Classifying toys, games and sports equipment for import and export
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Part of:
- Classification of goods and International freight industry and businesses making customs declarations
- First published:
- 3 August 2012
- Last updated:
- 12 November 2015, see all updates
Information on which UK Trade Tariff codes to use for toys, games and sport equipment.
These commodities are covered in chapter 95 of the Tariff, including:
- indoor and outdoor games
- toys and items for the amusement of children or adults
- equipment for sports, gymnastics, and athletics
- requisites for fishing, hunting and shooting
When looking to classify toys, games and sports equipment, bear in mind that:
- toys are generally under heading code 9503
- games are generally under heading codes 9504 and 9505
- sports equipment is generally under heading codes 9506 and 9507
It’s worth checking to make sure you’re using the correct classification, as toys and games may be interchangeable terms for some people. If you can’t find the correct classification in one category, it’s a good idea to check the other.
Find commodity codes and other measures applying to imports and exports by accessing our online UK Trade Tariff tool.
For detailed information on this sector, read the guide on recreation and leisure goods and services.
Quick reference table of heading codes
|Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar toys||9503 00 10|
|Dolls||9503 00 21|
|Reduced-size models, recreational models and electric-train sets||9503 00 30|
|Construction sets and toys||9503 00 35 and 9503 00 39|
|Toys representing animals||9503 00 41 and 9503 00 49|
|Toy musical instruments||9503 00 55|
|Puzzles||9503 00 61 and 9503 00 69|
|Toys in prepackaged sets||9503 00 70|
|Other toys and models, incorporating a motor||9503 00 75|
|Toy weapons||9503 00 81|
|Diecast miniature models in metal||9503 00 85|
|Video games used with televisions (for example PlayStation, Xbox)||9504 50|
|Playing cards||9504 40|
|Electric car-racing sets||9504 90 10|
|Snow skis and equipment||9506 11|
|Waterskis, surfboards and other watersports equipment||9506 21 and 9506 29|
|Golf clubs and balls||9506 31 and 9506 32|
|Table-tennis equipment||9506 40 00|
|Tennis and badminton racquets||9506 51 and 9506 59|
|Footballs and rugby balls||9506 62|
|Ice skates and roller skates, including skating boots with skates attached||9506 70|
|Equipment for exercise, gymnastics or athletics||9506 91|
|Fishing rods, hooks and reels||9507 10, 20 and 30|
|Decoy birds and similar hunting or shooting requisites||9507|
|Roundabouts and swings, fairground amusements||9508 90|
Most toys, whether for adults or children, are under subheadings of heading code 9503. Toys intended for animals, such as pets, are classified by their basic material.
The classification listings are quite detailed to cover the majority of specific commodities.
Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar toys
In classification terms, these are restricted to wheeled toys designed to be driven by children and powered or propelled by the children themselves using pedals, hand levers or motors. The key heading code for these items is 9503 00 10. This includes:
- children’s tricycles and similar items; bear in mind, however, that bicycles for children are classified as bicycles, using heading code 8712
- pedal or hand-propelled wheeled toys in the form of animals
- pedal cars or motorised cars, often in the form of miniature sports cars, jeeps or lorries
- wheeled toys propelled by hand levers
- other wheeled toys designed to be drawn or pushed and large enough for children to ride in
Practical devices for children to sit in, such as baby walkers, aren’t classed as toys and are therefore handled under a different chapter, using heading code 9403. Other exceptions include items without wheels, such as rocking horses, which would be classified under heading code 9503 00 41, as they’re usually stuffed and represent animals.
Dolls representing humans, their parts and accessories
Dolls are generally covered by 2 heading codes - 9503 00 21 for dolls themselves and 9503 00 29 for their parts and accessories. These heading codes cover dolls designed for use as toys by adults or children, but also include dolls used for decorative purposes, such as mascot dolls or boudoir dolls. A plastic doll with movable limbs that is filled with sweets would be classified under subheading 9503 00 21 as per EC Regulation 41/2013. Remember that dolls only representing humans are covered by these classification codes. Dolls representing non-human figures, such as robots, devils or angels, for example, are classified under heading codes 9503 00 41 or 9503 00 49, even if they have human characteristics. See the information on general toys below for more details.
