Finding Your HTS Import Code
Whenever you import items from overseas into the United States, you must document your shipments with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule code, a 10-digit number that identifies the products you’re importing and allows customs to tax you the correct amount on those items.
These codes are required for most shipments that enter the country, so you must know your HTS import code. You can use an HTS lookup tool or categorize your products yourself using official government documents.
Self-Coding Your Products
The United States International Trade Commission publishes and maintains the official Harmonized Tariff Schedule on its website. If you want to code your products on your own, without using lookup tools, you will need to access the HTS on the USITC website and understand how HTS codes are structured.
Determine Product Chapters
First, identify the chapter that most closely encompasses the products you sell. There are currently 99 chapters, and while your products might fall into more than one, it is your responsibility to choose the most appropriate chapter.
The first two numbers of the HTS code represent the chapter your products fall under. For example, if you sell fur skin hats, you will choose Chapter 65: headwear and Parts thereof.
Check The Associated Headings
Next, identify the heading that most closely encompasses the products you sell. The heading is essentially a subcategory for your product and more fully describes what you’re importing. For instance, fur skin hats fall under the heading of 06 – other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed. As such, the first four numbers of your HTS import code would be 6506.
The fifth and sixth digits narrow your imports even further. Some products won’t have a subheading, which is what these digits represent, so you would place zeros in these sections. However, in the case of fur skin hats, there is a further subcategory because they are hats made of other materials, which is subheading 99. Now your code’s first six numbers would be 650699.
The United States uses the seventh and eighth digits for the “rate line.” Often, you’ll find an exact match to your products at this level. This level determines the tariff rates for imports. Fur skin hats have a rate line of 30, so your eight-digit code would be 65069930.
Analyzing The Ultimate Digits
The final two digits of the HTS code don’t apply to every item. In fact, fur skin hats do not have an additional two digits, so you would enter 00 in the ninth and 10th places of the code box. The HTS code for fur hats is 6506993000. This tells the Customs and Border Protection agency that you are importing fur hats without them having to open up your shipments.
What Happens On Using The Wrong HTS Code?
Giving the correct HTS code on your ISF filings and import entries is important as it helps you to engage in international trades. However, failing to do so or giving an incorrect HTS code might impact many things. Such as the duty rates of your products, tariff reductions, anti-dumping orders, and government needs.
A wrong HTS code might lead you to pay too little or too much in customs duty; neither of them is good news for you. You might be asked to file a PEA or Post-Entry Amendment on paying too little. Here, you will have to pay the owed additional duties. If not, you might receive additional fines issued by CBP along with the owed receiving amount.
On paying extravagantly, you can request a refund or a PEA. This is possible until your arrival is liquidated, and you must file an authoritative protest. A period of 180 days is allotted right after paying the entry’s liquidation.
Additional issues you might have to deal with is offering an incorrect HTS code, including product seizure, import delays, etc. Being a shipper, you are held responsible for any issues caused by putting the wrong HTS information. Thus, it is imperative to provide accurate codes.
HTS Lookup Services
Not every product falls neatly into the HTS, so it can be challenging to determine how to code some products. Often, these are new products that haven’t been added to the system yet, but will be when updates are made, or they use new technology that hasn’t yet warranted a separate code.
In these instances, it is beneficial to use an HTS lookup service to help you properly code your items. To define simply, HTS Code is an attempt of standardizing global trade. Thus, these codes are generally universal, and almost all major countries use them. So much so it has become a globally recognized nomenclature.
Just like the US CBP, HTS codes in the United States are also denoted as the HTSUS.
Tools To Assist in HTS Lookup Services
Doing everything alone might take a toll on your mental and physical capabilities. Thus, there are various tools for your assistance to keep you relived. Here is a list of some of the major ones.
- Custom Consultants
Importers have a great alternative to optimize a licensed customs consultant. It is significant to remember that the importer is liable for any problems that arise from putting in an incorrect code. Irrespective of whether the supplier provided you the code or you searched it all by yourself.
- Customs and Border Protection
On finding the HTS code for a specific product, if you still have difficulty reading the code, you can always take help. Reach out to CBP and ask them for a binding ruling. This particular ruling is all about Customs and Border Protection providing you with a final determination.
No matter how you find your HTS code, it’s imperative that you use the right one on your imports. If you don’t, you could face numerous fines and penalties.
Navigating your commercial import procedure is as important as finding the apt HTS information. Make sure you reach out to help on locating an incorrect HTS code. Remove all product-import and export worries today!