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Back to news... 16 September 2011 Ensure Your Parcel Paperwork Is In Order

The major item that comes with shipping parcels is making sure that the correct paperwork is in order before you ship and that the goods conform to the rules and regulations of the country concerned. There are a number of items that require the correct paperwork and very often it is necessary to get proof of some of the information that you may require. It is also often necessary to supply funds to pay for the local taxation and customs and/or excise duties before the parcel is delivered or at the latest when the parcel is delivered.

In most countries small value goods which are sent in parcel form as gifts have no duty and generally tend to have a description of the item and value written on the outside label of the parcel. These goods are usually only subject to scrutiny to see that they are as described on the parcel. Once the value exceeds the minimum for the country they become liable for customs duties and also VAT or Value Added Tax or a similar local tax. Very often these 2 items have a different starting level but in most countries they are collected by the same customs or tax authority.

Invariably at this stage the paperwork required for your parcel delivery increases quite markedly. The first thing that is required is the Invoice for the Goods from the supplier and this will have to be on the companies note paper and duly signed. It must contain a full description of the goods enclosed as well as their value. It is common practice that several copies may be required.

A Bill of Lading is usually required (often several copies) of all the goods that are included. Often an insurance certificate will be required and sometimes a transport invoice will be required. Customs and VAT is usually charged ad valorum which basically means that the customs and value added tax is charged as a percentage on the value of the goods. It is usual to count the cost of goods as the price that is on the invoice plus the cost of transport and insurance, in other words the price delivered.

The accurate value of the goods is essential and must coincide with what the customer is being charged. If the customs office believes the goods are underpriced it usually reserves the right to fix an invoice price themselves for the purposes of charging duty.

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