Parts and accessories covered by 9503 00 29 include:
- eyes (other than those unmounted on the dolls and made of glass, which are classified under heading code 7018)
- moving mechanisms and their parts
- voice-producing mechanisms
- dolls’ clothing, shoes and hats
- feeding bottles, rattles, handbags and any other articles of limited functionality and sized to be used in play scenarios alongside dolls
There are some specific commodities that are covered by different heading codes, however. Musical boxes with a doll attached are classified under heading code 9208. Tin soldiers without moving parts or removable clothing are classified under heading code 9503 00 85, as they’re essentially die-cast models made of metal, rather than dolls. Larger figures used for shop window displays have their own heading code of 9618.
Train sets, including trains, tracks and signals, along with scale model assembly kits, such as for planes, boats or vehicles, are classified under heading code 9503 00 30. Construction kits, such as building blocks and the like, are covered by heading code 9503 00 35. The key point of difference for these 2 classifications is that if the toy kit is designed to be permanently assembled, such as a model car or aeroplane kit, it’ll be classified in the former heading code. If it’s designed to be constructed and deconstructed, like plastic building blocks, it’ll be classified under the latter category.
Toys and other play items representing non-human figures are covered by heading codes 9503 00 41 if they’re stuffed, and 9503 00 49 if they’re not stuffed. You should bear in mind that this will include fictional figures that may have some human characteristics, such as angels, devils, monsters or robots, for example. It also includes hand and finger puppets and figures used in marionette shows.
Toy musical instruments are classified under heading code 9503 00 55. These are distinguished from ‘full’ musical instruments by having limited capabilities - an inability to produce the range of notes of its adult counterpart, for example. Electrically operated instruments, such as organs, are also classified here. Toy musical apparatus, such as children’s record players or CD players that play rigid plastic discs rather than standard records or CDs, are also covered in this heading code, as are toy musical boxes and other items that have a wind-up mechanism and play a limited range of tunes.
Heading code 9503 00 61 covers puzzles of all types, including jigsaws, sliders or Rubik’s cubes.
9503 00 70 Other toys, put up in sets or outfits
‘Sets’ of this subheading consist of 2 or more different types of articles (principally for amusement), put up in the same packing for retail sale without repacking.
Articles of the same subheading, except for items covered by subheadings 9503 00 95 or 9503 00 99 (as these subheadings may include miscellaneous articles of different types), are not to be considered different types of articles.
Apart from the articles forming a set, simple accessories or objects of minor importance intended to be used with the articles (for example, a plastic carrot or a plastic brush for a toy animal) can be present.
By virtue of Note 4 to Chapter 95, this subheading includes sets intended for the amusement of children, consisting of articles of heading 9503 combined with one or more items which, if presented separately, would be classified in other headings, provided that the combinations have the essential character of toys. Examples are:
- sets consisting of toys in the form of injection moulds and moulds for modelling pastes together with other items such as tubes or tablets of paint, modelling pastes, pencils and chalks
- cosmetic sets for children containing articles of heading 9503 combined with preparations of heading 3304
However, cosmetic sets for children containing preparations of heading 3304 which do not contain any articles of heading 9503 are excluded (heading 3304).
‘Outfits’ of this subheading consist of 2 or more different articles put up in the same packing for retail sale, without repacking, and are specific to a particular type of recreation, work, person or profession, such as instructional and educational toys. Outfits wouldn’t include textile items of fancy dress. These would be classified according to the material from which they’re made - see Section XI (Chapter 61 or Chapter 62).
Toy weapons, such as guns, rifles, swords and water pistols are under heading code 9503 00 81.
Heading codes 9503 00 85, 9503 00 95 and 9503 00 99 cover a wide variety of toys not covered specifically elsewhere including:
- toy balloons
- toy kites
- toy tools and implements
- magic lanterns
- toy spectacles and sunglasses without prescription lenses or UV protection
- toy counting frames
- toy sewing machines
- toy clocks and watches
- toy walkie talkies
- toy play tents
- hoops and skipping ropes
- toy money boxes
- babies’ rattles
- toy theatres
Most games are classified under the heading codes 9504 and 9505. The heading codes cover a variety of commodities in some detail. However, it’s a good idea to check heading code 9503 if you can’t find what you’re looking for, as what you may be viewing as a game may be classified as a toy.
Video games in cartridge form only are covered by heading code 9504 50, while games for consoles in CD or DVD format, such as Nintendo Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 1, 2 or 3, are classified as recorded media within heading code 8523.
Billiards, snooker and pool equipment
Tables (with or without legs), cues, rests, balls, chalks and ball or slide-type markers are covered by heading code 9504 20.
Games operated by coins, notes, tokens or other payment
Games such as arcade games for skill or chance, for example motor racing games or flipper games, are covered by heading code 9504 30.
Playing cards and card games
All card games and playing cards, including tarot, lexicon and Happy Families, are covered by heading code 9504 40.
General indoor games
Heading code 9504 90 covers a wide variety of games and components of games not specified elsewhere, including:
- tables constructed for game playing, such as card tables, roulette or chess
- tabletop football
- skittles and indoor bowling
- indoor boules
- dartboards and darts and pieces for games such as chess, draughts, ludo, snakes and ladders, monopoly
- dice, dice boxes, playing cloths
- handheld game systems such as PSP and Nintendo DS consoles
Seasonal items and fancy dress
Entertainment items that tie in to specific times of year, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, birthdays or carnivals are covered under heading code 9505. If your goods are specifically and clearly intended for seasonal use, for example, figures that will only be used in a nativity set, they should be classified under this heading code. Many of these items will be made from non-durable materials.
Here is some general guidance for the type of items that are included in heading code 9505:
- Christmas items, such as Christmas crackers, Christmas stockings and sacks, Christmas cake decorations and soft stuffed toys and ornaments representing Father Christmas in human form
- Easter items, banners or bunting with words such as ‘Happy Easter’ printed on them
- Halloween items, such as decorations of vampires, witches, ghosts, skeletons and door plaques that re-create screams
- birthday items, such as cake decorations, badges displaying birthday ages, banners or buntings with birthday-related messages printed on them
- carnival items, such as paper streamers, ticker tape or confetti
- tricks and novelty joke items are included, including items such as masks, wigs or false body parts, sneezing powder, buzzers, Japanese flowers, surprise sweets, itching powder and rubber pencils
Here is some general guidance for the type of items that are not included in heading code 9505:
- Christmas cracker gifts imported separately from the cracker, these are classified by their description or basic material
- natural Christmas trees (which are classified under Chapter 6)
- statues or items for decorating places of worship
- Christmas candles or Christmas tree candles (heading code 3406)
- toys representing non-humans dressed as Father Christmas (heading code 9503)
- Easter items such as, statues and decorative items intended for places of worship
- Halloween items, such as dolls representing witches, skeletons or wizards (heading code 9502)
- fancy dress garments made from textiles (classified under Chapter 61 or 62)
- festive papers and plastic wrappings are classified by their basic material (usually classified under Chapter 39 or 48)
Classifying sports equipment
Equipment for sports and outdoor games is classified under heading codes 9506 and 9507. Remember, however, that indoor games are generally classified under heading code 9504. Footwear and clothing are also classified under their specific Tariff headings, not under the sports equipment sections. Outdoor sports and games and fitness equipment are classified under heading code 9506. Heading code 9507 covers fishing supplies and specific shooting and hunting supplies.
