Why the information on your invoice is more important than you think
27 February 2023
Each shipment you send is accompanied by an invoice. Makes sense, but it is often underestimated. Because what is actually important to include on an invoice? What should absolutely not be missing and what are the consequences of incorrect information for you? We are happy to explain which details are important for correct processing.
Invoicing and digitisation
A 100% correct invoice. It seems so easy, but did you know that things go wrong all the time? Errors often lead to annoyance, unnecessary extra time, and sometimes – unfortunately – additional costs or fines too.
Previously, many invoices were manually checked and comments were fed back personally. Since the emergence of digitisation, many processes have been automated and therefore changed.
Applications take a lot of work off our hands, but do need to be fed with the right information. It will not be apparent immediately if something is entered incorrectly. As such, it has become even more important that information is supplied correctly.
Prevention is better than a cure
So, it is a fact that staying in charge yourself is important. But why should your invoice contain certain information? The Customs office indicated some time ago that they would tighten enforcement and checks. This is in response to the large number of incomplete and unclear declarations they receive.
Together with Customs, Ritra Cargo – as AEO certified forwarder – is trying to improve the quality of declarations. It all starts with a correct and complete invoice. You, as the shipper, play a responsible role in this. If the details on your invoice are correct, our customs declarants can act quickly. Also, a complete declaration is usually processed faster by Customs. The result is fewer customs checks, corrections, and sanctions such as additional charges.
Speeding up your declaration
What can you do to speed up the processing of your declaration? What should you do to avoid problems and delays? Below are two everyday examples.
Example 1: In order to calculate the import duties correctly, it is important to include the correct delivery condition on the invoice. Is it not there? Then, unfortunately, our declarants are not able to make the correct declaration and calculate the import duties.
Example 2: A goods description has to answer the question What is it? Some invoices do not contain a detailed description and lack the specific trade name of the goods. By adding the brand/product number as well as the main characteristics of the goods, such as material, contents, properties, and functionality to the description, our declarants can give you better advice about a commodity code.
Here is an example involving shirts. The commodity code received is 6205300000. However, this commodity code does not yet specify the material: synthetic versus artificial fibres.
Our declarants will add the information you provide to the declaration, so that Customs can check it more easily. In this paragraph, taken from a letter sent by Customs to Ritra Cargo, they pose the following:
A handy checklist
As a handy reference or to refresh your knowledge, we have listed the minimum requirements that an invoice must meet:
- Invoice number + invoice date
- Invoice amount and currency
- Agreed delivery condition + place (Incoterms)
- Name and address of supplier
- Name and address of buyer
- Number of boxes + weight
- Description of the goods (trade name)
- Material the item is made of (characteristics)
Some shipments need a little extra attention. This could include shipments with licensed goods or royalties, or invoices that require a correct REX declaration if you are importing from an APS country.
If you have any questions about your invoices, please get in touch with your Ritra Cargo contact person. He or she would be happy to offer an extra pair of eyes and offer suitable advice if needed.
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