What is Import Export Code

The commercial invoice in import and export - 7 points to avoid queries

The commercial invoice plays a special role in imports. The data contained there form the basis for a large part of the customs declaration and for the customs value declaration. If certain information is missing there, this information must be communicated in another way. Whether you have your own customs department or an external service provider - investing in the completeness of the data at this point pays off for everyone involved. Because the customs declaration is a tax return. We have summarized the seven most important items of the commercial invoice for you, which are important for customs clearance without delay and time-consuming queries.

      1. Description of goods or unique article number - Convincing the supplier to include a sufficient description of the goods in the commercial invoice for the customs declaration is certainly not easy to organize. For each article that is imported, information about the material and quality, and also about the intended use of the goods are of decisive importance for the classification of the goods in the customs tariff. An alternative is the option for the supplier to include the importer's article numbers in the commercial invoice. In this way, a clear assignment can be made possible via article lists. Information on the HS code in the commercial invoice provides an indication of which product group it could be, but the HS code is not sufficient for the exact determination of the customs tariff number. Other measures such as anti-dumping duties, agricultural duties, excise duties and authorization requirements also depend on the customs tariff number.

      3. Full address details of the buyer and seller - In practice, incomplete address data is always a frequent reason for queries. Completeness is so important because this data is used for the tax assessment and the sanctions list check is also carried out on the basis of this data.

      5. Terms of delivery (Incoterms ™) - The basis for the calculation of the customs value is usually the CIF value free border of the EU, i.e. all costs including sea / air freight up to the external EU border and the insurance premium. Information such as “freight collect” or “freight prepaid” on the Bill of Lading or Airway Bill only relate to the place of payment and say nothing about the costs that are already included in the invoice price - or not.
        In addition to many other costs that are often forgotten when calculating the customs value, the lack of the delivery condition on the invoice is one of the most common reasons for queries.

      7. Quantity and value per item - In addition to the customs formalities, the customs declaration also fulfills statistical declaration obligations. This often requires information about the exact amount. If this information is missing in the customs declaration, the message is automatically rejected by the customs plausibility check - and here, too, leads to a guaranteed inquiry. Since the number of items does not have to be specified for all imports, we recommend including this information on the commercial invoice. This keeps the effort low and ensures that this information is always available when it is needed.

      9. Free deliveries (F.O.C. - free of charge) - A customs value must also be specified for goods delivered free of charge. Since there is no transaction value for these items, alternative methods of customs value calculation must be used. Is there a value on the invoice for the same item? Has the same product been imported before? Or are there similar goods that give a clue? Specifying fictitious values ​​of goods is not permitted. The method of calculating the customs value is subject to fixed rules. Contact your Porath account manager if you need assistance.

      11. Total price and currency - In order to be able to check the completeness of multi-page documents, it is important that the total price is also visible on the invoice. As the customs value usually has to be converted into euros, information about the currency in which the invoice was issued is also required.

      13. Sales tax identification number for intra-community delivery - In the case of imports with subsequent intra-Community delivery in procedure 42, the commercial invoice must also meet the legal requirements. This includes specifying the purchaser's sales tax identification number on the commercial invoice. If a fiscal representative is also involved, there must be a reference to the fiscal representative, as well as the name and sales tax ID of the fiscal representative on the invoice.


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