Global expansion, localizing content, and selling in multiple currencies and languages
I'm not sure how to put in a features request - please can someone tell me if this way doesn't work.
I have been looking into how as a small business I can improve the experience for my EU customers of purchasing from myself, post Brexit as a UK business.
Royal Mail have recommended a company called Taxamo assure which acts as a IOSS. They calculate and charge the customer VAT and pay it to the EU on our behalf without us having to fill in the VAT return. They charge £2 for each transaction. It sounds like the perfect solution but unless you are a shopify plus business one cannot get access to the Shopify checkout and do the API integration. The irony is if you are a shopify plus customer you will be big enough and it will be more cost effective to set up your own IOSS.
I have spoken to support about this who have suggested that I put in a feature request. So here it is. If more people can also express an interest in this feature it may have more chance of being implemented and go somewhere to ease the Brexit headache of doing business with the EU.
Solved! Go to the solution
This is an accepted solution.
I understand that you don't have Registration Based Taxes setup on your store at this time. If you are selling to the UK/EU this will be an important step for you to complete. Depending on your tax setup you had on your store when we rolled this feature out, you may not have been automatically opted in for it. If that is the case you will want to contact our live support and let them know that you need to enable "Registration Based Taxes" on your store. From there, they can reach out to the appropriate support teams internally to get that feature enabled (Feel free to share this forum post for context). You can also see more information on this here: Manage Your UK Taxes.
To contact our live support please follow this link: Shopify Help Center - Contact Support, sign into your store account, search for your issue and use the contact support button at the bottom of the search results to see all our live support options.
As @Savvy_Paul shared in their screenshots, registration based taxes allows you to provide your tax registration ID for the appropriate countries/states/provinces you sell to and uses our automated tax system to check the appropriate tax and apply it at the checkout. After July 1st, this will be updated to include your OSS/IOSS registration information to capture taxes on orders that meet the specific threshold requirements put in place by Brexit.
In regards to the integration of an external services to work as your intermediary for businesses using the IOSS model, I want to reiterate that your feedback here is being shared with the appropriate teams.
I know that while IOSS registration is not mandatory, the simplification of the checkout experience it provides is definitely the ideal option for businesses with a lot of sales to the UK/EU. At this time, because IOSS is not a legal requirement Shopify does not provide a built in integration for an IOSS intermediary.
Based on the information that has been shared in this thread, Taxamo does offer an integration solution but that is restricted to our PLUS store plans as it requires access to the checkout API. If there are other options available for this integration, the ability to offer it is entirely in Taxamo's, or any external providers, hands to create. They have full access to our API documentation and can develop and list their app in our app store. If they require any support from our developers, that is something handled by a team outside of my own and I am not able to provide additional insight into that process on the back end. Shopify does not control the integration of third party apps and services and if you would like to have features provided by a third party company (Like Taxamo), you will need to contact them directly to ask them to create a suitable app integration.
I am going to mark this response as the "Solution" to make it easier for other merchants to see the information shared here. Please feel free to continue sharing your feedback and I will answer any questions I am able to.
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Just a quick FYI - I had the date format wrong. I'm sure you will spot this when you upload but the format needs to be yyyy-mm-dd
Hi @LauraECY ,
Yes thank you. After a bit of fiddling it is finally uploaded successfully. Thank you for your help! If you didn't send that screenshot I would still be completely lost. You're a star!
Is the IOSS symbol generated automatically if we enter our IOSS number on click and drop? Sorry, I may have missed this info earlier in the thread.
Yes if you enter your IOSS number into your Click and Drop account under the setting section called 'Trading Names' it should automatically print an IOSS symbol on your postage labels. I would recommend checking each label to confirm as some people on here have mentioned it not showing up on some occasions.
