an office in Japan import goods, failure to properly prepare an Importer of Record (IOR) through an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) or similar means can result in goods being held at customs, leading to significant delays and costs. To avoid such risks, please make thorough preparations.

If an ACP is needed, it is crucial to utilize the services of an experienced ACP well-versed in customs-related laws and regulations. The import and export operations of non-residents/foreign corporations using an ACP are treated as unique cases. Many customs brokers are not familiar with these procedures, leading to incidents where goods are detained for extended periods due to unsuccessful explanations to customs. (Customs will not permit the import if the explanations provided by the importer or customs broker are unsatisfactory, resulting in the goods being detained until customs is convinced.)

We highly recommend utilizing our services as professional experts in customs, knowledgeable about customs-related laws and regulations. With a proven track record of resolving numerous issues through direct consultations with customs officers and customs brokers, our clients supported as an ACP now exceed 100 companies. We are committed to delivering industry-leading results with our expertise.

 

Our ACP Service: The Best Solution for the Japan Importer of Record (IOR) and Exporter of Record (EOR)

Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) is the best solution for addressing the issue of Japan IOR – Importer of Record. Below is an outline of our primary services and a diagram illustrating the operational structure of the ACP service. Upon successful ACP registration, a foreign entity can become the Japan IOR – Importer of Record.

Basic Scope of Services:

  • Consultation with the Japan Customs Office for successful ACP registration. 
  • Liaising with stakeholders, including Logistics Forwarding Companies and the Customs Offices, on behalf of non-resident clients (i.e., non-resident Japan IOR) to ensure the secure importation of goods.
  • Assistance in preparing the necessary documentation for import clearance.
  • Support of calculation of Customs Value (Customs Valuation Formula), in accordance with appropriate compliance under the Japan Tariff Customs Law.
  • Security Export Control (Classification for List Control, Examination for Catch-All Control, Application of the license to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
  • Documents keeping, required under article 95 – Japan Customs Law
  • Providing professional trade/customs advice if any issues arise.

**Both import and export activities can benefit from the use of an ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedures). This support is applicable in scenarios where a non-resident acts as the Importer of Record (IOR) for imports and as the Exporter of Record (EOR) for exports.

 

Three Steps to Initiate Shipments Under the ACP Program: :

  1. Quotation Review to Contract Conclusion: Upon receiving your contact details, we will promptly provide a quotation for your review.
  2. Commencing the Registration of ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedure) to Japan Customs: This process is generally completed in about two weeks.
  3. Initiation of First Shipment, Import/Export

 

 

 

Japanese Customs System Reform: Clarification of Importer Definitions

Starting October 1, 2023, Japanese Customs has instituted a pivotal reform aimed at addressing the issue of foreign sellers improperly designating third parties (such as forwarders or customs agents) as importers.

This revision necessitates foreign corporations to utilize an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) to assume the role of Importer of Record (IOR) directly in many cases. The practice of merely nominally appointing another entity as the importer is no longer feasible.

Notably, foreign corporations that act as importers themselves, through the engagement of ACP, are eligible for Japan Consumption Tax (JCT) benefits. (link: Consumption Tax Treatment and Benefits of Using ACP).

As a dedicated ACP firm, we ensure compliance with the law to facilitate correct import procedures, allowing you to trust us with your importation requirements confidently. We are eager to engage in further discussions with you.

 

Revisions Effective October 1, 2023:

Definition of the Importer

  • Regarding a cargo imported under import transaction, an importer is equivalent to “a person who imports a cargo” defined in Article 6-1 (1), General Notification of the Customs Act.    ….. This means, the Consignee, etc., in the case of imports conducted through normal transactions between an overseas seller and a Japanese buyer
  • In the cases other than above, an importer is a person who has a right to disposition of the import cargo at the time of import declaration. If there is another person who acts on the purpose of the import*, that person is also included :

     In case of a cargo imported:
     – under lease contracts, a person who rents and uses the cargo.
     – for consignment sales, a person who sells the cargo in the name of himself/herself (consignee) by accepting the commission.
     – for processing or repairing, a person who processes or repairs the cargo.
     – for disposal, a person who disposes the cargo.

