When it comes to discounting items, there is a chance that Customs may reject the discount on the commercial invoice. Additionally, offering coupons or discounts in your cart can cause a discrepancy between your order total and commercial invoice total, leading to a reconciliation issue.

Filling out the commercial invoice in a certain way may result in unexpected fees for the duties and taxes payer. Properly filling out the commercial invoice is critical because it influences how you calculate your total landed cost.

So what do you need to do?

The answer is...

Make sure to apply partial discounts on certain items or shipping costs accurately. For instance, if you offer a 10% discount on a pack of 10 units, the commercial invoice should reflect 9 units instead of 10.

However, things become more complicated when it comes to applying order-level discounts or discounts that bring an item or service's cost down to zero, such as BOGO or free shipping. Whenever possible, it's advisable to allocate the value of these discounts exclusively to the items.

In this article, you will learn how to fill out a commercial invoice correctly. Let's dive in:

Commercial Invoice for Sample Items:

When shipping a sample item overseas, you have make sure to provide a value, even it's free of charge for the consignee. If you have no idea what to add here, you can input at least the cost of the materials used to produce it.

You should also include a note on the commercial invoice stating that the consumer was not charged for the sample. Customs may conduct further investigations if they suspect that the valuation is inaccurate, and it's essential to recognize that all materials have intrinsic value.

See the commercial invoice below for more details:

  • You cannot input the Unit Value & Sub Total Value as zero.
  • Reason for Expert shall be "SAMPLE".

Commercial Invoice for Buy-one-get-one-free Item:

When offering a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) promotion, ensure that the commercial invoice reflects the discount inside the item.

If the item is listed at $0.00, the broker or Customs may impose an arbitrary dollar amount and charge duty and tax as appropriate. So, it's crucial to avoid leaving out any items on the commercial invoice because Customs may levy fees, flag your account, and create future problems.

In this case, make sure not to exclude the free item from the commercial invoice. We suggest you to add the quantity of products to be two with the same unit value.

See the commercial invoice below for more details:

  • You can add a quantity as 2 pieces:
  • Reason for Expert shall be "MERCHANDISE" if it is a purchased item.

Commercial Invoice for Free Shipping Item:

When offering free shipping, it's essential to extract a reasonable cost for the shipping services from the cost of the products.

Leaving the shipping amount blank or putting "zero (0)" on the commercial invoice may result in the broker/carrier using the full retail shipping cost, which can be costly.

Additionally, in countries where duty and tax can be applied to shipping, the broker may add an arbitrary shipping amount to the commercial invoice, resulting in high import duties and taxes.

To avoid that, it's critical to accurately reflect the true costs of the transaction when filling out a commercial invoice, as it can help lower the landed cost in some situations.

See the commercial invoice below for more details:

  • You can add a reasonable amount for the shipping fee.

Make sure to declare your shipment properly!

If you are an ecommerce merchant, you may already create shipping label and commercial invoice for your shipments. We hope this article make you understand how to create one for free sample item, BOGO item and free shipping item.

If you are currently doing that manually, you should check Ship&co out ! With Ship&co, you can create shipping label together with commercial invoice. All shipping details are synced from your online store.

No matter if you are on marketplace like eBay or ecommerct platform like Shopify, Ship&co can help you create proper documents and ship faster.

About Ship&co

Ship&co is a global shipping platform designed by and for e-commerce sellers. Created by the team behind Bento&co, who have been selling on Shopify since 2008, Ship&co provides a simple and easy-to-use web dashboard and shipping API. Ship&co helps online sellers ship packages faster by automatically syncing orders and creating shipping labels and commercial invoices in minutes. With Ship&co, you can create shipping labels for FedEx, UPS, DHL, NinjaVan, Yamato, Sagawa, and more, with just two clicks to complete the process and mark your orders as shipped. For more information on Ship&co, visit shipandco.com or reach out to us via hello@shipandco.com !