Has anyone run into trouble with 0,00 EUR transactions? We ship ~5-10 replacement units a day at no cost to the customer and since pre July 1 they were under the 22 EUR threshold they just went DDU. A twist in IOSS is that it's not just collecting VAT, it's collecting duty (HTS) as well so even a 0 EUR item still has underlying "value" that could be dutiable. What's happening is that neither Taxamo nor CBIT (we use both... long story) can process IOSS for a 0 EUR transaction so the orders ship DDU and some customers are getting charged really high amounts and getting justifiably annoyed (remember this was already a customer with a problem!) What are we supposed to do in this scenario?
@Candi_Q Sure, that's OK for one's and twos but it's probably not compliant- it's not actually a sample after all. Fact is, our 3PL tells us that no one is really sure what is (or is not) compliant so maybe I'll just go ahead and do it. What a mess
If we were to build a plugin that integrates Taxamo with your Shopify store, whereby you're able to just input your Taxamo details and have it automatically integrate with the Taxamo system would this be of interest to anyone?
We'd probably have to charge $5 / month or something similar to cover our development costs - separate to the costs form Taxamo. Would this be of interest to anyone?
Yes, definitely! ASAP please!!
YES!!!! That would be amazing...
We'll be interested in this solution to use our already registered Taxamo service.
Good luck with that. Taxamo has *extremely* strict requirements and won't use Shopify/Avalara data for tax calculation *or* display. Also, as currently built, it doesn't work at all with discounts (although that's coming). I've been deep deep down this development rabbit hole. Happy to chat if you'd like (PM me) but don't get it in your head that you are just going to pull Shopify/Avalara tax data (which is easy and what CBIT does). It's a non-starter for Taxamo for compliance/liability reasons (their legal interpretation of compliance differs greatly from CBIT's- I'm not going to opine on that but Taxamo is very firm on it).
That’s because Taxamo are a ‘deemed supplier’ like EBay or Etsy rather than an Intermediary. If the VAT collected isn’t right, only Taxamo are liable. Do they have a method of recouping under-collected VAT from their sellers?
Speaking of incorrect VAT amounts, I got a reply from the Swedish Tax agency. They confirmed the VAT must be collected on goods and shipping for IOSS consignments, as expected. Crossborderit are registered through Sweden, so I guess we're getting different advice. Weird huh.
"That’s because Taxamo are a ‘deemed supplier’ like EBay or Etsy rather than an Intermediary. If the VAT collected isn’t right, only Taxamo are liable. Do they have a method of recouping under-collected VAT from their sellers?"
Ohhh that's super interesting and makes a lot of sense. Taxamo only collects and remits VAT based on *their* calculation of the liability but that calculation is based on store entered HTS information in the product config... so, yes, a store could deliberately enter advantageous HTS codes and leave Taxamo liable- but their vendor agreement is pretty substantial so I'm sure that they have the ability to charge the credit card on file or otherwise go after the store for a liability. On the shipping- I haven't run into that but nor do I charge shipping (so there is nothing to tax).
CBIT seems like it has a bunch of internal risk- it's fully dependent on *store* data, not it's own, that means that it's basically remitting "on trust." Ask yourself, "how many SMB Shopify stores would I fully "trust?" Their app helps a lot but bad data in is still bad data. That would keep me up at night. But they are moving fast and are easy to work with, so good job guys, hope that it doesn't blow up on you!
Ah wait, it was a different thread where I was arguing with the CBIT guy about VAT on shipping.
I am late to this thread and just trying to get the gist! And I would be SO grateful for some help.
Prior to Brexit we sold about 20% of our business to Europe.
Prior to 01 July I ended up switching off shipping to Europe as people were being charged massive amounts, despite the value of the package being under the threshold value. For example, I had a large corporate order to Ireland. The packages were worth about £17 and they were all charged about £40 to receive the packages! The company were really pissed off and I ended up covering all of the charges and making a massive loss. The commodity codes and costs were all correct on the customs invoices.
So I switched our European shipping off.
I desperately want to reinstate it on my site, but more pressingly, I have a large corporate order who want to confirm, but it includes 300+ parcels to Europe and I am worried about confirming it with them and then it turning into a nightmare.
