Understanding the Commercial Invoice

A well-prepared commercial invoice is crucial for ensuring that shipments are delivered quickly and accurately. This guide will explain what a commercial invoice includes, why accuracy is essential, and provide detailed instructions on how to properly complete one.

What is a Commercial Invoice?

A commercial invoice is a legal document between a seller and a buyer that details the products sold and the payment due. It is used by customs to determine duties and is necessary for international trade. The commercial invoice acts as a customs declaration by the exporter and must include specific information such as the identities of the seller and buyer, a description of the goods, the country of manufacture, and the Harmonized System codes. Typically, a commercial invoice will also require a statement of accuracy and a signature from the issuer.

Is a Commercial Invoice Always Necessary?

For e-commerce shipments, a commercial invoice is mandatory, whereas postal shipments may require a CN22 or CN23 form. To avoid delays, it's recommended to always include all necessary documentation.

The Importance of an Accurate Commercial Invoice

Accuracy in completing a commercial invoice is crucial because:

  • It prevents delays caused by discrepancies.
  • It ensures goods are properly classified, and correct taxes and duties are applied.
  • It meets legal requirements for international shipping.

How to Accurately Complete a Commercial Invoice

To avoid issues and ensure timely delivery, the commercial invoice should include:

  • Your Address: Identifies the sender.
  • The Receiver’s Address: Specifies the destination of the goods.
  • The Tariff Code and Description of the Goods: Essential for customs to determine appropriate taxes and duties.
  • The Reason for Export: Clarifies the purpose of the shipment (e.g., commercial, gift, sample).
  • The Value of the Goods and Currency: Indicates the cost of the goods in the currency of the destination country.
  • The Delivery Terms: Details who is responsible for shipping costs and taxes.
  • Your VAT and EORI Numbers: Identifies you as a registered trader; these are obtainable from your local tax authority.
  • Your Signature: Validates the accuracy of the information on the invoice.

Additional Resources

For further assistance, you can download commercial invoice templates from our website, where you'll also find additional guidance and a helpful YouTube tutorial on filling out your commercial invoices.

By adhering to these guidelines and utilizing the available resources, you can ensure compliance with commercial invoice requirements and facilitate efficient and reliable deliveries for your business.

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