IOSS identifier in VAT payments and customs clearance
The IOSS (Import One-Stop-Shop) is a special system for paying the VAT on online purchases valued at no more than 150 euros (transports costs excluded from the value). When your purchase with a value not exceeding 150 euros arrives from outside the EU and the seller is registered for the IOSS, you can pay the Finnish VAT to the online store when you make the purchase.
Contact the online store to find out whether it has an IOSS number and whether it has charged the Finnish VAT from you in connection with your purchase. This is mentioned e.g. in the online store’s terms of delivery. You can also check the purchase invoice or order confirmation.
Customs doesn’t have a database on online stores registered for IOSS.
- Note that certain web stores charge VAT also for the selling country in connection with purchases. This is indicated in the order confirmation or the invoice. This is not connected with the IOSS system which involves Finnish VAT. If you are required to VAT to the selling country for your purchase, you will then usually pay Finnish VAT for the entire amount (price of the purchase, VAT to the selling country, and transport costs).
If the seller does not have an IOSS number, you will not be able to pay the Finnish VAT when you purchase the goods. In such a case, the transport company will notify you about the need to declare your parcel, and you must personally see to both customs clearance and the payment of VAT to Finland. As regards the customs declaration, you can ask Posti or the transport company to submit it on your behalf or submit it yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons.
- Already prior to the introduction of the IOSS system, certain web stores have included Finnish VAT in the price of goods. However, some of these web stores are not included in the IOSS system, and therefore do not have IOSS identifiers.
The invoice from such a web store may, for example, have the abbreviation “DDP” or the text “Delivered duty paid” written on it. Ask the web store if your order is delivered by a transport company that does the declaration in Finland on your behalf and pays the Finnish VAT. If this is the case, you will receive the parcel directly to your home address or to a pick-up point.
When and for what do I need the IOSS number?
As a rule, you don’t need to know the IOSS number of the online store. The online store usually provides the IOSS number and other information needed for the declaration directly to the transport company that delivers your purchase, and the transport company declares the consignment for you.
Even if you have already paid the Finnish VAT at the point of purchase, you may still have to declare the consignment, if the sender (consignor) has not submitted all details to Posti for declaring the consignment. In that case, Posti will send you a request to declare the consignment. You do not have to provide the missing details to Customs or Posti. Instead, you will just have to declare the consignment yourself according to Posti’s instructions.
When our Import Declaration Service has received information of the payment of the Finnish VAT
Log in to the Import Declaration Service for private persons. If, on page 2 “Consignment details” of the service, you see the notification “The VAT has been charged at the point of purchase, but you must still declare the consignment”, the service has received information of the payment of the VAT. Continue filling in the declaration and enter the rest of the required details.
When our Import Declaration Service has not received information of the payment of the Finnish VAT
In some situations, our Import Declaration Service has not received information of the payment of the Finnish VAT. If you have the seller’s IOSS number, you do not need to pay the Finnish VAT again.
- Log in to the Import Declaration Service for private persons.
- When the service asks the price of your consignment, check the invoice you have received. If the Finnish VAT is itemised on the invoice, enter the price without the Finnish VAT. If the Finnish VAT is not itemised on the invoice, enter the total sum of the invoice or ask the seller for a new invoice on which the Finnish VAT is itemised.
- On page 2, “Consignment details”, you are asked: “Did you buy the goods from an IOSS seller, i.e. did you pay Finnish VAT already when you purchased the goods?”
- Only choose “Yes”’ if you paid the Finnish VAT at the point of purchase and you have the seller’s IOSS number.
- Provide the IOSS number, which has the format IM1234567890. You can find it, for example, in the order confirmation or on the invoice sent by the seller of the goods or you can directly ask the seller for it.
- Finish the declaration.
You can declare a parcel even if you do not have the IOSS number
If you receive a request from Posti to declare your IOSS purchase, you can declare the parcel even if you do not have the seller’s IOSS number. In that case, answer “No” to the question “Did you buy the goods from an IOSS seller, i.e. did you pay Finnish VAT already when you purchased the goods?”
If you do not have the IOSS number or the service does not accept the IOSS number you have provided, you will have to pay the VAT again. You can ask the online store to repay you the VAT you have paid. Customs does not repay the VAT for IOSS purchases.
You can ask for an IOSS identifier from the web store. You will also find out the identifier from the order confirmation or the invoice. Note that the IOSS identifier is not the same as the VAT ID. You cannot obtain a web store IOSS identifier from Customs or the Tax Administration.
You have paid VAT to the IOSS seller already at the time of your purchase, but you cannot get an IOSS identifier from the web store or the service does not accept the identifier you provide. This means that you have to pay VAT again in connection with customs clearance, and contact the seller for a refund of the tax. Enter the price that does not include the Finnish VAT as the value of your consignment. The VAT is repaid by the web store, not by Customs. (Finnish Value Added Tax Act, section 94(1)(24), Finlex, in Finnish.)
Proceed as follows:
- Log in to the Import Declaration Service for private persons. On page 2 under consignment details, you are asked if you bought the goods from an IOSS seller, i.e. if you paid Finnish VAT already when you purchased the goods.
- Reply “No”.
- You should then pay the VAT again in connection with customs clearance.
- You can apply for a refund of the VAT from the web store after the customs clearance. Send the customs clearance decision to the web store. The customs clearance decision is stored in the Service for 90 days under My declarations.
Restrictions related to IOSS consignments
Please note that IOSS consignments are subject to the following restrictions:
- The recipient of the purchase must be a private individual or other operator not registered for VAT.
- Excise products, such as alcohol products, cannot be sold or declared as IOSS purchases. This means that taxes for alcohol products purchased from outside the EU are always paid to Finland when the products are declared.
- If you are declaring restricted goods (such as certain firearm parts that do not, however, require an import licence), contact the Customs Information Service for guidance on how to declare these. Alternatively, you can pay Posti or some other transport company to declare the goods for you. You cannot declare these goods as IOSS purchases in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, because in the service, you would have to pay the VAT again in conjunction with the declaration.
Information on the European Commission website:
Information on the Finlex website (in Finnish):
- 387/2021 Laki arvonlisäverolain muuttamisesta
- 388/2021 Laki Ahvenanmaan maakuntaa koskevista poikkeuksista arvonlisävero- ja valmisteverolainsäädäntöön annetun lain muuttamisesta
- 389/2021 Laki oma-aloitteisten verojen verotusmenettelystä annetun lain 15 §:n muuttamisesta