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2 .The Invoice 2.

1 Types of invoice The most important form which the exporter has to prepare is the invoice; an invoice must accompany every shipment even if the goods are being supplied free of charge. The invoice is the basic document used in export, and every other document draws upon the information that appears on the invoice. The purpose is to confirm to the purchaser the terms of the transaction. There are several different types of invoice:(a) commercial invoice;(b) proforma invoice;(c) commercial invoice with declaration;(d) certified invoice;(e) legalised invoice;(f) consular invoice. It is advisable to print out invoices rather than completing them by hand. This is not a legal requirement, but customs delays are less likely if the invoices are easily read. There are several software packages available to produce invoices and other export documentation. Many countries insist on invoices being submitted in the language of the country of destination. Even when this is not a stipulation, it is good practice, and will help the goods through customs overseas more quickly. 2.2 Commercial invoice The most critical document in the export process, the commercial invoice links the contract of sale between the buyer and seller and gives details of the goods being purchased. It is issued by the exporter. An example of a commercial invoice is shown in Figure 1. The information which should appear on an invoice is listed below; .(a) Full name and address of the consignor and consignee. If available, include the telephone number of the consignee. (b) A full description of the goods. This should include: (i) the number of pieces; (ii) the dimensions of each parcel; (iii) the total weight of all items; (iv) a full and accurate description of the goods. This is essential for both customs and security procedures. Many companies tend to describe their goods vaguely (for example machinery parts) and these shipments are more likely to be delayed than those accurately described. Hence , it is recommended to give as much information as possible of the goods being shipped, for example; (c) The total number of items in each of the packages being despatched. (d) The tariff number of the item if this is available. (e) The total value of the goods. Even for samples and free of charge goods. (f) The reason for export: there should be a statement explaining whether the goods are being sold, are samples or are being sent for repair or processing. (g) The country of origin: this is important to ensure rates of duty are calculated correctly or imported duty free as the case may be. (h) Signature of exporter (this is the person responsible for sending the shipment). There are other items which have to be included on some commercial invoices: VAT registration number of the buyer this applies to transactions with other EU Member States details of the letter of credit if the goods are being shipped against a letter of credit (see Methods of export payment).

When sending fabrics, all countries require details of fibre content. Samples should be markedsample or cut off 1 inches and the invoice must state that the garment is mutilated. When samples are being sent free of charge, customs authorities require an invoice for customs purposes only. In this case the invoice is claused No commercial value. Value for customs purposes only. 2.3 Proforma invoice Proforma invoices are prepared by the exporter and may be needed by the importer for quotation purposes, to draw up a letter of credit or to apply for the foreign exchange to pay for the goods. This applies to markets with exchange controls, particularly in Africa and South America. The invoice is sent in advance of the goods, but does not differ from a standard commercial invoice. 2.4 Commercial invoice with declaration Certain countries may require a specific declaration to be included on the invoice in order to comply with certain import regulations in the country of destination. 2.5 Certified invoice Some countries require certified invoices, particularly when goods are being shipped against letter of credit (see , Methods of export payment). These are invoices which are certified by a Chamber of Commerce before goods are despatched. Exporters present the invoice to the IEA or a Chamber of Commerce, and they then stamp the document. The exporter lodges authorised signatures with the IEA or the local chambers who verify the signature before stamping the document. 2.6 Legalised invoice Occasionally, customs in the Middle East, require invoices to be both certified and legalised. After certification, invoices have to be presented to the embassy of the destination country for legalisation. This involves presentation of the certified invoices to the embassy who then attach their stamp to the documents. Points to remember when presenting legalised invoices are: (a) Allow sufficient time for presentation as goods should not be despatched before the invoices are legalised. Legalisation can take between five and seven working days depending on the embassy concerned, and whether or not there is an embassy in Dublin. (b) Embassies charge for legalisation either a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the transaction. Exporters should make allowance for what are often unexpected additional costs. The Irish Exporters Association offers a comprehensive one-stop-shop service for all invoice legalisation and visas. The close relationship between the Irish Exporters Association and the Department of Foreign Affairs and the various embassies can often speed up the legalisation process and minimise costs. The IEA Offer a legalization service for all exporters , and in a one stop shop cover all the Legalisation requirements . For further information contact: VISA/Legalisation, Irish Exporters Association,28, Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Tel. +353 1 661 2182 Tel. +353 1 661 2182Fax: +353 1 661 2315 ; e-mail: siobhanmckenna@irishexporters.ie 2.7 Consular invoice These are particularly common in South America. The details of the invoice are transferred onto a standard form prepared by the country of destination. The precise format of a consular invoice depends on the country of destination. All details and supporting paperwork should be submitted to

the countrys commercial section prior to the despatch of the goods. (In some cases, the exporters invoice is stamped and signed by the Consul of the importing county.) It is particularly important to: (a) allow sufficient time for the procedure to be completed usually several days; (b) make an allowance in the quotation for consular fees which are often based on the value of the consignment. A consular invoice is usually needed in addition to a normal commercial invoice