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There is a complex range of acronyms and titles involved in international logistics. These can be confusing to the newcomer to export and import. One of these is IOR or Importer of Record.

Here we’ll take a look at the role of the IOR, what they do and the rules surrounding that role.

What is an importer of record?

An importer of record (IOR) provides a service to help facilitate the smooth importation of goods into a country where it has no representation. They also provide a service if the exporter, shipper or origin company wants the asset that is being imported to remain their property.

It’s the role of the importer of record to ensure that legal goods are imported following the relevant laws and regulations of the importing country. The importer of record is responsible for filing legally required documents and then ensuring that any assessed import duties and taxes are paid.

The IOR has responsibility for all of the supporting documentation that goes along with an import. This may include export and import licences, permits, local rules and regulations, as well as other paperwork and more. The IOR will also be responsible for calculating and paying duties, taxes, tariffs and fees. These will all require additional paperwork and forms to be filled out.

The importer of record has a very important role to play in the entire customs compliance process. If you’re intending to export goods into any country outside of a free trade zone, then an in-country presence may be required to import the goods into that country. If you don’t have a presence in the country, then this can create problems. In some instances, it may make it impossible for you to ship the goods to your intended destination country. An importer of record facilitates these trades while ensuring the customs process is carried out appropriately.

By appointing an IOR you can avoid potential confusion about who has ownership of the goods. Typically, an import transaction might involve suppliers, distributors and end-users. The IOR, in effect, becomes the temporary owner of the goods until they have been accepted by a distribution centre or the end-user has taken ownership of the goods.

Who is the importer of record?

The importer of record (IOR) is responsible for ensuring that imported goods comply with all of the customs and legal requirements of the country of import. This will usually be the owner of the goods, but it can also be a designated individual or a customs broker.

There are different requirements for who can act as the IOR between different countries. In many cases, the consignee or owner of goods at the time of import is able to act in this role.

Who can be an importer of record in the UK?

UK custom rules state that any business that’s wishing to import and export to and from the UK is required to be established in the UK in order to submit a full customs declaration. This is in line with regulations across other customs jurisdictions across the world. It’s meant to ensure that local customs authorities have the necessary power to contact companies to review customs documentation and conduct customs audits.

There are three parties involved in import and export transactions:

● Consignor – sender/exporter of the goods

● Consignee – recipient/owner of the goods

● Declarant or importer of record

In practice, the declarant or importer of record is the person who is named on the clearance documentation as the importer of goods. This is the person named on the Single Administration Document (CDS Import Entry) which is used to declare goods to customs. There is an element of choice as to who the importer of record is.

UK logistic companies who offer import services may offer IOR services for foreign importers. They will take care of the importation process from customs clearance to ensure that all relevant UK duties and taxes are paid. The logistics company will take on all of the responsibilities of the IOR.

They can enable your business to supply products to UK customers while ensuring that all trade and import compliance requirements are met. They will act as importers on behalf of overseas businesses. They don’t take ownership of the goods and products and don’t provide resale services, but they will provide a range of services such as storage and distribution for the business.

How do I get an importer of record?

If you’re a business outside of the UK and you’re looking for an importer of records within the country, then working with an experienced logistics company that provides import services may be appropriate.

They can provide IOR services alongside a full import service. SSO International Forwarding provides trusted import services for businesses looking to import goods into the UK. We can provide an IOR service to ensure that you meet all of your customs requirements, with all relevant paperwork taken care of and any duties that are due being paid.

Does the importer of record have to own the goods?

In most cases, particularly when the IOR is acting in the role of a third party-declarant, they become the temporary owners of the goods that are being imported. This means they will take responsibility for the owner of the goods from the country of origin to the importation. They will assume all of the duties that are expected of an IOR. When the goods are transferred to their final destination, ownership of the goods will transfer from the appointed IOR to the new owner.

The importer of record can also be the permanent owners of the goods as well. This will usually occur when private entities that are shipping goods want to take care of all the importation phases on their own. However, if the final owner of the goods wants to take on the role of importer of record they need to be confident that they fully understand everything that is required of them.

Can an importer of record be changed?

If you are using a logistics company to act as your importer of record they will take temporary ownership of your goods while acting as your IOR. When the goods are transported to their destination and are safely in the hands of their intended recipient, either for their own use or for resale, ownership of the goods is then transferred from the third party to that owner.

If an importer of record has to drop out before the importation process has been completed, then this will cause delays until a new importer of record has been appointed and taken ownership of the goods. It’s therefore advisable that your importer of record can be trusted to carry out their duties as required by the jurisdiction within which your goods are being received.

What is the difference between an importer of record and a consignee?

The consignee is the receiver of the shipment and will usually be the owner of the goods. Once the goods have cleared customs, the consignee will be the party who takes ownership of them. The consignees can be a private individual or a business. The consignee is usually the party who will pay import duties and taxes.

The IOR is a person or entity in the destination country. They are the ones who are officially responsible for making sure that an incoming shipment of goods complies with all of the legal requirements and regulations in that country. They ensure that the goods are correctly valued, that all the relevant taxes and duties are paid, and that all the necessary documents and permits are filed accordingly.

Can the shipper be the IOR in the UK?

The consignor is the exporter of record for your shipment. In other words, the individual or business that is shipping the goods. In most cases, the consignor will be the factory where the goods are manufactured, the sourcing agent who serves as the main point of contact for the export, and the origin location from where the goods were shipped if it’s different from the factory such as a warehouse.

The consignor is separate from both the consignee and the IOR. It’s possible for the consignee to act as the IOR when importing goods into the UK but because of the complexities and potential pitfalls involved it’s usually avoided.

Comprehensive import and export services from SSO International Forwarding

Importing and exporting goods to and from the UK can be fraught. There is a considerable amount of red tape to consider, documentation to complete and duties to calculate and pay. It can be time consuming as well as complex to try and negotiate. For this reason, most companies looking to import and export into and from the UK will work with a logistics company.

SSO International Forwarding can act as your importer of record ensuring that all of the necessary paperwork is taken care of and any duty liabilities are paid in full. We can help speed up the import process enabling you to get your goods quickly and efficiently.

To find out more about import and export services contact us today.

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