All businesses within the EU, from sole traders upwards, require an EORI number when importing or exporting any commercial cargo from or to the rest of the world (outside the EU). Here is what you need to know:
The EORI number (Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification number) is an operator identification number that is valid throughout the European Union and for example replaces the German customs number. Since Regulation (EC) No 312/2009 amending provisions for the implementation of the Customs Code came into force on 1 July 2009, this number is a prerequisite for customs clearance in the European Union.
The EORI number should be quoted in order to identify the operators, in particular when lodging customs declarations and entry and exit summary declarations.
The EORI (Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification) number is a unique number issued by the competent authorities in the European Union that allows customs to identify economic operators and, where necessary, other persons. The legal basis for assigning that number is Article 9 of the Union Customs Code (for example – Unionszollkodex – UZK) in conjunction with Article 1(18) of the Commission Delegated Regulation supplementing the Union Customs Code – Delegated Act (Delegierte Verordnung zum UZK – DA).
An economic operator is a person who, in the course of his or her business, is involved in activities covered by the customs legislation. An operator established in the European Union shall apply for the EORI number in the Member State where he or she is resident (Article 9(1) UZK). Operators from third countries shall registered by the first Member State, in which they wish to lodge a customs declaration or request a decision (Article 9(2) UZK in conjunction with Article 5(6) DA).
There is an obligation for economic operators to quote an EORI number on customs declarations.
Persons other than economic operators (private individuals) are generally not required to have an EORI number if they lodge written and/or electronic customs declarations only occasionally, that is, less than ten times a year (Article 9(3) UZK in conjunction with Article 6 DA). This provision also applies where they are directly represented by a service provider (such as postal or express services).
However, as concerns exports for which an authorisation is required, even a private individual is generally obligated to provide an EORI number whenever such number is needed for the administrative procedure before the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA).
In written and electronic customs declarations, the EORI numbers of the following persons must be quoted:
Quoting the EORI number is generally not necessary for any customs declarations which only require the input of data other than those provided for in Annex B, DA, and/or in Annex 9 of the Delegated Regulation supplementing the UZK as regards transitional rules (i.e. Delegierte Verordnung zum UZK mit Übergangsbestimmungen – TDA), such as the ATA Carnet document.
In summary entry and/or exit declarations, the EORI numbers of the following persons must be quoted:
In declarations for temporary storage, the EORI numbers of the following persons must be quoted:
The EORI number is used as an identification and/or administrative code under which the operator’s address data, any authorisations granted to him, and the network links available to him are recorded in compliance with data protection regulations.
The EORI number shall also be quoted in the context of approval procedures before the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and/or the Federal Institute for Agriculture and Food (BLE). Likewise, it is needed for providing evidence to your tax authority that the import VAT determined through the electronic (paperless) ATLAS procedure has been paid.
An EORI number must be formally requested from the Central Customs Authority.
The EORI number is assigned upon request and free of charge (in the case of Germany) by the General Directorate of Customs’ Master Data Management office in Dresden (GZD – DO Dresden – Stammdatenmanagement).
To formally apply for assignment of an EORI number (for example in Germany), the online operator request (Internetbeteiligtenantrag, IBA) or form 0870 (Operator – Master Data – EORI number) shall be used. The application must bear a legally valid signature and shall be sent together with the necessary supporting documents to GZD – DO Dresden – Stammdatenmanagement by email (as a PDF document file), postal letter or fax.
When opening the online operator request or form 0870 you will find an instruction on how to complete the application.
Please observe the instruction with regard to the supporting documents that are required. As an example, the request must be accompanied by either an excerpt from the commercial register or your business registration.
All mandatory fields must be filled. Should certain particulars not be known yet (for example, the value added tax identification number), it must be noted on the request form. The missing particulars must be re-submitted as promptly as possible using the online operator request or form 0870, indicating the EORI number already assigned. The EORI number shall be requested in good time prior to the initiation of any activities covered by the customs legislation.
In accordance with Annex 9, Appendix E, of the Delegated Regulation supplementing the UCC as regards transitional rules (Delegierte Verordnung zum UZK mit Übergangsbestimmungen – TDA), the EORI master data (which correspond with the ATLAS master data) are transmitted to the EU where they are available for queries by the authorities of other European Member States. In addition, there is the possibility to conduct an online research in order to corroborate the validity of EORI numbers. Where third-party access to the data has been authorised, an economic operator’s name and address can also be retrieved.
German data protection legislation provides that German economic operators must have expressed their consent in writing before their details can be transmitted to the EU and researched online.
Where the request is lodged by a representative on behalf of the economic operator, it must be accompanied by a letter of authorisation signed by the party represented. Such letter of authorisation shall be clearly manifest on the request form.
The representative’s complete contact details shall be enclosed with the request.
The representative will subsequently be notified by GZD – DO Dresden – Stammdatenmanagement of the assignment of an EORI number.
You must inform the GZD – DO Dresden – Stammdatenmanagement office if you wish to make amendments to your master data, again using the online operator request or form 0870. The relevant request for amendment shall be accompanied by either an excerpt from the commercial register or your business registration.
The termination of an undertaking must also be notified using the online operator request or form 0870. The operator’s EORI number will then be cancelled.
Code number, value added tax identification number, tax number and excise number.
In addition to being used as a code for specific goods, the 11-digit code number (example: 9503 0095 00 0) is also used as a code for specific actions such as the rate of duty or authorisation requirements. It must be quoted in paper-based and electronic customs declarations.
VAT identification number
In line with European guidelines, the value added tax identification number (Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer) is made up of the national identifier and a maximum of 12 further characters – in Germany for example, the acronym DE plus 9 digits (example: DE 123456789). To implement the correct application of the country-of-destination principle that is fundamental for the European Union, this number is required by businesses involved in intra-community commerce, and is assigned on request by the German central tax office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern).
The tax number (example: 06/001/5822/0) is assigned by the domestic taxation authority (Finanzamt) when submitting advance turnover tax returns and/or regular tax returns. This number is made up of a tax office number, a district number, and further digits such as a serial number, which is why no definitive information relating to the precise length of this number can be given here.
An important indication that a business is entitled to participate in a tax suspension procedure (excise tax) is the excise number. In Germany, it is assigned by the main customs offices within the framework of production/storage authorisations and/or the authorisation as a registered consignee. The German excise number has 13 places and may be composed as follows (example): DE 1234567890 8.