What is an HS code?

HS code is short for Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. It's a list of numbers used by customs to classify a product. Find out why they're important and where you can get one.

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Why are they important?

An HS code consists of at least six digits and is used by customs to classify the product being shipped. That way it can accurately calculate taxes and duties and apply any necessary restrictions.

If you don’t include the HS code on the commercial invoice and other shipping documents, you risk the receiver paying the wrong tax and could possibly delay the shipment.

How do I get one?

You can get one on your country’s government website. You can also use the HS code search tools online – just type in a detailed goods description and you’ll get your code.  

Say you’re shipping men’s short sleeved T-shirts made of 100% cotton – the HS code will be as follows:

Category: Textiles and Articles (62)
Subcategory: T-shirts, singlets and other vests (11)
Material: Cotton (42)
The HS code: 621142

With this number, customs authorities all over the world are able to identify the contents of your package.

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