Commodity Codes in the UK

If you’re bringing goods into the UK from abroad, you may need to pay import duty and VAT. Taxes are fixed based on product type — so HMRC will look at the commodity codes describing your shipment to calculate what you have to pay.

What are commodity codes?

Commodity codes, which are also sometimes called tariff codes, are used to describe products which are being imported. You’ll usually need to complete documentation showing the commodity code whenever you import, so border officials can check they’re safe and legal, and calculate any tax owed.

The UK trade tariff tells you all you need to know about paying tax and duty on your imported goods. Here you’ll find tariff codes, duty rates, licensing requirements and details about how to complete import documentation.

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UK commodity codes format

If you’re importing into the UK you’ll need a 10 digit commodity code which describes your goods.

This code is made up of 2 elements. The first 6 digits are part of the globally recognised harmonised system (HS code, with the last 4 digits added for use within the EU and UK.

A commodity code contains multiple pieces of information which build on one another to provide a very detailed picture of the product being described. The number you see is actually made up of 5 different 2 digit codes, which each point to a certain chapter and section of the tariff code.

Let’s say you have a shipment of slippers coming into the UK. You’ll have a number which looks something like this: 6404.20.1000.

HS Chapter

2 digits

64 - Footwear

HS Heading

2 digits

6404 - Shoes with leather soles and textile uppers

HS SubHeading

2 digits

6404.20.10- Indoor shoes like slippers

Country-specific code

4 digits

6404.20.1000 - full commodity code

What are HS codes?

Let’s look first at the HS code which makes up the first 6 digits of the commodity code. The harmonised system is a globally recognised way of labelling goods, used since 1988. It’s a logically-ordered framework, split into sections, chapters, headings and subheadings.

You’ll start with a section or chapter which describes the product type or component material, and then choose the heading appropriate for your product. From within this heading, you can then choose more detailed subheadings to give the closest possible description available.

Learn more about HS codes

What are TARIC and CN codes?

After your 6 digit HS code, you’ll find 2 further pieces of useful information, captured by the CN and TARIC codes.

The CN code is the combined nomenclature code used by EU authorities to track trade and calculate customs duty.

Then you’ll have the TARIC code, which shows any relevant trade policy or tariff measures imposed on this type of product in the EU.

How to use UK trade tariff

A great place to start calculating your commodity code for import is the UK government’s trade tariff tool. Here you simply click through the HS categories, headings and subheadings to find the ones which best suit the products you’re importing. The tool will walk you through the process and then show you the code you need, as well as crucial information about duties payable, and any licensing or other regulatory issues you need to be aware of.

If you have any questions or can’t find the code you need for your goods, you can get in touch with HMRC to ask for guidance. Email a classification officer for help using the contact information available on the {UK government’s website](https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs).

SECTION CATEGORY CHAPTERS

1

Animal & Animal Products

1-5

2

Vegetable Products

6-14

3

Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils

15

4

Prepared Foodstuffs

16-24

5

Mineral Products

25-27

6

Chemicals & Allied Industries

28-38

7

Plastics / Rubbers

39-40

8

Raw Hides, Skins, Leather, & Furs

41-43

9

Wood & Wood Products

44-46

10

Pulp of Wood or of Other Fibrous Material

47-49

11

Textiles

50-63

12

Footwear / Headgear

64-67

13

Stone / Glass

68-70

14

Natural or Cultured Pearls

71

15

Base Metals

72-83

16

Machinery / Electrical

84-85

17

Transportation

86-89

18

Precision Instruments

90-92

19

Arms and Ammunition

93

20

Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles

94-96

21

Works of Art

97-98

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