Many types of documents describe the transaction between a seller and a client; they all mention the products or services, the price, and the delivery date.
But the commercial invoice is mainly issued for customs purposes, so that they can determine the value of customs duties. Companies have to use a commercial invoice form when they deliver any product; paper documents are the only exception.
Since it is used at the customs office, this document also has to mention any hazards the shipment may present. A well-drafted commercial invoice makes sure your package doesn’t stay at the customs office longer than it should.
What Is a Commercial Invoice?
As the name states, it’s a type of invoice. The commercial invoice is a document that the seller has to issue as part of the legal paperwork during any business transaction.
It’s an invoice that clearly mentions all the products that the seller is delivering, the price, as well as any distinct aspects of the package.
The primary purpose of the commercial invoice is to be presented to the customs employee so that they can calculate the amount you need to pay as customs duties. The commercial invoice format is highly used in international commercial transactions.
Why Should You Use a Commercial Invoice?
Customs issues are the main reason for delays when it comes to international deliveries. Since no business wants that, it’s best to issue this type of invoice using a commercial invoice template, as correctly as possible, to avoid any customs problems.
These are the main reasons using a commercial invoice is in your advantage:
- You avoid delays. It will be much easier for the customs officer to identify the products in the package and establish the customs duties if they are facing a well-written and complete commercial invoice. That way, the time your package spends at the customs office will be significantly reduced.
- Customs security can easily acknowledge the contents of the package. Even if there is nothing out of order or illegal inside the box, if the commercial invoice doesn’t clearly describe every item, customs security will have to further examine the package. That translates into delays in delivering the products to the client.
- The commercial invoice provides the previous tracking of the package. If the customs employees can clearly see the history of the package, the information on its origin, and the countries it has transited, they will have no reason to keep it longer than usual.
To get an idea of how useful these documents are and why you should use one, you need to see how widely they are used.
These are the most frequently used types of commercial invoice: Canadian Commercial Invoice, FedEx Commercial Invoice, DHL Commercial Invoice, UPS Commercial Invoice, and USPS Commercial Invoice.
What to Include in a Commercial Invoice?
Using a commercial invoice template is the best way to make sure the document you issue is complete and efficient. And since it is crucial for going through the customs, the commercial invoice needs to be drafted with the utmost care.
These are the elements any fillable commercial invoice must include:
- The identifying information of the seller/shipper: name and address.
- The identifying information of the buyer/consignee: name and address.
- The main terms of the sale, including the price the buyer has paid. It should also include currency information.
- The reason for the export.
- A detailed description of every item in the package, including material and any other relevant mentions.
- The name of each item and their purpose.
- All the information necessary to determine if the product requires Harmonized Tariff Codes.
- The location where each item was manufactured.
- How many items are in the package and the individual price for each of them.
- The net and gross weight of each item and the number of packages.
- The date of the shipment and the shipper’s name and signature.
If you are shipping an object that has no commercial value, then you must write an estimation or a fair market value on the commercial invoice.
Another aspect that could speed up the process at the customs office is writing the information in both languages. Use both that of the country of origin and the country of import.
International deliveries are crucial for the world’s economy, and many businesses need to receive items from other countries to keep their activity going. Such a document, like the commercial invoice, is essential and must be treated with a lot of attention.
It’s the written proof of what the package contains that the customs office needs to clear the package and calculate the customs duties. To avoid delays on your shipments, create your commercial invoices using the commercial invoice template from CocoSign.