Pro Forma Invoice Under GST - Meaning, Template & When it is Used?

A pro forma is a document made before the actual sale of goods or services. This document is issued by the retailer or supplier to the customer or buyer who is enquiring for the goods or services. It is issued before the issue of commercial invoice or tax invoice.

Concept of Pro forma Invoice

Some of us may misread the proforma invoice as INVOICE but both are not the same

  • It is a document that provides information regarding the particulars of the goods and services that are yet to be delivered to the buyer or customer whereas Invoice is issued once the supply of goods or services is made or advance for supply of goods or services is received.
  • Proforma Invoice is a kind of formal statement which describes the estimated price of goods or services which can be revoked or renegotiated at any time.
  • The major content in proforma invoice states estimated applicable taxes, shipping costs, commissions, weight of shipment and so on.

Which details are included in Pro-forma Invoice?

In addition to those stated in the previous section like estimated sales quantity, price, costs and commissions etc a proforma invoice must have the following particulars :

  • Unique invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Seller and buyer details (including GSTIN,if any)
  • Validity of the pro forma invoice
  • Proposed terms of sale and payment if any
  • Subtotal before tax or deductions
  • Details of discounts if any
  • Tax and deductions allowed if any
  • Total amount due from customer
  • Certifications required by “Customs Authorities” if any.
  • Signature by an authorized person from supplier company.

Other information that a seller thinks he or she requires to inform to the ultimate buyer can be added.

What is the use of Pro forma invoice?

A pro forma is required when a customer requests to the buyer for giving information regarding the goods or service that is yet to be delivered. It is a preliminary price quotation as well as additional details of a specific product or service before its actual sale. This document is majorly used for the purpose of exports or imports for a smooth delivery.

Some of the major uses and need of Pro forma invoice are as follows:

Export and importFor various clarifications in the trade transactions, pro forma invoices are used. In exports and imports the issues regarding currency, exchange rates, various other details are clearly explained in this document.

Custom duty calculationsWhen goods are crossing borders, this document is useful for computing projected costs of custom duties. It contains details of all factors in a specific trade obligation.

Clarification and contact detailsIt serves as a source of contact between the seller and a buyer. It includes all the details of contract and clarified details. The seller may replicate the final invoice with the help of this document.

Which important points shall be considered regarding Pro forma invoice?

  • No accounting entry can be done based on Pro forma invoice
  • This invoice does not warrants deduction of GST
  • Pro forma invoice does not guarantee sales
  • It is issued before the final invoice and cannot be substituted as a final invoice
  • The invoice type shall also have a valid through period mention on it
  • The amount of the final invoice will be the same or close to the pro forma invoice amount,normally
  • Customer should not make payments on the basis of this document
  • No tax liability or claim for credit can be made based on proforma invoice

Format of Pro forma invoice

The format of Pro Forma invoice is not prescribed in any guidelines. It may look like a commercial invoice. The label on the document should be clearly stated as “PRO FORMA”, so that it reflects that it is estimated and not the final tax invoice. A sample format has been created below for ready reference.

Format of Pro forma invoice

Difference between Proforma Invoice, Purchase Order and Invoice

Basis Proforma Invoice Purchase Order Invoice Estimates
Concept It is a document issued by the supplier to the buyer providing information regarding the goods or services that are yet to be delivered. It is a document that is sent to the supplier by the buyer which has the list of the goods or services that the buyer wants to  purchase.  It is a commercial document issued by the supplier to the buyer containing details of the goods or services supplied to him or her and a notification that the payment is due.  It is a formal estimate of required goods or services and the total amount owed for the same. 
Usage It helps the buyer in taking decision whether to place an order or not. It is used for placing an order of goods or services from the supplier.
It notifies the buyer that the payment is due. It provides estimated sale price of the goods or services yet to be delivered.  
Importance It gives the customer a clear idea of what to expect from an order.  It helps  businesses in managing orders, budgets and set business expectations.
It enables business to receive money and updates incoming payments.
It provides detailed information of the offerings to the customers.
Issued when It is issued before the delivery of the goods or services to the buyer.
It is issued after the receipt of the pro forma or quotation from the supplier.
It is issued before the payment is received by the supplier It is issued on request of buyer before the delivery of the goods or services.
Furnished to It is issued to buyer or customer  It is issued to Supplier It is issued to buyer or customer  It is issued to buyer or customer 
Furnished by It is raised by Supplier It is raised by buyer or customer  It is raised by supplier It is raised by supplier
Flexibility It is Negotiable It is not applicable It is non negotiable It is negotiable
Consequence when accepted It leads to Creation of sale. It leads to contract of sale. It leads to Confirmation of sale. It also leads to Creation of sale.


For a clarification in any transaction related to the buying and selling of goods or services, the related entities needs to furnish various documents. One such document is Pro forma invoice that includes all the estimated details regarding the goods or services before the delivery of the same. With this document the final invoice is made if the terms and conditions of pro forma is accepted by the buyer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q- Is the pro forma invoice negotiable?

Yes, the pro forma invoice is negotiable document. A buyer can negotiate on various details such as pricing, delivery time, shipping costs and so on.

Q- What is the validity of a pro forma invoice?

The validity varies from business to business or industry to industry.

Q- Who issues Pro Forma invoice to whom?

The pro forma invoice is issued by the supplier to the buyer for purchase approval process.

Q- Which are the principal industries where Pro-forma Invoice is used?

Businesses involved in all industries often use pro forma invoices to satisfy their internal purchasing-approval process

CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.