ACP stands for, Attorney for Customs Procedure. In Japan, ACP has a role to act for import and export customs procedures on behalf of the non-resident Importer. Let us briefly highlight in which case and why the ACP is necessary for the Japanese trading system.
In principle, Japan Customs does not permit foreign entities to act as the Importer of Record.
However, even such a foreign entity can import as a non-resident importer, if the entity appoints an ACP who can handle the customs procedure on your behalf.
Let’s look at an example. Assuming that a foreign entity wants to ship the goods to an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Japan. Under the Amazon’s FBA program, the consumers are not yet decided at the timing of the import. Therefore, the foreign entity does not have a Japanese resident entity who can act as an importer. Also, Amazon, announces that they won’t become an importer. So, what should they do?
In this case, using ACP is a most straightforward solution. You can import by yourself if you appoint a Japanese resident entity as ACP. Amazon, also releases the guidance to international sellers :
“If you do not have a Japanese entity to act as the importer of record, it is mandatory that you appoint an Attorney for Customs Procedure (ACP). Overseas Sellers, as non-resident importers, can generally rely on a program called ACP to help bring their inventory into Japan. An ACP is a resident Japanese entity who registers with Japan Customs as your agent to help with entries and communications.” – Amazon’s guidance “Understand ACP and IOR guidance”.
YouTube – What is ACP? – Attorney for Customs Procedures
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
Reform in the Japanese Customs System (Mandatory Use of ACP; IOR services Prohibited)
Due to the increasing occurrence of cases where foreign entities attempt to import goods by falsely designating third parties such as forwarders or customs agents as importers, starting from October 1, 2023, a system reform has been implemented to address this issue. Foreign entities can no longer utilize a Japanese company as their IOR, or Importer of Record. As a result, sellers are now required to act as the IOR (Importer of Record) themselves and must use the ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedures) service, a mandatory stipulation.
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.
How does the Japanese New Invoice System affect? – Advantage of using ACP –
Recently, many companies register JCT (Japanese Consumption Tax) because the new invoice system for JCT will start in October 2023. The concept of the new invoice system is very similar to the EU’s VAT invoice system.
Your Japanese customer can’t claim input 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 the Invoice system is introduced (before Oct 2023):
- A company that paid consideration of goods or services (=Company-B) is able to deduct Input JCT of the consideration regardless of whether the vendor (issuer of invoice, =Company-A) is a JCT-taxable or Non JCT-taxable company.
- There is no way to confirm whether the vendor (=Company-A) is JCT-taxable or Non JCT-taxable company.
After the Invoice system is introduced (after Oct 2023):
- A company that paid consideration of goods or services (=Company-B) is able to deduct Input JCT of the consideration only if the vendor (Company-A) has its invoice registration number.
- Company-B requests Company-A to issue the qualified invoice. If Company-A cannot submit qualified invoice, Company-B will no longer want to buy from Company-A.
**If Company-A only sells to consumers (not business entities), it may not require for Company-A to issuethe qualified invoice since normally consumers would not tend to do tax return.
Once the Comapny-A (Seller/Supplier) obtains the JCT invoice registration number, which means this company becomes a taxable entity that is obligated to file JCT tax returns on a regular basis.
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.
<PAY TO CUSTOMS OFFICE>
(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, if you import with ACP, means that you became an IMPORTER thus you can deduct the input JCT (import consumption tax), when you do JCT tax return mentioned above (3). Therefore, you only need to pay the difference amount (2) – (1) to a tax office (mentioned above (3-1).
This is one of the significant advantages to use ACP service, not IOR service.
For this reason, we strongly recommend using ACP so that you can become IOR.