Shippers all over the world have to prepare invoices that are used for export Customs clearance and in most cases, these same invoices are used for import Customs clearance in destination countries. Although there are no internationally mandated standard formats that invoices need to follow, let’s look at a few pieces of information an invoice should have to minimize Customs clearance issues at export and import.

  1. Date of invoice
  2. Unique invoice number
  3. Payment terms
  4. Purchase Order number (if available)
  5. Seller’s name
  6. Seller’s unique identification number
  7. Seller’s business address
  8. Delivery address
  9. Seller’s contact information
  10. Buyer’s name
  11. Buyer’s business address
  12. Buyer’s contact information
  13. Description of the cargo
  14. Quantity of cargo
  15. Value of the cargo
  16. Country of origin of cargo
  17. Amount being charged to the buyer
  18. Amount being charged to the buyer in local currency
  19. Invoice payment options
  20. Incoterm used for the sale
  21. HS code of the cargo
  22. ECCN or similar export control identification number
  23. Value Added Tax/Goods and Services Tax payable

Do I include bank details on invoices?

This is a common question and area of concern for sellers who wish to protect information that could be sensitive. However, if the buyer is expected to make payment to the seller’s bank then it is inevitable that all necessary be provided. If there is any concern with security of shared information, the seller can instead provide the bank details in the sales contract.

Clauses to include on an invoice?

If using Free Trade Agreements that allow self-certification, the seller may need to include clauses that allow the importer to exempt himself/herself from paying import duties, wherever applicable. For the purpose of due diligence, the exporter may also wish to include clauses relating to export controls and sanctions to inform the buyer not to re-sell or re-export the cargo without the shipper’s knowledge.

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