Commercial Invoices: ARTA’s How-to Guide

Navigating export documents can limit global business expansion due to tedious requirements, and varying rules dependent on the Export Country, Import Country, and Object Value.

For clients looking for commercial invoice support, ARTA’s Electronic Customs Documents feature expedites this process for streamlined efficiency. Additionally, for clients who prefer to manage export documentation themselves, we explain how to fill out a commercial invoice and the information required to export your item with ARTA.

Why do I need a commercial invoice?

A commercial invoice is provided by the person or business that is exporting an item across international borders; it serves as the shipment’s customs document and a customs declaration. 

Commercial invoices consistently need a few specific pieces of information. Below is an example of a general invoice. You can use your own commercial invoice format as long as it includes all the required information. 

Common invoice requirements:

  • Date of Sale
  • Exporter Name
  • Exporter Address
  • Exporter Tax ID
  • Consignee Name
  • Consignee Address
  • Description of goods
  • Quantity
  • Value
  • Country of origin
  • HS Code (This website is helpful when discerning which code to use)

Sample invoice:

Click here to view a PDF version of this image

*While ARTA cannot legally fill out these forms on your behalf, we can generate them with our Electronic Customs Documents feature.  

Generating commercial invoices with ARTA’s ECD

ARTA’s Electronic Customs Documents (ECD) feature assumes the responsibility of creating customs documentation. ARTA understands each shipment’s unique requirements due to our experience in international logistics. The ECD feature’s automated workflow collects the necessary information from the exporter and generates the required documents, including commercial invoices, so you don’t have to.

To learn more about how ARTA’s ECD helps streamline international compliance, click here.

Commonly used vocabulary:

  1. Shipper/Exporter: Also referred to as the Seller, Sender, or Merchant, this is the person or legal entity that receives the monetary benefit from an export transaction. 
  1. Shipper Details: Company Name, Street Address, Contact Name, Contact Phone and/or Fax Number, Email Address, and Country from where the shipment is being shipped from
  1. Consignee: The consignee refers to the buyer or recipient. This person or entity is ultimately the person responsible for paying any customs duties.
  1. Intermediate Consignee: An agent working for the principal party in interest who accepts the shipment on behalf of the consignee. An intermediate consignee could be a bank, forwarding agent, or another person. (This term is fairly uncommon and does not apply if shipping directly to the consignee.)
  1. Date: Date the item is being shipped.
  1. Invoice No.: Check that the invoice number matches each document.
  1. Currency Used: Identify the currency in which the transaction is being processed
  1. Final Destination: Location where the item is being shipped
  1. HS Code: HS numbers are used by customs authorities around the world to classify products when assessing duties and taxes and for gathering statistics. This link here is helpful when selecting the HS code.
  1. Tax IDs:

Keep in mind that the information below is a general overview. Be sure to check the appropriate country’s official customs site as requirements may change over time.

  • EIN – Tax ID that the US government uses to identify business entities located in the US. You can apply for an EIN here.
  • Social Security Number -A social security number can be used in lieu of an EIN for US Exports if the shipment is under $2,500 and is shipped with a parcel carrier.
  • EORI – A number provided by the European Union that serves as a reference number for communication with customs authorities. You can learn more here.
  • VAT – A UK-specific code similar to an EIN or EORI. A company’s VAT (value-added tax) number is the same as its related EORI number, however, with the prefix ‘GB’ and the suffix ‘000’. You can read more here.
  1. POA: A “Power of Attorney” or POA is sometimes required when someone transacts “customs business” on behalf of a corporation. A POA is also required any time a third party transacts “customs business” on behalf of an individual or partnership.

FAQ‘s

  1. Why do I have to provide my SSN? 

A social security number is required by US Customs in import declarations if the item is over $2,500 and if you do not have an EIN. 

  1. What if I don’t feel comfortable providing my SSN?

You can provide an EIN number in place of an SSN. You can apply for an EIN here.

  1. How do I know if I have the right HS code? 

HS codes are fairly straightforward. This official harmonized system code website is helpful when discerning which code applies.

To get in touch with someone at ARTA please reach out at hello@arta.io.

Rachael Gilpin
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About ARTA

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology.

ARTA’s software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.

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