We are registered with Crossborderit, but I see here that people have had problems with them too! Agh!
What an absolute mess this is! So frustrating!
I'd love to join your thread please! And if anyone has any advice, I would be ever so grateful.
Not very helpful I know but yesterday I was speaking to the operations manager of a UK courier company about the situation in the EU and he referred to it as carnage. Overflowing warehouses and mountains of paperwork. One factor that was pointed out to me was that even if I had completed the paperwork correctly there were countless others who had not done so and that was causing immense problems. Personally, while I might be prepared to take the chance of the odd package the idea of 300+ packages to the EU at this time would be a nightmare I wouldn't even want to contemplate!
Has anybody heard from CBIT regarding billing and the actual VAT filing dates etc. We've had our account for over a month now and the IOSS requirement is to file VAT on a monthly basis but we haven't had anything from CBIT so far plus no replies from the support.
@lukehastorun "we haven't had anything from CBIT so far plus no replies from the support." That seems to be a common complaint on this thread, an app is only as good as it's support,
@Dbaca "You are free to contact me or my customer service group at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions."
That's the problem, people are contacting your "support" and getting zero. Go back through this thread and see how many people have the same complaint. Stop the waffle and get on with it.
@Dbaca "Yes the support system which is hosted went down and many mails ended up not being seen. " Oh please, pathetic.
I got a response from Royal Mail saying that I had done everything correctly and so it was an issue with the tax authorities in the countries. I have had a holding email from the Austrian tax people saying they are looking into it. I haven't had any documentation from the other affected order so will leave that one as it is.
One more comment on there were no taxes levied below 150 there was a variable De Minimis in each country. Taxes were not levied on that but not the De Minimis for Duties is up to 150. So that is confusing and I will find a new way to Phrase it but neither of these statements are wholly false more so simplifications.
I too have just wanted information from crossbordersit., but they used my information to subscibe me without my permission. I have never signed any contract, nor did they make it clear that by filling out a information, leads to subsciption??that is a blindsided way to do business. I have also received an invoice which I have nothing to do with and am now fighting for them to take me off the subsciption list which I Never signed up for in the first place.
Yikes these recent posts are super unfair.
For those us us shipping real volume to EU (I do 3k-10k packages a month from UK to EU) CBIT has been a godsend and at the moment Taxamo basically doesn't work because of conflicts with discounts (despite us spending at least $5k internally on API development) You are stressed over a 19.99 fee because you are shipping a handful of products to EU? No offense but this product wasn't designed for you (even if it *is* being marketed to you). If 19.99/month is a dealbreaker, either stop shipping to the EU or ship DDU and deal with the customer pain.
FWIW I've found them genuine (if a bit flustered by the volume) and the fee is posted all over this thread and right on their website.
@GuyWilliams Genuine question (which might sound snide but isn't meant to be): Why are you using CBIT for that kind of IOSS volume? Wouldn't flat-rate intermediary services be more cost effective?
@ Morning Deloitte has a many weeks long delay in application and other avenues ended in dead ends. We are in the queue but were really late to the party reacting- like mid-June.
Thanks for the info. 🙂
I have to agree that if you find 19.99 a problem for an app to help you ship to the EU then you should probably be concentrating your efforts on the home market. In fact, you should probably be on a different platform given the cost of Shopify apps needed to get your website running properly. I can tell you one thing, that going down the DDU route has so many problems at present, even when the customer is prepared to accept it. 2 or 3 weeks ago I mentioned on this thread that I had packages sitting in Frankfurt awaiting clearance; they are still there. DDU was my only option because they exceeded €150. I'll be down around €800 if I have to refund to customers who so far been very patient.
CBIT really seems to be the only game in town for IOSS on Shopify. It would be interesting to hear from @GuyWilliams with the volume that he is shipping with IOSS, any non CBIT related problems, eg volume of customers being charged twice by customs or other hiccups.
