I have a text as follows:
At the Post Office
Consuela Rodrigues: Good morning. I’d like to send this package to Mexico.
Clerk: I’ll need you to fill in a customs form, please.
Consuela Rodrigues: Sure. Business papers – no, Contents in detail, um, sweater. Yes, it’s a gift. Value – um, fifty dollars… weight – oh, I don’t know the weight.
Clerk: put it on the scale.
What does “Business papers” mean in the above context? I guess it means “stocks” but I am not sure.

  • Maybe import-export licences or documentation for customs? I doubt if they would be necessary for sending an item of clothing as a gift.
    – Mick
    Oct 21, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    I think the point of the OP's text is that Rodrigues is trying to cheat the system by avoiding paying customs duty or tax. "Business papers" are documents which have no intrinsic value, unlike bank notes, share certificates, etc - or a sweater!
    – alephzero
    Oct 21, 2016 at 20:00
  • ^ Um, no, that's not the point. Consuela is reading a customs form that asks whether she's sending business papers and she says no, she's sending a sweater. She's not "trying to cheat the system", she's just mailing a sweater. Sheesh.
    – Jim Balter
    Apr 7, 2017 at 7:58

2 Answers 2


"Business papers" are any papers used for business. For example:

  • Notes about business plans and projects
  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Computer program printouts
  • Contracts
  • Employee records
  • Tax forms
  • Government forms that a business might need to fill out, or have approved by government(s)

According to the link Shavais provided, securities payable to the bearer (such as bearer bonds, monetary notes, and perhaps gift cards) are categorized like money, not "business papers". This policy might discourage mail theft.


Looking at this page..


It appears to me that the term is intended to refer to any form of commercial documents; .ie, documents that are being mailed in order to facilitate the conducting of business. For example if you're mailing a contract that needs to be signed and returned, or maybe a printed report of some kind. That sort of thing. I believe it's probably distinct from bulk advertising.

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