Outdoor sports equipment
Equipment for sports and outdoor games is classified under specific subsections of heading code 9506. This includes:
- snow skis and dry skis and associated equipment, such as ski fastenings and ski poles
- water skis, surfboards, wakeboards and other water sport equipment
- diving equipment, including flippers and respiratory masks of a kind used without oxygen or compressed air bottles and simple underwater breathing tubes (generally known as ‘snorkels’) for swimmers or divers - also includes buoyancy compensatory devices for scuba diving, these are sleeveless jackets designed to be worn over a diving suit and to hold weights and be inflated
- golf clubs and accessories, including golf balls and tees
- table tennis equipment, including tables, bats, balls and nets
- tennis, badminton and squash rackets
- all types of balls (except specific balls for specific sports have their own subheadings)
- ice skates, roller skates and accessories
Fitness and athletic equipment
Articles and equipment for physical exercise, gymnastics or athletics are covered under heading code 9506 91. This includes:
- gym equipment, such as horizontal and parallel bars, balance beams and springboards
- dumbbells and barbells
- medicine balls
- pole vault and high-jump equipment
- boxing or wrestling rings
A vibrating platform would be excluded from this heading. This would be considered proper to 8497 as per Commission Regulation (EU) No 315/2011.
General sports equipment
A wide variety of general sports equipment is covered by heading code 9506 99, including:
- cricket and polo equipment (but not balls)
- sticks and bats for sports, such as hockey and lacrosse
- nets for games, such as tennis and badminton
- fencing equipment including foils and sabres
- archery equipment, such as bows, arrows and targets
- protective equipment used in sports, such as elbow and knee pads, cricket pads and shin guards
- clay pigeons and their protectors
- automatic serving machines for tennis
- children’s playground equipment including swings, slides and seesaws
There are, however, a number of specific exceptions that you need to be aware of:
- strings for rackets (Chapter 39, heading 42.06 or Section XI Textiles)
- inflatable mattresses (lilos) and life vests of heading 39.26
- sports gloves are covered under heading codes 3926 or 4203
- sports bags and containers are classified under heading codes 4202, 4303 or 4304
- sails for boats or other craft are covered under heading code 6303
- sports vehicles other than bobsleighs or toboggans are classified under Section XIII
- frogmen’s and other goggles of heading 90.04
- inflatable ride-ons, swim rings with animal feature appendages, large rings used for water-slides of heading 95.03
- breathing appliances of a kind used with oxygen or compressed air bottles of heading 90.20
Supplies for fishing, shooting and hunting
Fishing rods and accessories for fishing are covered under heading code 9507.
Fishing rods, regardless of material or whether they’re single piece or jointed, are classified under heading code 9507 10. Fish hooks of all types are covered by heading code 9507 20. Fishing reels and reel mountings are classified under heading code 9507 30.
Other fishing equipment, including landing nets, butterfly nets and fishing tackle, is classified under heading code 9507 90. This section also covers decoy birds for hunting and lark mirrors. However, clay pigeons are classified under heading code 9506 99.
Other exceptions for this heading include:
- feathers for making artificial flies (heading code 0505 or 6701)
- yarns, microfilaments, cords, or real or imitation gut that has not been made up into fishing lines (classified as a textile in Section XI)
- traps and snares (classified according to their basic materials)
What’s not covered in Chapter 95
The following types of goods aren’t covered in this guide:
- sportswear, such as sports shoes or clothing - clothing is largely classified according to the material from which it’s made - check Section XI (Chapter 61 or Chapter 62) of the Tariff -footwear is covered in Chapter 64 of the Tariff
- bicycles for children are covered in Chapter 87 of the Tariff
- accessories for cycling, such as bells, mirrors and drinks holders are covered according to the nature of their basic parts - for example, plastic mirrors are covered in Chapter 39 of the Tariff, while glass mirrors come under Chapter 70
- paints for children are classified under Chapter 32 - crayons and pastels are classified in Chapter 96, heading code 09
- children’s books (including those for drawing and colouring in) are classified in Chapter 49
- lottery tickets, scratch cards, raffle tickets and tombola tickets are generally classified under Chapter 49
- strings for tennis and other rackets are defined as textiles and covered in Section XI of the Tariff according to the material used
- sports bags and gloves - sports bags are classified under Chapter 42 - sports gloves are classified according to their basic material - Chapter 39 for plastic, Chapter 42 for leather or Chapter 61 or Chapter 62 if textile
Goods are often classified in the Tariff according to the materials from which they’re made, referred to as ‘constituent material’. For example, a puzzle made of wood will be classified differently from a puzzle made of other materials. However, there’ll be occasions when your goods are made from more than one material.
