What is a commercial invoice?

Commercial invoice (definition)

A commercial invoice is a document used in international shipping. It gives information about the product being sent, including:

  • what the item is
  • the seller and buyer
  • the date and terms of the sale
  • the quantity and weight
  • the value of each individual item
  • the total value of the package
  • any insurance and shipping costs

Customs officials use commercial invoices to work out the value of the goods being traded. This is so they can work out tariffs, which are taxes imposed on imported goods.

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This glossary is for small business owners. The definitions are written with their requirements in mind. More detailed definitions can be found in accounting textbooks or from an accounting professional. Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice.