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International customs regulations in e-commerce

FLEX. will help you streamline customs clearance in the European Union. Our local customs brokerage consultants can help you deal with bureaucratic burdens and avoid delays.

Customs duty is a commonly used term in international shipping and refers to any customs duties, tariffs or taxes levied on goods in connection with their exportation and importation through the customs frontiers of a country. These costs may vary depending on the type of product and your country. They are an additional fee that must be paid in addition to the payment for the shipment of goods. Each country has its own guidelines and customs regulations. No matter what you send, our web tools will tell you what to expect.

Who pays duties, fees or taxes?

When your goods arrive at the border inspection post of the EU, your shipment will be charged duties, tariffs or taxes that must be paid before it is delivered to its destination. Depending on the quantity or value of your goods and where the shipment was delivered, these costs may be zero.

The obligation to pay customs duties is often agreed in advance in the terms of sale between the sender and the recipient of the shipment.

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Commercial invoice for the customs clearance in e-commerce

For cargo import and export shipments in the EU, three copies of the Commercial Invoice are required. Such invoices can be prepared on the letterhead or on a document prepared by you. They must contain all the required by the customs office shipping information:

  • The name and address of the sender (seller) as shown on the address label, including contact person and telephone number. If you are the sender, please provide your full business details, VAT and EORI numbers.
  • Recipient’s name and address (Ship To), including destination country and zip code as shown on the address label. To ensure fast delivery, the name of a contact person and a telephone number must be provided. If you are the recipient, please provide your full business details, VAT and EORI numbers.
  • The date of the invoice.
  • Order number or invoice number, if applicable.
  • Name and address of the buyer (importer), if different from the recipient, including name and contact telephone number.
  • Full description of each item shipped. What is this item?
  • What is the item made of? What is it used for? (Include Harmonized Customs Codes if known.)
  • Country of origin. Where was the item manufactured?
  • The number of units, the unit value, and the total value of each item. In the case of samples or articles of no commercial value, indicate the nominal or market value for customs purposes.
  • Declared Value.
  • The total value of the shipment, including the billing currency.
  • Reason for the export. For example: sales, repair, intercompany shipping.
  • Terms of sale (Incoterms), which specify the charges included in the total invoice value. For example: Paid by Sender.
  • The number of packages and the total weight of the packages.
  • Sender’s signature and date.