In these circumstances, you should classify the goods according to the material that gives it its ‘essential character’, for example a model car may be made using die-cast metal, although may feature some trim made from plastics. In this case, it’s the die-cast metal that provides the ‘essential character’ and it should be classified as such.
Sets, outfits and collections
When 2 different types of articles used together for amusement are packaged for retail sale, they should be classified as ‘sets’ or ‘outfits’, using Chapter 95, heading code 0300. This is referred to as using the ‘General Interpretive Rule’ (GIR).
Collections of items that would otherwise be classified in a variety of heading codes, such as chemistry sets, sewing kits are classified to 95030070 using Chapter Note 4 to Chapter 95.
Sets and outfits are 2 or more articles packaged together to achieve the same play function, for example a toy dog packaged with a kennel and small bone. Sets and outfits that comprise goods that would be classified individually under different headings can be classified under the one heading that gives the set its essential characteristics. Outfits wouldn’t include textile items of fancy dress. These would be classified according to the material from which they’re made - see Section XI (Chapter 61 or Chapter 62).
For example, a plastic doll dressed in a skirt, top and shoes would be classified under 9503 00 21 00. A plastic chair for a doll to sit in would be classified under 9503 00 95 00. Using Note 3 to Chapter 95, a chair would be classified as an accessory to the doll. However, if they’re packaged together, the essential characteristic of the set would be the doll, so the set can be classified under the doll’s heading of 9503 00 21 00.
Sets or collections comprises the same commodity (for example, a package containing 6 plastic dolls), it must be classified according to its defining characteristics. In this case it should be classified as plastic dolls and not as a set or collection.
The free online UK Trade Tariff is available for your use to look up classification codes. This offers easy access to tariff information by providing commodity code and duty rate listings together with a search engine to facilitate enquiries and allow self-service to commodity code information.
If after visiting this site you’re unable to self-assess your products, you can request additional support by sending a request by email to email@example.com.
Please ensure that one item only is detailed per email and that the request includes the following type of information, so that we can deal with your enquiry efficiently:
- what the product is
- what it’s made of, if made or more than one material please explain the breakdown of the materials
- what it’s used for
- how the product work or functions
- how it’s presented or packaged
Additionally detailed below is some additional information that is required on certain products:
- for footwear – please include the type (shoe, boot, slipper), upper material details, outer sole material details, the heel height and the purpose for men or woman
- for food – please include precise composition details by percentage weight of all the ingredients to 100% and the method of manufacture or process undergone for example fresh, frozen, dried, further prepared or preserved
- for chemicals – please include the Chemical Abstracts Service Number, whether the product is a liquid, powder or solid and include the percentage ingredients
- for textiles – please include the material composition, how it’s constructed (knitted or woven) and the name of fabric
- for vehicles – please include the age, the engine type (petrol or diesel), the engine size, whether the vehicle is new or used, whether the vehicle is over 30 years old, whether it’s in its original condition and whether it’s going to be for everyday use
A classification officer will then email a response back to you providing you with non-legally binding classification advice based on the information you have supplied.
Published: 3 August 2012
Updated: 12 November 2015
- The further information section has been updated to show the change of contact details.
- First published.
From: HM Revenue & Customs
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