Tariff Code (HS code)

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Commodity codes, tariff codes, and HS codes are based on international product descriptions and are used for customs declarations to determine duties and taxes.

What is a tariff code?

A tariff code is also known as a commodity code which may be a bit more descriptive.

A tariff code is a code that describes your product, which you must provide on your customs documents, including customs declarations for import and export.

You may also encounter the terms “customs tariff code” or “customs code” but they also refer to the part of the code you need for customs purposes.

When exporting a product, the commodity code consists of eight digits, while for imports, it consists of ten digits. The commodity code must be stated on your customs declaration.

All goods sent as import or export to and from third countries (countries outside the EU) must be identified with a commodity code.

The commodity code describes how the product should be processed concerning customs duties, taxes, fees, and other regulations, and it must be stated on your customs declaration.

The customs authorities have the right to reclaim any missing duties if you do not use the correct commodity code.

What is an HS code?

An HS code is a part of your commodity code, which, as mentioned earlier, consists of either eight (for exports) or ten digits (for imports).

The first six digits come from the international HS system, which stands for Harmonized System. Therefore, the first part, the first six digits, is also referred to as an HS code.

The HS system is used in approximately 200 countries, including all EU countries, and is an international product nomenclature - a comprehensive product classification with all products in the world.

Digits 7 and 8 in your item number are derived from the EU’s product nomenclature, called the CN (Combined Nomenclature). You will need these eight digits when exporting goods.

If you are importing goods, you need to know the last two digits of your commodity code. These two digits come from TARIC.

It is the EU’s integrated customs tariff, and they determine, among other things, whether there are tariff suspensions, possibilities of tariff reductions, or anti-dumping duties when importing from third countries.

Here is an example of the tariff code for t-shirts with a turtleneck:

Tariff code example

Where can I find tariff numbers?

Typically, your supplier will provide the tariff or HS codes for the products you receive. Alternatively, you can ask them to forward the codes to you.

If this is not an option, you will need to classify your products to the best of your ability. You can find aid on the website of the European Customs Portal.

You can find the tariff numbers here.

What is TARIC?

TARIC is a digital reference work where all commodity codes (also referenced as “Good codes”) and customs rates are available.

It is the EU’s integrated customs tariff and determines, among other things, whether there are tariff suspensions, possibilities of tariff reductions, or anti-dumping duties on your imported goods.

In TARIC, you can find customs rates and information about tariff reductions, tariff suspensions, anti-dumping duties, and import regulations for your item when trading with a third country.

Before using TARIC, you need to know your commodity code. You can find TARIC here.

Complete your customs documents electronically

If you already have your commodity code ready, you can easily import or export with Shipmondo.

You will be asked to fill in your information electronically, and then we will automatically generate the customs documents for you, either a proforma invoice or a commercial invoice, that comply with all customs requirements and regulations.

It’s equally important to properly fill out your product descriptions on customs documents. Check out our guide for good product descriptions for customs handling to ensure you have everything in order with your customs paperwork.

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