Issues that we've had (most are just a general IOSS mess or Recharge related, not CBIT specifically)
-Recharge accepting non verifiable addresses with incorrect country codes (Like Munich but in Afghanistan because it's the first country on the country list)- also some related issue with "Deutschland" not equating to "Germany" and EU countries generally not having "state." These break everything and have required a lot of complicated support from Recharge.
-Recharge not calculating (or correctly calculating) VAT via Avalara (we have a lot of these)
-French (or other) local post just "deciding" that IOSS wasn't properly applied and charging fines... no recourse, just mad customers
-0 EUR items are a nightmare (we send out a lot of replacement stock). Don't forget that IOSS also deals with duty and a 0 EUR item still has an underlying dutiable value! CBIT simply can't deal with this because it works from the cart total not the underlying product value like Taxamo does. So, we now send out all replacements at a 90% off discount and manually capture 0 EUR payment so that we *can* pay duty
-Random purchases form non CBIT provisioned stores *Somehow* we get EU customers that find their way to my AU and CA stores and buy in the wrong language and wrong currency and then ship to the EU. Not many of these but they are head scratchers when they happen.
What are we doing?
1. Filing for a direct intermediary via Deloitte (but the filings via our UK 3pl will still be special)
2. Opening a NL 3pl location (partner to our UK 3PL) to ship under the non-existent OSS. When OSS happens we'll have operations under our NL VAT- may need to set up an entity as well but there is some time there. Most of my volume is really low value, so the 1EUR + VAT fees are brutal to my margins.
3. We built a crazy complicated API for Taxamo calculations and then had to bin it because of the discount issue. But we still run the calculations independently and are validating what CBIT is doing ourselves.
Thanks for such an informative reply. I have also had experience of EU postal authorities doing whatever they want with IOSS, and as you say, no recourse. Can only hope that the situation improves, I know there is also a lot of frustration within the EU from consumers about the way this is operating. I wish you the best of luck, with your scale of operations it must be more like migraine attacks than the headaches some of us are experiencing:-)
"-0 EUR items are a nightmare (we send out a lot of replacement stock). Don't forget that IOSS also deals with duty and a 0 EUR item still has an underlying dutiable value! CBIT simply can't deal with this because it works from the cart total not the underlying product value like Taxamo does. So, we now send out all replacements at a 90% off discount and manually capture 0 EUR payment so that we *can* pay duty"
But IOSS doesn't deal with duty. That's the whole point of the 150 euro threshold - it matches the ‘goods of negligible value' threshold for duty exemption. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "so that we *can* pay duty"?
Regarding replacements, I've only found one reference to replacement consignments in everything I've read on the IOSS:
"There are situations where the imported goods are defected, but the seller allows the importer to keep them instead of returning and then ships new ones.
From a customs perspective, there will be two CDs for release for free circulation as each of those cover different goods that will be released into the single market. The VAT procedure should follow the present situation for replacement of goods."
As to what that procedure is... I have no idea.
@LauraECY Hi, hope you don't mind me asking you personally but you've made a lot of sense on this thread that I've read all 25 pages of, and I'm another small business here who has had to turn off postage to the EU since 1st July and am looking for an affordable way to send to my EU customers again!
How are you finding Crossborder it now the app is live, is it automatically uploading your transactions and calculating your charges? I am yet to turn download the app or register with CBIT plus I will also have to turn on the charging taxes for the EU within my Shopify settings. CBIT looks to be the best option for me at the moment.
IOSS doesn't deal with customs duty, as you said. Are you finding that your customers are still having to pay duty or handling fees to receive their parcels? Surely our obligation as businesses sending to the EU is to simply compliant with the VAT aspect. I have been looking at and waiting for DDP options via Royal Mail but as Taxamo won't integrate with anything other than the super expensive Shopify Plus stores, that seems to be out of reach. Are you aware if duty is only applicable to orders over the 150 euro mark?
My store is all in GBP, so I guess I will need EU customers to be able to view the store in EUR for it to calculate VAT properly?
Thanks and I hope you don't mind my questions! 😄
@LauraECY Thanks so much for replying! I was hoping the the app will have smoothed out the wrinkles!
Having done a bit more research (I admit to sticking my head in the sand a little with all this), I am now aware that no duty is due for B2C parcels, so as long as the VAT is charged and collected properly via Shopify and the IOSS info is inputted into my Royal Mail C&D account, with the little icon rather than the number showing on the postage label. Theoretically then the parcel should 'sail' HAHAHA through customs to the customer with no extra VAT charges or handling fees being incurred (plus there is 0% duty as per the UK-EU Trade Agreement).
When you set up the regional taxes, did you need a UK VAT number? I am not UK VAT registered, haven't got the turnover required, and would rather avoid it if possible. I do have my EORI number already, had that ages and it's already on my CN22 forms printed through C&D. I only want to charge regional taxes to the EU, nowhere else in the world, is this something you were able to do?
No problem @LauraECY
Having looked at the Taxes section, under Collect Taxes via IOSS, it asks for registration country? I presume we put this as Sweden as that's where CBIT is based?
@LauraECY Hi Laura, Interesting and informative, thanks. One question, do you ship many orders to Germany ? I ask because I know that the German postal authorities have stated they won't be ready for IOSS until 2022 and if I were to resume EU shipping many of my customers would be from Germany and I could do without the problem of them being charged twice etc. Would be grateful for any information you may have on this. Thanks. Nitsa.
@Nitsa Ugh, really, a lot of my EU customers are based in Germany. I can't believe they are not ready for IOSS, if that's the case they should be letting parcels through without charging them VAT as it's unfair to charge them twice?? If the parcels are IOSS labelled then this shouldn't be happening? It just gets worse doesn't it!
@SarahFB Well, I haven't found any updated info that contradicts this but on the lookout for it as we speak.
@LauraECY Thanks Laura. I agree some clarification needed. I can tell you that for orders in excess of 150 Euros German customs are an absolute nightmare at present with delays and I really don't want the same experience with smaller orders.
My husband (Swedish) read your reply about having good connections with the Swedish tax authorities and remarked that you must be the only person who has, (expletives deleted, many of them). His prejudice not withstanding ,I will take a closer look. After I take over from him chopping up the ingredients for our casserole, it's really getting quite violent.:-)
@Nitsa that made me laugh out loud!! Was it getting like the Swedish chef from the Muppets smacking all the veg with the knife!! 😄
@Nitsa Hi - I just came across a few of your comments whilst frantically searching for information on Shopify stores shipping parcels to the EU under IOSS. I'm the idiot who, despite probably not having enough EU sales to justify it financially (though I can't afford to lose the ones I was getting pre-Brexit), paid an EU intermediary for an IOSS number and they do my monthly VAT returns. I wanted to be able to continue offering a service to my EU customers who have been incredibly loyal to me over the last few years. I felt I was led to believe a) using an intermediary was the only option if I wanted to continue selling in the EU (Taxamo wasn't an option for me) and b) it would be a smooth and seamless experience for me and more importantly, my customers. Well the reality is very different - I'm pulling my hair out with parcels taking ages to arrive and customers being charged when they have already paid tax! I spoke to Dutch customs yesterday because a customer had been charged for tax there despite already paying it on my store. But what really surprised me was the fact that she told me that the Dutch postal service are still charging handling fees of 4-5 Euros even for IOSS parcels - this I was not aware of as a thing, and I'm not sure my customers will tolerate this. I use Royal Mail (click and drop) and I would have expected them to at least be aware of what their service partners in EU markets are doing with regards to charges like this. The whole point of using IOSS surely was to avoid customers having to pay anything once their parcels arrived in their country - this is what I've communicated them, and now it looks like this might not be true. I haven't come across any other EU countries doing this (yet), though I wonder if it will become the norm? Anyway, my question is, are you aware of this happening anywhere else? Pre-Brexit I was shipping a fair amount to Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Ireland, Germany and France so these are the countries I'm most interested in. Denmark is particularly slow in my experience (that's when they're bothering to deliver the parcels in a usable condition!). I've sent the same parcel to Spain twice with DHL, and it was refused by customs - though I have no idea why! I've been searching online trying to see what people's experience of shipping is since 1st July under IOSS, but haven't been able to find much. Considering I haven't shipped that many EU parcels since IOSS came into force, I feel like I'm having more issues than expected for such a small volume of orders. I saw you mentioned Germany said they wouldn't be ready for IOSS until 2022 - that's insane!! Would love to hear anyone else's experiences!
