One of the more common questions we hear from international companies is whether or not they can sell on Amazon. There’s a long answer and a short answer; but yes, Amazon does allow non U.S. residents to sell products on their platform. And it’s not even a complicated process to apply. What does get complicated is the paperwork that follows.
Because tax laws and regulations vary dramatically in non U.S. countries, it can seem hard to keep track. As a result, we see so many sellers get discouraged and actively avoid selling on Amazon. Don’t be. We may not be able to provide specific tax advice about your country, but we can recommend some tools to help you get started.
Requirements For Selling On Amazon
A bank account in a country supported by Amazon. Many sellers may find it preferable to have a separate business account specifically for Amazon. You may need to incorporate as an LLC, even if you’re the sole proprietor of your eCommerce storefront.
Customer support in the local language of your residence.
A valid phone number, including Viber and Skype.
US taxpayer status if you plan on conducting more than 50 transactions a year.
A valid credit card that can be charged by the country you reside in.
A US Employer Identification Number, which can be easily obtained by contacting the IRS.
Individual And Professional Sellers
Another common dilemma for non U.S. residents is registering as either an Individual or Professional Seller with Amazon. While both are monthly subscriptions, we always like to recommend that new sellers opt for the latter service. In our experience, the additional benefits of Professional services (including bulk listing, customizable shipping rates and top product placement eligibility) can be absolutely fundamental to your business as a seller, especially if you plan on conducting more the 40 transactions a month.
Order Fulfillment For International Sellers
Eventually, you’re going to find that you own merchant fulfillment as an Amazon seller is a logistics nightmare is you’re a non-U.S. resident. While you’re not required to to use Fulfillment By Amazon services, you’ll find order processing will be much more effective with a qualified fulfillment center. Inventory storage, order fulfillment, shipping, customer service and even returns should be the last thing on your mind when operating an international business and Amazon’s FBA is one of the most cost effective and trusted services for global sellers.
Product Approval For International Amazon Sellers
Product approval isn’t automatic and is subject to both Amazon’s internal requirements as well as the laws and regulations of your country, including popular categories such as:
Beauty / Health & Personal Care
Clothing & Accessories
Collectibles & Fine Art
Grocery & Gourmet Food
Luggage, Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
Automotive & Powersports
Clothing & Accessories
Industrial & Scientific
Luggage & Travel Accessories
Toys & Games
Disbursement And Taxes As An International Amazon Seller
Disbursement through Amazon’s Currency Convertor Services is one of the fastest ways to actually receive payment through Amazon—even if your account is with a supported bank. However, you do have to reside in a supported country or region and you may need to register for an additional Hyperwallet account to be eligible for payment.
Most U.S. states require a sales tax for goods held in inventory storage, even if your merchandise is being held in multiple states. Many states will only accept tax payments using Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers from a U.S. bank, which means you’re required to open a U.S. bank account. Contact a trusted tax adviser if you plan on conducting business here in the U.S. States are notoriously complicated when it comes to business tax issues and this is one area you simply can’t afford to overlook.
Customs And Selling Internationally On Amazon
Being familiar with U.S. Customs and subsequent duty taxes is another burden we frequently hear about from international sellers. Unfortunately, this can also vary from state to state and may require manual approval for many of the more popular items on Amazon. However, most customs brokers and freight carriers will consider this service as part of your fees. The CBP has provided a convenient Ports of Entry guide to help you choose the most appropriate one.
Import restrictions may require an additional permit from federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. For a list of prohibited and restricted items, please review the U.S. Customs and Border Protection guide.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.