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What are Tariff Codes and Why Do We Need to Get Them Right?

Updated: Mar 24




Tariff codes classify goods for import and exports, they are a product-specific code that determine the duty and VAT payable and the documentation required for the goods.

They can also be referred to as commodity codes and Harmonised System codes (HS codes).


Why are tariff codes important?

Countries use HTS codes (Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code) as the basis for their own schemes of tariff codes in order to charge taxes on exported and imported goods. When the declaration of goods is correctly declared, it assures you that you pay the right amount of tax and that the goods are easily identifiable.


What does a tariff code look like?

Each code is made up of numbers divided into different parts, in the UK the first eight digits are required for UK exports. The first two digits correspond to the name of the trade tariff chapter; digits four to six refer to headings and the last two digits correspond to duties. For imports into the UK a ten-digit code is required.


Where can I find my tariff code?

You can find this using the UK Trade Tariff on the Gov.uk website. If you require further assistance you can also contact HMRC classification.enquiries@hmrc.gov.uk. Further information on the commodity code you will need to provide can be found here.


What are the implications of getting the wrong tariff code?

If your tariff code is incorrect the wrong duties are likely to be paid, additionally; it can lead to HMRC penalties, border delays or the seizure of your products. Not to mention the fact that the responsibility for providing correct Tariff Codes is upon yourself.


Do you need more help with identifying and understanding tariff codes?

Register you for our training course coming up on the 26th of March, which will highlight commercial implications of the correct use of the Tariff codes and the Brexit impact on the Tariff and Trade Agreements.



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