 

For additional information, please refer to the following resources:

 

Our Customers – Japan IOR / Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) Service

All our clients have successfully become Japan Importer of Record (IOR) and imported goods into Japan under our guidance.

Logistics Companies with Collaboration Experience

Here is a list of our partner logistics and forwarding companies with whom we have had successful collaborations. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, as we are open to working with any logistics or forwarding companies. As Attorneys for Customs Procedures (ACP), we represent non-resident clients (IOR) and coordinate with these logistics companies, who manage the transportation of goods to and from Japan.

 

 

 

 

Why choose us?

  • Customs and International Trade Professionals – Our CEO, Mr. Sawada, is a Certified Customs Specialist in Japan. With years of experience providing services in the Trade & Customs field, his leadership at KPMG and the establishment of his own company, SK Advisory, ensures our commitment to excellence and high-quality service.
  • Full Adherence to Japanese Customs Law – Our top priority is to maintain full compliance with Japanese Customs Law and safely import / export our clients’ goods into / from Japan. We meticulously manage all import compliance aspects, including Japan Importer of Record (IOR) matter, HS code classification and the correct Customs Valuation of goods entering Japan. We support to complete all the necessary shipping documents, such as Invoice, Packing List and BL, on behald of non-resident / foreign Japan IOR.
  • Communication in English, Chinese, and Japanese – Our team, with extensive international experience, excels in communication in English, including facilitating English-language meetings, and has earned considerable trust from clients. We also have staff capable of communicating in Chinese, making us equipped to handle Chinese-language support as well. Naturally, as a Japan-based team, we’re totally fluent in Japanese, ensuring seamless communication across these three key languages.
  • Reputable and Reliable Partner -The growing demand for our Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) services is testament to our quality. We proudly serve clients globally, registering over 50 ACP customers annually. Our consistent track record underscores our reliability and credibility. Our unwavering commitment ensures all our clients successfully acquire Japan IOR status and import goods seamlessly into Japan.
  • Handling Regulated Products – Our ACP/IOR partnership system can manage regulated items, including cosmetics, PSE-products, foodstuffs, and tableware.
  • Recognized ACP Service Provider on Amazon SPN (Service Provider Network) – We are a certified ACP service provider within Amazon’s Service Provider Network (SPN), listed under the Trade Compliance category. Many international Amazon Sellers have successfully become Japan Importers of Record (IOR) through our ACP services.

     

 

 

 

 

FAQ for ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedures)

What is the role of ACP (ACP Japan)?

  • Representation: ACP (ACP Japan) represents the foreign importer and liaises with Japan Customs and the Forwarding Company/Customs Broker.
  • Documentation and Compliance: ACP assists in preparing essential import documents (e.g., Invoices) in compliance with Japan Customs Law and formally requests the Customs Broker to proceed with customs clearance.
  • Expert Consultation and Troubleshooting: We are a team of legal experts in Customs Laws, providing direct consultations with Japan Customs to ensure compliance and address issues, including troubleshooting unique challenges in non-resident imports.

 

How long time does it require to get ACP’s registration?

It will take approximately 2 weeks until getting an approval from Japan Customs Office.
The breakdown of the task is as follows.

  • Prepare the necessary documentation between us
  • Start pre-consultation with Japan Customs Office and proceed initial review
  • Submit paper-based set of application documents to Japan Customs Office for final review

 

What kind of documents to be necessary for ACP application?

Not limited, but for instance – Power of Attorney, Company Registry, The calculation method of Customs Valuation, Catalog of the import goods, business/logistic flow

 

ACP can handle all kinds of goods?

