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  • #70 UPC Codes and Sales Tax for Amazon Sellers – Q & A Tuesday no. 11

July 12, 2016

#70 UPC Codes and Sales Tax for Amazon Sellers – Q & A Tuesday no. 11

Q. 1  UPC Code – Stuart.

OK, so you may have seen some talk recently about Amazon cracking down on non GS1 barcodes in the US.

I’m just wondering what people’s thoughts are on how to handle this.

When I first setup my private label products, I used a third party barcode company, that were significantly cheaper than the official GS1 barcodes. At that stage I wasn’t too worried, as I was just starting out and money was tight, and hey, it’s not as if I needed to be able to print barcodes onto my packaging to sell in retail shops.

The issue, now arises, that I am in a position were I could afford to use official barcodes, and indeed, I would want to, so that Amazon don’t kick me off. The problem is that even though I am happy to acquire them, I can’t change them on my ASIN’s.

Anyone any ideas how to go about this?

Tahir Same here. My plan is to create a new child with the new barcode and list it under the actual product which will become a parent listing. Then just delete the old child which is obsolete. So if that idea would work we could keep the reviews. Anyone already did this?

Brian: I bought my barcodes from a site who, when I asked about this, said they purchased them originally before 2002 when the new policy was put in place, so they’re legally permitted to resell them. But when I search my UPCs in the online database, my business name isn’t attached to them which is I think what Amazon will be checking for. So I don’t know what this means….

Tahir Michael Stuart: So just wanted to let you know that my plan didnt work out as planned. When the old child is OOS or deleted the parent listing doesnt show the reviews of it anymore. Also changing EAN code in edit mode changes the ASIN of the listing and reviews + rankings will be gone.. So seems like there is no other option unless Amazon can fuse 2 listings into 1 without losing review & rankings

Brian Cook FYI, here’s info from SS themselves from someone in another group:

“This is Tamara, the Catalog Specialist you spoke to about your inquiries regarding UPCs.

We verify the authenticity of product UPCs by checking the GS1 database. When you purchase UPCs from resellers, many times they do not update the information with the GS1 database, and it will appear as belonging to a different company. This is why we recommend obtaining your UPCs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling UPC licenses) to ensure the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database.

This recommendation does not mean that Amazon is going to take actions against products that have UPCs purchased from other companies. It does not mean that sellers need to go in and change all their UPCs for new ones purchased from GS1. We do not want you to delete your listings and create new ones with new UPCs. That would not be in your best interest or ours. Also, the system will not allow you to modify the UPC for a product that already has an ASIN linked to it.

Generally, using UPCs purchased from different companies should not give you any problems. However, an issue could arise if someone else tried to list a product using one of these UPCs. We handle these issues on a case by case basis. It might be necessary if that happened to get a new UPC and create a new ASIN or modify it for the existing one (which only we can do), but we would need to analyze the specific case.

Once again, let me assure you do not need to go into your inventory and switch all of your UPCs. In fact, the system would not allow you to do so and it could create other issues with your listings. My recommendation is to leave your existing listings as they are and get UPCs from GS1 when you want to add new products.

I hope this information helps to clear up your inquiry. Below is a short yes or no survey to rate the service I provided for you today. I would really appreciate it if you could fill it out as we take our seller’s feedback very seriously.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.”

MichaelThanks, Tahir and Brian, very good to have clarification around that.

Sounds like generally

1. We don’t need to panic about existing listings

2. Going forward however it’s wise to use proper GS1 UPC codes to avoid future issues.

Tahir Ballikaya not sure about point 1. Did you read this article about this issue already: http://www.webretailer.com/lean…/amazons-new-upc-policy/ so it really depends on Amazon how they are going to approach this.

One thing is for sure. If Amazon decides to delete all this listings with invalid UPC codes many listings will be gone, imagine all the fba courses that taught people to buy cheap upc codes all those years + I guess most of Chinese listings..

point 2: definitely, I believe Kevin King in your podcast said that as well


Dylan Marshall

Hi Guys, As UK / international sellers on Amazon US, do we have an obligation to collect and remit Sales Tax? It seems to be a very murky topic with no clear and definitive answer. There are companies like TaxJar and Avalara who make a very convincing case that international sellers do have to collect Sales Tax, but they have a vested interest in telling people that. In reality I wonder how many international sellers actually collect and remit sales tax.

Are there any unbiased official guidelines for international sellers regarding sales tax?

Also, this is to international sellers: do you collect sales tax? And if not, why not? I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts.

I’m just trying to gain some clarity on this topic so I can take the appropriate action. Thanks

Michael Veazey Hi Kris. I don’t have the definitive answer. Possibly because there isn’t one! However I do have Mark from Avalava lined up to be interviewed so he should be able to shed some expert light on it. True he has a vested interest but at least he is a specialist in the field so it’s not just rumour and speculation.

I’ll let you know when he’s going to be on the show and let you ask questions to put to him.


I’m in Canada and spoke to an accountant here. He said according to the letter of the law we’re supposed to register for income & sales tax in every state where we sell our product. But he didn’t advise I worry about doing this yet because it’s so complicated and can possibly create rather than solve more problems when trying to do it. It’s also very unlikely that the IRS will come after me at this point as an international seller. We could also argue, in his opinion, that I don’t really have nexus in the US given that it’s a 3rd party that houses my inventory and I don’t have an official US business location. His advice was to wait until the business is at a much higher level and then work with an expert to bring the business more into compliance with US tax laws.

Watch What’s Your Amazon Reason Why?- thoughts from The River Thames in London

[video_page_section type=”youtube” position=”bottom” image=”” btn=”light” heading=”” subheading=”” cta=”” video_width=”1080″ hide_related=”false” hide_logo=”false” hide_controls=”false” hide_title=”false” hide_fullscreen=”false”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnuRNDcdRvo&feature=youtu.be[/video_page_section]

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