Why do I need a bill of lading?

4 May, 2022 logistics trends

If you are venturing into the world of exports and imports, you have probably already heard this term. Here we tell you the most important information about this document. 

Also called transfer CFDI, the bill of lading is a tax receipt that supports exporters before the authority, proving the ownership of all goods transferred, so it becomes very accurate. 

The Digital Tax Receipt by Internet (CFDI) is a fundamental legal document for transporting and supplying merchandise, legitimately supported by article 581 of the commercial code, which states that the person transporting merchandise must provide a bill of lading to the shipper. 

Likewise, the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) requires federal cargo transportation service permit holders to issue a duly completed bill of lading complying with the transport legislation for each shipment. 

For SAT (acronym for Tax Administration Service), on the other hand, "the owners of domestic merchandise (...) may only evidence the transportation of such merchandise by means of the Digital Tax Receipt by Internet (CFDI) or a printed receipt issued by themselves". 

Therefore, it is very important for both companies and logistics operators to have this procedure in place, and for carriers to be aware of the general indications on the use of the forms and instructions. 

In consolidated transactions, all types of transfers must be associated with the transfer CFDI. That is, according to tax regulations, it is mandatory for merchandise carriers to have it, even for transfers between their own stores or allocations.

It is also used as a transportation contract, when the company hires a third party for this service, who in turn issues the transfer CFDI. 

In addition, this document evidences the legal stay and/or possession of the goods or merchandise during nationwide transfers, and to identify their origin and destination, as well as to inform about the merchandise, origins, midpoints, destinations, owners, renters, and operators involved in the transfer of the merchandise. 

What is required to apply? 

The bill of lading must meet these requirements: 

  1. Name, last name, and shipper's address 
  2. Name, last name, and carrier's address 
  3. Name, last name, and address of the person to whom the effects are addressed
  4. The designation of the effects, their general quality, their weight and the external marks or signs of the packages in which they are contained 
  5. Transportation prices 
  6. Date of issue 
  7. Place of delivery to the carrier 
  8. Place and time of delivery to the consignee 
  9. The compensation to be paid by the carrier in case of delay if there is an agreement in this regard. 

In addition, SAT states that such document must contain the passenger data identification and the means of transportation used by the person departing or arriving in the country, as the case may be, in addition to: 

  1. The quantity, unit of measurement and kind of goods or merchandise or description of the service or its usage.
  2. The unit value 
  3. The total amount 

In the case of imports, it is necessary to consider: 

  • The number and date of the customs document, in the case of first-hand sales.
  • If the import is for a third party: number and date of the customs document, concepts and amounts paid by the taxpayer to the foreign supplier, and the amounts of taxes paid for the import.

How the bill of lading is applied 

According to the regulations, the bill of lading is in favor of the carrier during the transfer, since carrying this document makes it legitimate. 

Once the contract is fulfilled, the bill of lading must be returned, and with the exchange of this title, the obligations and actions are canceled, except when in the same act it is stated, in writing, some type of claim that the parties would like to reserve. 

If you are a carrier, remember that if the electronic invoice you issue to your clients for transportation services does not include the bill of lading complement, they will not be able to use it to cover deductions. 

Finally, it is important to note that this document strengthens formal trade and helps to combat informality and smuggling, so ensuring its correct processing and use is part of a healthier trade for everyone.

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