Customs declaration

Customs declaration

When you are sending a non–document outside of the European Union, of EFTA countries, the shipment has to be submitted to the destinations customs department. They will assess it for any import duty and or taxes that might be due for allowing it into the Country.  For further information on when duty and taxes are due, please have a look at this article click here.

Sending an invoice with an international shipment allows the customs office to understand:

1. The purpose of the shipment.

2. The contents and value of the shipment.

3. Who a shipment is from and to.

It enables the shipment to be correctly assessed by a customs officer from the destination Country.

You should supply a “Commercial Invoice” with your shipment when:

1. Sold goods are being Shipped.

The commercial invoice will have an invoice number, for the sale of the goods and provide information on the seller and the buyer of the goods. If the shipment has a value of over £100 a commodity code for the contents should also be on the invoice, to allow customs to easily and correctly identify the contents. The seller will usually also display identification reference such as their VAT registration number and or company number.

A  “Proforma Invoice”  is a document provided for customs purposes only, it explains all the information that a commercial invoice does, except that it is for contents that have not been sold.

It will show:

  •  The purpose of the shipment
  •  The Contents of the shipment
  •  The value of the contents for customs purposes only (as they have not been sold)
  • Who the sender of the shipment is
  •  Who the receiver of the shipment
  • The reason for the shipment
  • Show the reference number for the shipment and name of the carrier moving the shipment
  • The document will be dated

This document provides all the information that a customs officer needs to correctly assess/calculate if any import duty or taxes need to be charged for allowing the goods into the destination Country.  The “Proforma invoice” therefore covers all goods that have not been commercially sold. Usually, they will be created for shipments where the contents are Gifts, Personal Effects or Samples.

I hope that this clearly explains the difference between a “Commercial and Proforma Invoice” and when each should be used. However, if you have any questions, our knowledgeable customer service team are happy to answer any questions that you have, just get in touch.


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