Importing Goods into the U.S
Importing goods into the United States can be a tricky process, and a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated. For your convenience and general information, we’ve put together some basic tips which will hopefully assist you through the process and details of importing goods into the U.S.
Use a Customs Broker
We highly recommend you to work with an experienced customs broker when importing goods into the U.S. While there is no legal obligation to hire a customs broker, it is usually an efficient way to clear customs and avoid problems which may lead to various severe consequences including entry refusal, seizure of goods and payment of fines.
A licensed customs broker can help you navigate laws and regulations that apply to your specific goods and prepare the documentation needed to import such goods. Classification of goods, for example can make a real difference with regards to regulation requirements, as well as tariffs. Experienced customs brokers can offer useful counsel in this regard.
To find a list of customs brokers, visit the “Locate a Port of Entry” section of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Select the state you will be importing into, select the city, and then click the Brokers link below the city information.
Fulfillrite has some great working relationships with a few customs brokers as well. Feel free to reach out to us for recommendations.
Federal Tax ID and U.S. Mailing Address
When importing into the United States, a U.S. Federal Tax ID and U.S. mailing address is ordinarily required by Customs.
While we allow our customers to list our warehouse address as a location of storage for certain documentation, we do not provide our Tax I.D. number for import purposes, and as a result cannot be listed as the “Ultimate Consignee”. We encourage all customers to have a valid U.S. mailing address and Tax I.D. number before importing goods to the U.S.
How to get a U.S. Mailing Address?
In the event you don’t already have a U.S. mailing address, you may want to ask a friend, relative or a business partner if you can receive mail at their address, and you can use that one for Customs. If you are unable to do that, there are various online companies that provide U.S. mailing addresses for a fee. Opus Virtual Offices, MailBoxForwarding.com, and USAMail1 are just few examples of companies that provide U.S. mailing addresses and mail processing services.
Obtaining a U.S. Tax I.D.?
The second thing you will need is a U.S. Tax ID number. A social security number (SSN), or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) can be used for this. Bear in mind that the holder of the SSN or ITIN is legally responsible for all U.S. taxes. If you do not want to use your SSN or ITIN, or if you do not have an SSN/ITIN because you are not a U.S. citizen, you still have two main options:
In case you choose to specify a non-U.S. mailing address in the SS-4 form, it is highly recommended to verify in advance with the IRS’s representative that they will mail the EIN letter internationally or send it via email to avoid miscommunication.
Please note that these guidelines are provided to you for your convenience for general information only, are not intended to constitute legal advice, and cannot be cited or relied on as legal authority. Anyone considering importing goods to the U.S. is strongly encouraged to seek specialized legal counsel given the complexity of this field and the specific rapidly changing requirements which vary on a case to case basis.
We hope you find the information above helpful and look forward to working with you.
FULFILLRITE POLICY: It is Fulfillrite’s policy that all our customers are responsible to ensure that all customs, taxes and duty charges related to their inbound inventory are be paid in full (Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)) prior to arrival of the goods to our warehouse. Also, Fulfillrite will not serve as Ultimate Consignee on imported goods.