Ask HMRC for help classifying your goods

Find out how to contact HMRC to help you get a commodity code and what information you’ll need to send us.

After you’ve tried to find the commodity code for your goods, you can ask HMRC for help if you’re still not sure which one to use.

How to ask for advice

You must send one email for each of the goods you’re asking advice on – we’ll reject your request if you do not.

Email the Tariff Classification Service: for non-legally binding advice on classifying your goods.

We’ll respond to each request within 5 working days of receiving it - unless you send multiple requests. If you send multiple requests in a short period, we’ll deal with 5 of your requests each day.

This could take longer if we have a high number of requests.

Do not contact HMRC before the timescale has passed.

Information you’ll need

You’ll need to send the following for the goods you’re asking advice on:

  • company name (if applicable)
  • contact name
  • contact details (email address and a contact number)
  • the option which best describes your item:
    • agricultural, chemical, textiles or ceramics (including food, drink, plastics, cosmetics, sports equipment, games, toys, clothing, shoes)
    • electrical, mechanical or miscellaneous (including vehicles, optical and measuring devices, machinery, musical instruments, metal, furniture, lighting, paper, printed matter, straw, glass, wood, jewellery)
  • what the goods are made of (if more than one material, provide a breakdown of materials)
  • what the goods are used for
  • how the goods work or function
  • how the goods are presented or packaged

It will help us with your request if you can also tell us:

  • any code you think best fits your goods
  • part of the code if you’ve been able to partially classify it

You should send a separate email for each item you need help with.

Goods that need more information

You’ll need to give more detailed information to classify some goods.

For footwear classifications, include:

  • the type (for example shoe, boot, slipper)
  • upper material details
  • outer sole material details
  • the heel height
  • the purpose, for men or women

For food classifications, include:

  • the full breakdown of the ingredients, including the percentage weight of each ingredient
  • the method of manufacture or process it has undergone (for example fresh, frozen, dried)

For chemical classifications, include:

  • the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number
  • if the product is a liquid, powder or solid
  • the full breakdown of the chemical, including the percentage of every ingredient

For textile classifications, include:

  • a detailed description of the item
  • the material composition
  • how it’s constructed (for example knitted, woven)
  • the name of the fabric

For vehicle classifications, include:

  • the age of the vehicle
  • the engine type (petrol or diesel)
  • the engine size
  • if the vehicle:
    • is new or used
    • is over 30 years old
    • is in its original condition
    • will be for everyday use
Published 21 December 2018
Last updated 29 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. You must send one email for each of the goods you’re asking advice on. If you send multiple requests in a short period, we’ll deal with 5 of your requests each day.

  2. The response time has been changed to 5 working days to reply to emails asking HMRC for advice on classifying your goods.

  3. First published.