National Tax Agency Update – Third-Party Entities Merely Acting As Customs Brokers or Importers Cannot Act as Importers of Record or Deduct Import Consumption Tax

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by ACP JAPAN

The National Tax Agency has updated its guidelines following the customs system revision in October 2023.

As highlighted earlier (link – JP Customs Reform – Clarification of Importer Definitions, Introduction of Two New Systems in Japan), the new rules impose stricter criteria for entities qualifying as importers. Third-party entities merely acting as customs brokers or on behalf of another company can no longer be recognized as the importer of record. Consequently, these entities are also ineligible to claim the Import Japan Consumption Tax (Import JCT) deduction, which is reserved for the actual importer.

The National Tax Agency advises that foreign entities should use an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) to serve as the importer of record and to claim the consumption tax refund/deduction for imports. Therefore, both National Tax Agency and Japan Customs recommend using Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP) for non-resident entities to act as Importer of Record (IOR).

Our company specializes in ACP services, supporting numerous foreign corporations. Please contact us for assistance.



Handling Import Consumption Tax Deduction When Entrusted by Foreign Entities (National Tax Agency Website)

Inquiry to National Tax Agency:

We, a customs broker, have been entrusted by “Company A,” a foreign entity, to handle customs arrangements for products they plan to sell to customers in Japan. We will also manage the transportation of these products to a domestic warehouse.

After transporting the goods to the domestic warehouse, “Company A” remains the seller, not our company. However, our company will temporarily bear the import consumption tax for withdrawing the products from the bonded area and will later receive reimbursement from “Company A.”

In this case, should the import consumption tax deduction be claimed by our company, the customs broker, or by “Company A,” the taxpayer?


Response from National Tax Agency:

“Company A,” the foreign entity, should claim the import consumption tax deduction in their consumption tax return (JCT tax return).


The consumption tax deduction applies to taxable purchases made domestically and to taxable cargo withdrawn from bonded areas. According to Article 30 of the Consumption Tax Act, the entity eligible for the consumption tax deduction is the one who withdraws the taxable cargo, i.e., the entity that made the import declaration.

If there is no buy/sell transaction for the import, the import declaration must be made by the entity with the authority to dispose of the imported goods after withdrawal from the bonded area. Since your company is only handling customs arrangements and transportation to a domestic warehouse, it does not have the authority to dispose of the goods post-withdrawal, thus not qualifying as the importer of record.

Therefore, if “Company A” is a taxable business entity, the import consumption tax deduction should be claimed by “Company A,” the entity with the authority to dispose of the goods, and not by your company as the customs broker.

Note: For “Company A” (a foreign entity) to make the import declaration, it must appoint an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP).


NTA – Handling of Consumption Tax Deduction When Entrusted with Customs Arrangements by Foreign Entities