As a legal document, it is one of the most important in international trade. The Commercial
Invoice is provided by the shipper and serves as a contract and evidence of sale between the
buyer and seller.
The commercial Invoice contains information about the shipment, including mainly a description, the value of the goods and also the shipper information. A commercial invoice is part of the documentation for importing or exporting and it is, therefore, required for customs clearance purposes to calculate and assess the duties and taxes due.
The commercial invoice is mainly used for detailing the price, value, and quantity of the
goods that are being sold. It should also include the trade or sale conditions agreed
upon by both buyer and seller of the transaction being carried out.
It can also be necessary for payment purposes (e.g. in the event of payment via Letter of Credit) and may need to be issued by the buyer to its bank to instruct the release of funds to the seller for payment.
The commercial invoice is considered the official document when exporting or
importing. It means that the information detailed in the CI (Commercial Invoice)
should be the final information. However, it can be adjusted if needed.
Besides the commercial invoice, there are other documents, which are not considered official documents, therefore, they can't be used for dealing with the customs, for example. The two most popular documents are Pro-forma Invoice and the Purchase Order.
Pro-forma Invoice : It’s very similar to an estimate or a quote. The Pro-forma invoice gives your buyer an estimate of the costs of products or services they’re purchasing.
Purchase Order : It contains details similar to those found on an invoice, but it’s issued by a buyer to serve as an offer to the seller.
Both the Pro-forma Invoice and Purchase Order are considered “Pre-Invoice”, they are a type of “commercial invoice draft”.
Because it is a legal document, it is legally required to fill it out accurately. If there is any failure to do so, it might result in lengthy hold-ups and shipping delays. Remember that the CI is used for customs declaration purposes, so any misinformation may lead to underpayment of the correct amount of duties and taxes due and their legal ramifications.
As we’ve noticed, filling out the commercial invoice is an important task. Given that, it is extremely important to make sure that the information described is clear and precise