An invoice is the seller’s bill for merchandise and contains particulars of goods, such as the price per unit at a particular location, quantity, total value, packing specifications, terms of sale, identification marks of the package, bill of lading number, name and address of the importer, destination, name of the ship etc.
Some importing countries insist that the invoice should be signed by the importing country’s consul located in the exporter’s country. Such invoice signed by the consul is known as consular invoice. The main purposes of a consular invoice is to enable the authorities of the importing country to collect accurate information about the volume, value, quality, grade, source etc, of its imports for purpose of assessing import duties and also for statistical purposes.
There are special invoicing procedures in respect of exports to certain countries like the USA, Canada ad Australia. Special customs invoices are also required for some countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Mexico, and Sudan. For many countries there are no special invoice forms; the exporters may use their own invoice form containing the particulars required.
The special invoice forms for various countries may be obtained from any recognized Chamber of commerce. Exporters may consult the respective Export Promotion Councils regarding the correct producers and invoice forms for different countries.
Packing Note and list:
The difference between a packing note and a packing list is that the packing note refers to the particular of the contents of an individual pack, while the packing list is a consolidated statement of the contents of a number of cases or packs.
A packing note should number the date of packing, the name and address of the exporter, the name and address of the importer, the order number, date, shipment per S/S, bill of lading number and date, marking numbers, case numbers to which the notes relates, and the contents of the goods in terms of quantity and weight. Apart from the details in the packing note, a packing list should include item wise details.
No particular form has been prescribed for the packing note or packing list. Normally, ten copies pf the packing note/list should be prepared. The first is to be sent with shipping documents, two copies in advance to the buyer, one to the shipping agent and the remaining retained by the exporter.
Certificate of Origin:
A certificate of origin, as the name indicates, is a certificate which specifies the country of the production of the goods. This Certificate has also to be produced before clearance of gods and assessment if duty, for the customs law of the country may require this procedure. This certificate is a necessity where a country offers a preferential tariff to India and the former is to ensure that only goods of Indian origin benefit from such concession. A certificate of origin may be required when goods of a particular type from certain countries are banned.
A certificate of origin form may be obtained from Chambers of Commerce, Export Promotion Councils and various trade associations which have been authorized by the Government.
It is very important all the items in the invoice, packing list and markings on the cases or cartons tally. For a larger consignment having tens of cartons the customs in Importer’s country like India may check about 5 to 20% of the goods opening them at warehouses of the port. The packing list items and quantities must exactly tally for the said case or carton. Any discrepancy is taken by authorities as mis-declaration and importer then will be liable for penalties by way of additional duty. It is better the importer educates his supplier in the foreign country proper documentation and how the items must tally casewise.