Importer of Record Number: Everything E-Commerce Sellers Need to Know

Posted on 10 July 2023

Shipping container

If you’re an e-commerce seller importing into another country, you’ll need your importer of record number (IOR number). It’s essential that your shipment arrives at its destination smoothly; otherwise, you may incur penalties, fines and delays. 

Not sure what an importer of record is, why it’s needed, or where you can find it? In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about importer of record numbers, including answers to frequently asked questions. As a result, you can avoid complications at customs and expand your business globally with ease. 

What is an Importer of Record Number?

An importer of record number is a unique identification number assigned to an individual or business entity responsible for importing goods into a country. Customs authorities use this number to ensure compliance with import regulations, track and monitor imports, and collect any applicable duties or taxes. 

Why is an Importer of Record Number Needed?

An importer of record number allows entities to legally import goods into a country. In short, it aids the customs clearance process. With this number, customs authorities can ensure that imports are regulated, documented and taxed according to local rules and regulations. 

It’s important to note that laws and regulations regarding IOR numbers vary from country to country. To avoid difficulties, consult the local customs authorities of your destination country. Alternatively, you could hire a customs compliance specialist, so you can draw from their extensive knowledge base. 

How to Find Your Importer of Record Number

There are four common ways to find your IOR number, including your Tax ID number, social security number, commercial invoices and entry summary. 

Tax ID Number

You can find your IOR number using your Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN).  All you have to do is add two zeros to the end of your Tax ID.

Social Security Number

Similarly, you can use your social security number when your company is a Sole Proprietorship. That’s because you may not have an EIN in this instance. Again, all you have to do is add two zeros to the end of your social security number.

Commercial Invoice 

Commercial invoices are used by customs authorities to calculate duties, taxes and fees. Here you can also find your importer of record number. 

Entry Summary

Your importer number can be found on line 23 of your entry summary document, also known as CBP Form 7501.

CBP Form 5106

If you can’t find your number via any of these methods, or you need an additional IOR number, you need to file a CBP Form 5106 with customs. 

It’s important to note that your IOR number will remain valid for one year after you last used it. After this point, it becomes voided, and you’ll have to file for a new one. 

Importer of Record Number Example

There are standard formats for US and foreign importer numbers, so they can be differentiated easily. Here are two examples: 

US Importers: 12-123456789

Foreign Importers: 123456-12345

Is an EIN the Same as an Importer of Record Number?

No – an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is issued for tax purposes, whereas an importer of record number relates to the importation of goods. The EIN can be used for various tax purposes, such as income tax, employment tax and business identification. In contrast, IOR numbers are specific to import activities and are not related to tax reporting.

Zee IOR Solutions

As an e-commerce seller, you hold the risk throughout the whole shipping process. To avoid penalties, fines and delays, partner with a customs compliance specialist like Zee. We act as your importer of record, ensuring your imports meet local laws and regulations, so you can guarantee first time clearance. 

Customs compliance is highly complex, requiring extensive knowledge of importing rules, which vary from country to country. By partnering with us, you can draw from our extensive database of knowledge, helping your business to thrive on a global scale. 

Learn more about our importer of record services

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