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Import One-Stop-Shop: Appointment of Intermediary

Our clients have asked us to clarify whether their chosen country of registration for the Import One-Stop-Shop (IOSS) requires the appointment of an intermediary.

The EU Explanatory Notes indicate that facilitating non-EU marketplaces and non-EU sellers of low-value consignment goods not exceeding €150 intrinsic value must appoint an Intermediary in the country of IOSS registration if there is no mutual assistance agreement between the Member State of IOSS registration and the seller’s country; whilst EU established businesses and market places using IOSS can appoint and intermediary in their state of establishment.

An intermediary’s responsibilities are similar to those of a fiscal representative:

  • The intermediary will submit IOSS returns and will be jointly and severally liable for the payment of VAT to the relevant tax authority;
  • The intermediary is not necessarily responsible for customs declarations.

It would seem reasonable that where fiscal representation is required and is already in place, the fiscal representative could also act as the intermediary; and where there is a mutual assistance agreement for tax between an EU member state and a third country, the need for appointing an intermediary is removed together with the requirement for fiscal representation.

Whilst the EU explanatory notes clarify that the use of the intermediary is not required where a mutual assistance agreement is in place, the approach among Member States may not be consistent.

For example, Ireland requires the appointment of an Intermediary for UK businesses, but usually, it does not require fiscal representation for non-EU established businesses.

In line with the EU Explanatory Notes, Italy allows either direct registration through the tax authorities’ portal or the appointment of an intermediary for EU established businesses, and the appointment of an intermediary for non-EU businesses established in a country without a mutual assistance agreement in place.

Member States requiring an intermediary are also given the discretion to set up internal rules such as the requirement to set up a guarantee for the intermediary.

Each member state will need to be monitored to assess its own requirements prior to IOSS registration. 

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