IOR stands for, Importer of Record. That is the same as the meaning of an importer. When you export goods to Japan, for import, there must be an Importer of Record (IOR) in place. The importer has responsible to pay the consumption tax, customs duties at the time of import. Also, the importer should take responsibility for the compliance issues regarding Japanese laws and regulations for imported goods.
Let’s look at the case who will become IOR in the non-resident import. When a non-resident entity wants to ship their goods to Japan, there are mostly two ways to import the goods into Japan. The first way is to use a Japanese resident IOR service provider who can become the IOR. In this case, the non-resident entity will be a shipper, and the IOR service provider will be an importer.
The second way is to use a Japanese resident ACP service provider who can act as ACP – Attorney for Customs Procedure. Normally, Japan Customs does not permit a non-resident entity to become an IOR. But, if the non-resident entity appoints an ACP, then the non-resident can become IOR him/herself. In this case, the non-resident entity will be both shipper and importer.
The non-resident entity can select one of these two options, using IOR service provider, or ACP service provider. If you would like to know more about what the merits and demerits are of using the ACP or IOR, please contact us by the link provided in the following summary section.
YouTube – What is IOR? – Importer of Record
Is IOR the same as Consignee?
It’s not the same, but you can be both IOR (Importer) and Consignee when you import into Japan. IOR is the entity to import and owe the liability for tax payment, whereas the consignee means the entity who has the ownership of the imported goods at the time of the import.
If you use ACP (Attorney for Customs Procedure), you can be IOR and Consignee if you own the goods.
Guidance by Amazon
According to the seller central website in Amazon, there is a guidance by Amazon that non-resident entity needs to appoint an ACP or IOR. You may check on this link:
A Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) seller who lives outside of Japan (non-residents) and would like to import goods into an Amazon Japan fulfillment center for storage and order fulfillment must first designate an Import of Record (IOR) and /or Attorney for Customs Procedure (ACP). This must be accomplished in advance of any importations. In general, any person who is a resident of Japan can be appointed as an IOR and/or ACP. Neither Amazon nor any of its entities in Japan may act as the IOR/ACP on the customs declaration, only the FBA seller or their designated IOR/ACP. Amazon, Seller Central, Japan Tax and Regulatory Considerations
Also, you can check the document developed by Amazon “Understand ACP and IOR guidance”.
Understand ACP and IOR
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. Please note ACP does not fully take over the whole responsibility of an importer. You must ensure that your goods comply with the local laws and regulations as a part of your responsibility. Amazon, Understand ACP and IOR guidance