Pro-forma invoices… the subject of much debate and contention. May you use them? Will Customs accept them? Under what circumstances may they be used for clearance purposes?
Occasionally things go wrong. An invoice was issued by the supplier but the invoice is illegible. The supplier is not available to explain or has closed down.
How do you figure out what is in the consignment? What do you Customs clear?
All commercial invoices and supporting documents must be in one of the official languages of South Africa. SARS will only accept English as the official language for business purposes. This is also confirmed in the Rules to the Customs Control Act when referring to translations, i.e. Rule 41.29 (1).
Quite simply, one may not clear goods moving in to or out of South Africa through Customs without the existence of a commercial invoice.
The new Customs legislation states that the contents of an invoice must be a “true reflection” of the goods being imported or exported.
I like the commercial invoice. It is the one document which touches on nearly every party involved in the international trade process in one way or another. It also provides allot of information without being overly technical.