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The key to smooth customs handling is a correct and completed commercial invoice. Customs authorities need this to assess possible taxes and duties. Filling it out correctly helps to avoid delays.
To help you complete your commercial invoice, we've prepared an easy-to-use template. Please note: This template is provided for guidance purposes. Completion & submission of the commercial invoice is the responsibility of the signature entity.
The majority of EU destinations do not require a commercial invoice but there are some exceptions.
Description of goods
This gives the customs authorities a clear indication of what's in your shipment. The description should explain what it is, what it's made of, and what it's used for (if applicable). It should be clear and describe all items included in the shipment.
Harmonised Tariff Codes
The Harmonised System (HS codes) classifies goods so customs authorities know which taxes, duties, and controls may apply. Including a code to your commercial invoice helps speed up the customs process. Find out more about HS codes.
Even if the item is a sample, gift or return, it still has a value of at least the production costs. The value should be as accurate as possible. If customs question your valuation, it could cause delays and penalties. One further tip, list the value of the goods in the currency you specify on the invoice.
This describes where the goods are manufactured. It can be different to where the goods are shipped from. In certain cases, a Certificate of Origin might be required. For further information on the Certificate of Origin, please contact your local Chamber of Commerce.
You need to fill out Terms of Sale (Incoterms) on every commercial invoice. Incoterms® 2010 are a globally recognised standard established by the International Chamber of Commerce. They let customs authorities identify the owner of the shipment at every moment in its journey.
If you have a sales contract, it will specify Incoterms. If you don't have a sales contract, you need to choose one of the Incoterms that applies to your shipments for transport by land or air. For example, DAP (Delivered at Place) means that you as a sender pay for the shipping, but the receiver is responsible for taxes and duties.
Now you can see how to get through customs smoothly with a correct commercial invoice. You can fill out your own, or save time and use our commercial invoice template.