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

For Foreign Corporations Without a Base in Japan:

We are informing you about the two new systems that commences in October 2023. These systems are distinct and must be approached separately. However, there are aspects where they intersect and must be understood collectively. Here’s a detailed breakdown:


Switching from IOR Provider to ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedures)

The customs system is set to undergo a significant shift.

Starting October 2023, foreign corporations (non-residents) without a base in Japan will be mandated by Customs to act as importers themselves. Previously, it was allowed to use another company (such as an Importer of Record Representative (IOR)) acting the role of the importer.

For foreign corporations without a Japanese base to become importers, they must appoint an ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedures). Therefore, the ACP system becomes indispensable.


Why this System Change?

There have been instances where foreign corporations, along with importing agents unfamiliar with customs laws or lacking proper compliance awareness, have collaborated. Such collaborations often result in the failure to accurately pay the necessary duties and consumption taxes upon importation by utilizing undervalued invoices, almost simulating a sales transaction. To address this issue, Japan Customs now instructs foreign corporations to engage with ACP. Using ACP mandates that commercial distribution transaction details be presented to the customs office, ensuring the declaration of an appropriate import value.

Typically, the import declaration value is derived by subtracting certain domestic costs from the projected domestic sales price, in line with the Japanese Customs Tariff Law. However, we believe there’s no significant cause for concern regarding this value. Japan’s tariff rate is relatively low on an international scale, and the import consumption tax is primarily a “tax borne by the end consumer”. Though a 10% consumption tax is required at the point of import, it can be recouped from customers during sales. If a tax return is accurately filed, any overpayments will be refunded.

Moreover, to claim credits for the consumption tax on purchases (paid upon importation), the seller—a foreign corporation—must assume the role of an importer. Alongside appointing an ACP, foreign entities should also designate a tax accountant to act as a tax agent. This ensures the accurate filing of consumption tax returns with the tax office.

As seasoned ACP professionals, we lead consultations with Japan Customs proactively to guarantee seamless import customs clearance and oversee the determination of import declaration values, among other critical aspects. Our expertise extends to countless import/export projects, and we pride ourselves on a flawless record of customs clearance.


Related Readings:



Qualified Invoice System (QIS) for Japan Consumption Tax (JCT)

The forthcoming alteration pertains to the national tax system.

The advent of the consumption tax invoice system means a surge in overseas companies becoming consumption tax invoice issuers. For Japanese customer (buyer) during a consumption tax return filing must emanate from a registered invoice issuing entity, otherwise the Japanese customer can not claim the purchase tax credit on the consumption tax paid to a seller. 

Should an overseas company opt to become an invoice issuing entity, it is automatically becoming as a taxable entity for consumption tax. This necessitates the submission of a periodical consumption tax return with the tax authorities. Therefore, companies are urged to carefully consider whether they cater to B2C consumers (typically not filing consumption tax returns) or B2B entities (usually filing such returns), before deciding on registration.



For the case of a non-resident entity (Company-A), when Company-A imports and sells to customers in Japan, following 3 steps are the standard procedure.

(1) Pay import JCT to a customs office, 10% of the import customs value when Company-A imports.
(2) Obtain JCT from a customer in Japan, 10% of the sales price when Company-A sells
(3) Submit JCT tax return
   (3-1) If you paid (1) as IOR = Importer, which means you appoint ACP, then you’re required to pay only the difference amount (2) – (1)
   (3-2) If you paid (1) but you were not IOR = Importer, then you’re required to pay all the amount of (2). You can’t deduct (1).


Please be careful that only the IMPORTER can deduct the input JCT (import consumption tax) at the time of tax filing mentioned above (3). In other words, if another IOR service provider became the IMPORTER when you import, basically it would not be possible for the non-resident entity to deduct the input JCT (import consumption tax). Therefore, you have to pay all the amount of (2) to a tax office (mentioned above (3-2).

On the other hand, by importing with ACP and becoming the IMPORTER, you can deduct the input JCT (import consumption tax) when filing JCT tax returns as mentioned above (3). Therefore, you would only need to pay the difference amount (2) – (1) to a tax office (as mentioned above (3-1).

This is one of the significant advantages of using the ACP service instead of the IOR service.

For this reason, we strongly recommend using ACP so that you can become IOR.


Related Readings:



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

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.
  • Documents keeping, required under article 95 – Japan Customs Law

How we proceed the works

Step.1) Please send us information through the contact form, regarding:

  • The website (URL link) or catalogue of the exact goods planning to import to Japan.
  • Approximate volume, varieties, and shipping frequency of the goods to import to Japan.

Step.2) ACP Japan to submit quotation and scope of works, for a specific client.

Step.3) Once the client agrees with the quotation, we’ll proceed signing of a service agreement between us.

Step.4) Then, we’ll start preparation of documentation regarding ACP application. The documents we need to prepare are, for instance, power of attorney, a certificate of company registry, and the calculation formula of the customs valuation. Do not worry, SK Advisory leads all the preparation works.

Step.5) Once set of documentations prepared, we will start communication with Japan Customs Office to obtain an approval of ACP.

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.

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.
  • 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. For a detailed list of our clientele, please visit our “Experiences” section. Our unwavering commitment ensures all our clients successfully acquire Japan IOR status and import goods seamlessly into Japan.
  • Recognized ACP Service Provider on Amazon SPN 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.



[Our Service]

Our ACP Service


[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


ACP’s Limitation

ACP’s Qualification

ACP’s registration


[Recent Updates]

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

IOR Service