ShipStation's International Settings

An explanation of ShipStation's international settings and a reference list for default customs settings.

ShipStation's International Settings determine the default behavior for how ShipStation creates customs declarations for your shipments.

ShipStation has two types of international settings:

  • Account-level international settings: These settings apply to all orders that import with an international destination.

  • Product-level international settings: These settings apply only to orders that contain specific products. Product-level settings will override account-level international settings.

Account-Level International Settings

The settings page includes a Default Customs Information section, Tax Identifiers, and a Tracking section.

International Settings page

Adjusting these settings will affect new international orders when they import into ShipStation. Changes will not affect orders that have already imported.

Add Tax ID Numbers to International Settings

ShipStation will display a list of the Tax Identifiers that have been added. The Tax ID details cannot be modified once added. If you need to make a change to an entry, you must delete the entry and add a new one.


Add Tax IDs To a Shipment

Once you've added your Tax IDs into the International Settings, they will be available to add to your international shipments.

Add Tax IDs to Orders Automatically

You can also add your Tax Identifier to orders via Automation Rules. See our Example Rules for a demonstration.

Your shipment now includes the Tax ID. ShipStation will include this data when requesting the label and customs documentation from the carrier.

Your Tax IDs will also appear in the Customs Declarations section of your Shipment Details after the label has been created:


Default Customs Information & Tracking Settings

International Settings page



Default Content Type

The content type can be one of five options:

  • Documents

  • Gift

  • Merchandise

  • Returns Goods

  • Sample

For countries that apply an import or VAT tax, this option can affect the taxes or duties charged to your customer.

Non-Delivery Option

Dictates what the carrier should do in the event a package cannot be delivered.

  • Return to sender: The carrier will return the shipment, at your cost.

  • Treat as abandoned: The carrier will destroy the package.

Customs Declarations

Controls how ShipStation will generate customs declarations line items.

  • Create declarations from order items: Will use the quantity, name, and item price imported from the marketplace (unless customs information is defined in the product defaults).

  • Use pre-defined values: Will use the information entered here for all declarations on your international orders. This means the declarations will not be adjusted based on the quantity or cost of items within an order. 

    Use only if you wish your customs declarations to be the same for all international orders.

  • Leave blank (enter manually): No customs declarations will be automatically created for your orders.

    Use this option if you wish to manually create your customs declarations on an order-by-order basis.

Sign Customs As

Allows you to define the name that will appear on customs documentation as the signer. Generally, you want this to be your actual name rather than your company's name.

Would you like to use your ITN or USPS Exemption code for AES?

Allows you to designate a specific ITN or USPS Exemption code for all international shipments. If set, ShipStation will add the code to the customs declarations for the affected shipments.

  • ITN: Choose whether it applies to

    All international shipments.

    International shipments valued at over $2500.

    Only applies to, Endicia, Express 1 and UPS shipments.

  • USPS Exemption Code: Choose from a list of pre-defined USPS Exception Codes.

    Only applies to, Endicia, and Express 1 shipments.

Tax Identifiers

Select the Tax ID type: VAT, EORI, TIN, SSN, EIN, IOSS, or OSS and enter the number.

Enter your Tax ID number in the field. This will make it available to add to the shipment in Custom Declarations, to be applied to the appropriate place on your commercial invoices for international shipping.

Send non-trackable Tracking Numbers to Marketplaces

If enabled, ShipStation will include the non-trackable USPS First Class Mail International tracking numbers when pushing shipment updates to the marketplace.

This setting will also trigger ShipStation to send non-trackable tracking numbers for non-tracked domestic shipping services like USPS First Class Mail using envelope package types. 

This setting only applies to USPS shipments.

Value-Added Tax - also known as a goods and services tax (GST) - is a consumption tax based on the value of goods and implemented as a destination-based tax. VAT usually comes into play when shipping internationally to countries that charge customs fees and taxes to recipients on imported goods. VAT may be recovered for commercial shipments only by a VAT registered recipient; VAT ranges from 5% to 25% depending upon country.

Shipments to certain countries are often subject to customs fees/taxes, like VAT. ShipStation does provide the option to have the fees charged to the shipper (DDP), instead of the recipient, if the carrier supports that option.

How to Provide Valid IOSS Data

The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) is the "electronic portal businesses can use since 1 July 2021 to comply with their VAT ecommerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.” The European Union (EU) IOSS system will only recognize IOSS numbers with the correct format and length. The EU IT system checks that the field matches IOSS format IMXXXXXXXXXX and uses this to process VAT.

  • Tax Identifier Field (IOSS registration number):

  • Character length: 12 alpha-numeric characters

  • IOSS format: 2 letters (IM) followed by 10 numbers, for example: IM1234567891

ShipStation does not validate or verify Tax Identifier Numbers!

Please check with your carrier as they may validate the character limit, format, or something similar for tax identifiers. Regardless, please make sure your information is accurate and correct before adding it into ShipStation.

See the Getting Help section of our Tax Identifier Number article to learn more.

Which Carriers Support IOSS?

The following carriers currently support Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS), the electronic portal businesses can use since 1 July 2021 to comply with their VAT ecommerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods. Check back as other carriers are still developing IOSS/EU VAT Compliance.

ShipStation does not validate or verify Tax Identifier Numbers!

Please check with your carrier as they may validate the character limit, format, or something similar for tax identifiers. Regardless, please make sure your information is accurate and correct before adding it into ShipStation.

See the Getting Help section of our Tax Identifier Number article to learn more.

Product Default Customs Settings

The Product Default Customs settings override certain account-level customs details on orders that contain that product. This is useful if you want to shorten and simplify your product descriptions and have ShipStation automatically add product-specific harmonization codes.

Now, ShipStation will use the information in your Product's Customs tab to fill in the customs declarations for shipments containing this product.

Bulk Update Products

If you have many products you wish to update in this way, use the Product CSV Import method to update multiple products at once. Review the Update Products in Bulk section of the Update Products article in this help guide.

Harmonization Codes

The purpose of a Harmonization Code (also referred to as Tariff Code, Customs Tariffs, Harmonized Tariff Codes, and Harmonized System Code) is to expedite the shipping process for international orders. This universal economic language and code system for trade covers most internationally sent goods and merchandise.

Order Details screen with the Harmonization field highlighted in the Shipping Sidebar Customs Declaration section

Once an order reaches an international border, a country's customs office uses these codes to identify and to assess tax for what you are shipping. ShipStation recommends that you properly identify, establish, and list your harmonization codes well before you create labels.

For a full list of Harmonization Codes, go to the Current Tariff Classification page from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australia uses an eight-digit code to classify goods for export. The first six digits align with the international classification and the last two digits are specific to Australian exports. The classifications are subject to change so you need to keep up-to-date. The Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) is usually updated every January and July and classifications can be found at the ABS Website.

Include Harmonization Code on All Export Shipments

Failure to properly classify your product could lead to incorrect taxation on your exports and the potential loss of the product.

Adding Harmonization Codes to Orders

ShipStation offers three ways to add the harmonization code to your international orders:

  1. Manually: Open the Order Detail window, or use the sidebar, and manually add or remove harmonization codes to your international orders.

  2. Pre-defined customs values: Set your International Settings to use pre-defined customs values, and designate which harmonization code will appear for all international orders.

  3. Product defaults: Configure your international settings set to create customs declarations based on order items, then you can store harmonization code just like any other product default. The harmonization codes can also be set as product defaults in bulk.  See our article Add Products In Bulk via CSV Import for information on importing products via CSV files.