VATLive > Blog > Europe > EU & UK ecommerce commercial invoices and declarations

EU and UK ecommerce commercial invoices and declarations

  • Jan 20, 2021 | Richard Asquith

Following EU ecommerce VAT package (Jul 2021) and UK ecommerce reforms (Jan 2021), sellers and facilitating marketplaces will have to include customs commercial invoices or declarations (CN22 and CN23 forms) with their import shipments of goods to consumers. This relates to imported consignments sold under €150 or £135 for the EU and UK, respectively.

What is a parcel declaration

A customs commercial invoice provides basic details for customs to understand the nature of goods, buyer and seller and what import taxes (customs duties/tariffs and VAT) are due. Most shipments will also require a customs declaration, too. Failure to include one will generally mean blocked deliveries and disappointed customers. When the shipments are above the rules of origin thresholds, a statement of origin is also required on the invoice.

Information required:

  • Description of the goods
  • Indicating if sales of goods/gift/return
  • Commodity code based on global WTO Harmonise Systems tariff codes 6-digits for UK. EU demands further two digits
  • Country of origin of the goods listed where the goods were produced, manufactured or assembled
  • Sellers name and address
  • GB or EU EORI number

CN22 and CN23 customs declarations for parcels

For parcels, either a CN22 or CN23 customs declaration form must be included with the above parcels. Packages weighing up to two kilograms with a value of up to €425 (£270 for UK) require a CN22 customs declaration.  The CN23 is used for packages weighing from two to 20 kilograms with a value of €425 (£279 for UK) or more.

The CN22 form is less detailed than the CN23 form. Often, it is attached to the address side of the parcel in the form of a sticker. The CN23 form contains more detail. It can be attached to the outside of the parcel in a transparent envelope along with a CP71 form*. If possible, attach this envelope on the same side as the shipping label.

* The CP71 form must be included as a supplement to the CN23. It serves as an address card. Make sure this document is enclosed in the transparent envelope and visibly attached to the parcel in cases where you do not wish for the carriers of the shipment to be able to see what the contents of the parcel are from the CN23 form.


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: richard.asquith@avalara.com. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2020 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard trained as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.
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