Whereas many ACP service providers do not handle regulated items, our company’s competitive advantage stems from our ability to manage such products. We can support regulated items, including cosmetics, PSE-regulated products, foodstuffs, and tableware.

 

Which regions in Japan are we covering?

Any region in Japan, we can handle.

 

What is difference between ACP and IOR?

ACP is not the Importer. ACP enables non-resident entities to become IOR (Importer of Record).

 

 

Japan Qualified Invoice System and Compliance JCT (Japan Consumption Tax)

Recently, many companies have been registering as Qualified Invoice Issuers for Japanese Consumption Tax (JCT) due to the new invoice system introduced in October 2023. This new system is similar to the EU’s VAT invoice system.

After October 2023, your Japanese customer can’t claim input JCT tax credits unless the sellers(suppliers) issue a qualified invoice that is written a JCT number. To issue a qualified invoice, sellers(suppliers) need to be a taxable entity and get a JCT number.

Before October 2023:

Any customer (Company-B) who paid for goods or services could deduct input JCT regardless of whether the seller (Company-A) was registered for JCT. There was no requirement to verify the tax status of the seller.

After October 2023:

Any customer (Company-B) can only deduct input JCT if Company-A, the seller, is registered and can provide a qualified invoice with a JCT registration number. If Company-A cannot issue such an invoice, Company-B may choose not to continue purchases from them.

If Company-A sells only to consumers and not businesses, it may not need to issue qualified invoices since consumers typically do not claim JCT tax returns.

Once Company-A obtains a JCT invoice registration number, it becomes a taxable entity required to file JCT returns regularly.

For non-resident entities (Company-A) importing and selling in Japan, the standard procedure involves three steps:

  1. Pay import JCT to customs: 10% of the import customs value.
  2. Collect JCT from customers in Japan: 10% of the sales price.
  3. File a JCT tax return and pay the net JCT to the tax office.

If Company-A paid the import JCT as the importer using an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP), they need only pay the net amount of sales JCT minus import JCT.

If Company-A paid the import JCT but was not the importer, they must pay all the collected sales JCT without deducting the import JCT.

Therefore, using an ACP to act as the Importer of Record (IOR) is crucial for managing JCT deductions and refunds. If another company acts as the IOR, you cannot deduct the import JCT, resulting in significant costs.

We strongly recommend using our ACP services to ensure you can act as IOR, optimizing your JCT handling. Our team has extensive experience helping clients become importers and successfully manage their JCT responsibilities. You can rely on our expertise to navigate these complexities.

 

 

 

Contact us

—–

[Our Service]

Our ACP Service for Importer of Record (IOR)

Our ACP Service for Exporter of Record (EOR)

 

[Knowledge Pages]

What is ACP? – Attorney for Customs Procedures

Steps of using ACP, how foreign entity can import into Japan by ACP

What is IOR? – Importer of Record

Amazon won’t become an IOR

Customs Valuation System in Japan

Customs Valuation When You Import By ACP

Consumption Tax in Japan

IOR and ACP

IOR Service

ACP’s Limitation on Handling by ACP in Japan – Our System Enables Us to Handle Regulated Items

ACP’s Qualification

ACP’s registration

 

[Recent Updates]

Urgent Compliance Alert for E-Commerce Sellers: Avoid Penalties with Japan’s New Import Regulations – Act Now!

October 2023: Introduction of Two New Systems in Japan – (1) Switching from IOR Provider to ACP & (2) QIS: Japan Consumption Tax’s Qualified Invoice System

ACP Japan Became Amazon’s SPN Provider as Qualified ACP Service Provider

Taxes on Imports: Customs Duty and Japan Consumption Tax (JCT)

Import Permit Document and Alert on IOR Service

New Japan Qualified Invoice System and import JCT (Japan Consumption Tax)

 

 

 

Japan ACP – Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) professional company, supporting non-resident companies to become Japan IOR – Importer of Record

PAGE TOP