@NatashaD I feel your pain. The Netherlands is also not up to date on IOSS, I know that from conversations with an Etsy seller (Etsy includes IOSS as part of the platform) who has had to stop shipping to the Netherlands. You're also right about handling charges, it's 4 euros if it's delivered or 7 euros from a pickup point, on top of that of course is the VAT being charged again. It's a similar situation in Latvia as well. You also mentioned Spain and I notice that quite a few larger companies won't ship anything less than €150 now leaving the customer responsible for the tax, I can only assume that is also due to the IOSS. I have my doubts whether Germany will be ready in January 22, certainly I have customers there who don't believe that will be the case. According to one of them, if it's digital, forget it, apparently online activities relating to government departments is definitely not part of the famous German efficiency model.
I do get what you mean about wanting to continue to offer a service to loyal customers in the EU. However, at the moment I've decided not to start shipping there as it could end up being a hassle for them as well as me. Another problem that I'm very wary of is using courier companies for products going to the EU, because when they foul up or customs refuse the package your troubles can be just beginning. Depending on the company, it might ask you for payment before they return it or as in the case of TNT, return the parcel to you and then a month later hit you with a bill that is often 3 to 4 times larger than what it cost to send in the first place. You could argue it I know, but the demands dropping through the letterbox and in your inbox is just another hassle. They don't give up easily.
Anyway, it seems from conversations on here that it is working out for some people, but for me personally I have enough problems to deal with and don't want to create any more for what is a relatively small part of my business. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
@Nitsa thanks so much for the reply - it's great to have more of an insight into people's experiences so far as up until now, I've only had my own experience to go on and I didn't know if i was just unlucky! I have had some parcels go through fine so it's not all horrendous (at least I think so because I haven't had many customers contact me to complain), but quite honestly the stress I feel with every EU parcel I send out now is quite real :(. Can I ask where you found out about these issues, is there another forum that's worth me joining? As I'd like to hope and pray that some of this is just teething issues and that everything will improve in a few months perhaps? Or is that unrealistic? I'm also looking at an EU retailer as an alternative option though that comes with a set of other issues I guess. Anyway, thanks so much for replying and I hope all goes well with your business too - what is it you do?
@NatashaD I think it’s always going to be the case anyway that not everything gets stopped so there is a certain element of luck to it. I snoop around various forums like Etsy but also various trade forums, we sell tech industrial items. If you think there is dissatisfaction with IOSS here, it’s dwarfed by the anger in the EU countries. Companies in US, Japan, China are turning down smaller orders because of all the complications. Whether you are a consumer or a business customer in the EU, ordering from non-EU countries is just problematic beyond words. And for European companies they also have the headache of OSS to deal with. Eurocrats or Bureaucrats, call them whatever, just seem to be put into this world to make life more difficult for the rest of us.
@Nitsa I think you're right - luck does seem to play a part as initially I thought things seemed ok. I would expect a certain amount of teething issues, but hearing that postal operators / customs authorities are not at all ready to deal with IOSS is frustrating beyond words! I just thought there'd be more of an international outcry about it - like you say, it's all countries outside of EU that must be experiencing these issues. Why isn't it reported in the press?! I feel like I'm sh