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What Needs To Be On A Commercial Invoice?

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

When creating a commerical or pro-forma invoice for customs purposes, there are a few essentials that need to be covered. ACT have listed the key points for you below.

It's one of, if not the most important document when it comes to getting your customs paperwork completed, so it's vital to ensure you have all of the required information included to help prevent any delays. The invoice will also help any applicable taxes and duties be calculated so it's important that the details are correct.

Header Level

  • The word 'invoice' must be included - If you are shipping goods for sale, you will need a commercial invoice, if your consignment has no commercial value (e.g. personal gifts or items), then it would be a pro-forma invoice

  • Both the sending and receiving companies names, addresses and VAT/EORI numbers - If the buyer and seller are different to the sending and receiving companies, it's helpful to include these details too

  • The date of the invoice

  • The invoice number

Item Level

  • HS/Commodity Code - If you are unsure on how to classify your goods, you can view our blog post on the topic here. Although it is acceptable to use the 8 digit code, it's always helpful to use the full 10 digit commodity code.

  • Description - It's best practice to have a description in English, that would be a clear and accurate description of the goods in the consignment. An easy way method to thinking about your description would be to consider "could a customs officer easily identify what these goods are should they inspect the truck and the paperwork?" It's better to say "LED Television" than a particular model number of "XYZABCLED" for example.

  • Quantity of the goods

  • Weight - Ideally, you would include both a gross and net weight on your invoice

  • Values - It's good to have both an individual value, and a total value for each item to include any with multiple quantities

  • Country of Origin - You may prefer to do a declaration of origin instead stating something like "The Exporter of the product covered by this document, declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of UK Preferential Origin (EORI GB123456789000)

  • Number of packages

Terms of Sale

  • Incoterms

  • Freight/transport costs

  • Insurance costs

  • Total invoice value & currency - This would include the freight/transport & insurance costs

  • Reason for the shipment - There are many reasons that a shipment could take place, the most common being general sale, but this could also include Outward Processing, Returns or Repairs amongst others many others. Your customs agents will need to know this information to accurately complete your declaration

  • Shipper's signature and date

There are many templates and examples online that show you various ways of completing your commercial invoice, and we have included an example below to help get you started.

Commercial Invoice Template
Download PDF • 41KB


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