Import Duty Tariffs and Codes

Managing your Importing duties, tarifFs and codes

Making sure your codes are right and your cargo arrives on time


Find importing duties, tariffs and codes confusing?

If you rely on the classification code from an overseas supplier, you’ll need to check it also applies to the UK. To find the correct commodity code for your goods you’ll need to describe them accurately. Many manufactured items are made up of several parts. For example, if you’re trading in foodstuffs or domestic products you need to know what they contain before you can start classifying them.  If this comes as a surprise to you, you are not alone as many regular importers are not aware of the requirement because it is being fulfilled for them by their shipper. This is leaving a lot to chance.


What happens if your forwarder gets your import duty tariffs and codes wrong?

The law says that it is the responsibility of the business that is importing the goods to ensure the correct code is used, and you could be legally liable if the wrong code is applied. You or your customer could also be paying the wrong amount in import tariffs. An importer who uses the wrong code for their goods can receive a heavy fine as well as having their shipment confiscated. Almost all countries operate tariff codes that comply with the Harmonised System (HS). All countries use the same six digit codes, to which they can add up to six further digits in order to refine the definitions according to local requirements.


Did you know 30-50% of entries are potentially misclassified?

Many countries now require pre-shipment information before the goods are sent, and the local tariff code will usually be among the information required. Your international freight forwarder should liaise with you (or your supplier) to establish the correct classification. At the very least, an incorrect entry can cause delays to the shipment and possibly the allocation of the wrong import tariff, which may lead to your business paying the wrong amount to the customs authorities.


Need help with codes?

If you're a UK business importing goods or just thinking about it and are struggling to get answers - we can help and it's free!  Either call us and speak to one of our importing customs clearance services team or follow this link to find out about our Free Import & Export Audit.

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