Find out how to get a legally binding decision on the commodity code to use for your goods.
A Binding Tariff Information (BTI) decision is a written tariff classification of your goods. It’s not a legal requirement, but it provides assurance that your goods have the correct commodity code and:
- is legally binding on all EU customs administrations
- is generally valid for 3 years
- helps calculate customs duties, export refunds, licensing requirements, quotas or other restrictions in advance
- alerts you to any import or export licensing requirements or if quotas or other quantitative restrictions apply to your goods
Before you start
You must apply for a Binding Tariff Information decision before all customs procedures have been completed, decisions cannot be made retrospectively. HMRC can refuse an application if you:
- are not planning to import or export the goods
- have applied for a decision for the same goods in another member state
- are unable to supply all the necessary information about your goods
- have already cleared your goods through Customs Import Procedures
To apply you’ll need:
- a Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply
- an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
- detailed information about your goods
- to provide brochures, manuals, photographs and samples where appropriate
You can also let HMRC know what you think the commodity code should be.
To apply for a decision for another business or organisation you’ll also need:
- written authorisation from them, dated within the last 12 months
- their EORI number
- their registered EORI address
Check if you need to provide a sample
You may need to provide us with a sample of your goods. Sometimes samples are not required and a photograph or packaging detailing the analytical make-up of the product may be enough.
If you are not sure if you need to provide a sample, you can wait for the classification team to contact you. Usually, you must provide a sample for:
You’ll need to post your samples to the Customs Duty Liability Team. If you consider a sample to be hazardous, it is important you email the team first because we may not accept the sample for health and safety reasons.
We can return samples by post if you include return postage. Alternatively you can collect your sample from our Southend office. You’ll need to provide at least 24 hours notice so we can ensure your sample is ready for collection. Samples are automatically destroyed after 30 days.
If you need multiple decisions
Try to avoid multiple applications wherever possible, as these may cause delays. If you do need to request 10 or more decisions in a week email the Customs Duty Liability Team first to discuss your requirements.
Apply for a Binding Tariff Information decision
You’ll need to complete a separate application for each item requiring a decision. The decision will cover all future consignments of identical goods.
Online services may be slow during busy times. Check if there are any problems with this service.
What happens after you’ve applied
HMRC will send a legal document informing you of the correct commodity code for your goods and the start date for the period of validity of the information. The document also shows:
- a uniquely identifiable reference number relating to the goods for which the decision was issued
- the name and address of the holder of the information, this is the person legally entitled to use it (decisions are non-transferable)
- an explicit description of the goods to which it relates (including any specific marks and numbers) which can be used to easily identify your goods at the frontier
- the basis of the legal justification for the decision (in some circumstances this may be expanded in a covering letter)
An electronic copy of the decision will be sent to Brussels for inclusion in the European database of Binding Tariff Information decisions. This is accessible by the customs administrations of all member states.
How to use a Binding Tariff information decision
When you receive a decision, you will also receive a unique reference number. You must declare this number in Box 44 of the Single Administrative Document (SAD).
If an agent or other representative completes customs documentation on your behalf, you should advise them about the existence of your Binding Tariff Information decision and the correct commodity code for your particular goods.
If a decision is revoked
Although decisions are normally valid for 3 years, they may be revoked in circumstances such as:
- inaccurate or incomplete information was provided on application
- the composition of the goods subsequently changes
- changes to the wording of the Harmonised System Explanatory Notes or Combined Nomenclature Explanatory Notes which affect interpretation of the nomenclature
- the terms of the subheading or commodity code number changes, altering the classification of the goods
- any subsequent changes in the interpretation of the nomenclatures, which make the original decision no longer compatible with EC law
If a decision is revoked as a result of an EC Regulation, European Court Judgement, or Classification Opinion, the holder may still use it for a limited period. However, you must provide evidence to HMRC that the goods are covered by binding commercial contracts made on the basis of the original decision.
Appeal a Binding Tariff Information decision
If you do not agree with the the decision, you can request a review by writing to the Customs Duty Liability Team.
Alternatively, you can appeal directly to the tribunal service, who are independent of HMRC. If you disagree with the outcome of an HMRC review, you can still appeal to the tribunal.
Contact the Customs Duty Liability Team
Email the Customs Duty Liability Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Customs Duty Liability Team by post:
HM Revenue and Customs
Tariff Classification Service
10th Floor SE
21 Victoria Avenue