Guidance

Finding commodity codes for imports into or exports out of the EU

Find a commodity code to classify your goods and look up duty rates, reliefs and quotas.

You’ll need a commodity code to make your customs declaration when you bring goods in or send goods out of the EU. This includes goods sent to you from abroad.

If you classify your goods correctly you’ll know what rate of duty and import VAT you should pay, and if:

  • the duty is suspended
  • you need a licence to move your goods
  • your goods are covered by:
    • the Common Agricultural Policy
    • anti-dumping duties
    • tariff quotas

In a no-deal Brexit, you may need to pay different rates of duty. Check the different rates when you know the commodity codes for your goods.

Hard to classify goods

Some goods are hard to classify. If you’re having difficulty, check the guidance about:

Using the Trade Tariff tool

You can search the Trade Tariff tool to find the right commodity code.

Find out how to use the Trade Tariff tool.

Split consignments

Some goods, like large machinery, cannot be transported in a single consignment.

Find out if your goods qualify for import in split consignments and what you need to do to import goods in this way.

Get help with a difficult classification

You should first search the EU Binding Tariff Information (EBTI) rulings on the Europa website to see if a decision has already been made on a similar product.

If you still cannot find the right commodity code for your goods, you can contact HMRC for advice or for a decision on your goods. You can do this in two ways.

Informal advice

You can use HMRC’s Tariff Classification Service to get non-legally binding classification advice. HMRC will respond to your email within 3 working days. Use this method for a quick and informal decision.

Formal legally binding decision

You can apply for a Binding Tariff Information decision. This is a legally binding decision on the commodity code to use for your goods and can take between 30 and 60 days to be processed. Use this method if:

  • your goods are hard to classify and informal advice is inappropriate for you or your business
  • your goods are a new type
  • you need a longer lasting and legally binding decision for your goods
Published 21 December 2018
  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    You need to follow this process if you're moving goods to a country outside the EU.

    What you need to do is different if you are:

    1. Get exporting advice on great.gov.uk
  2. Step 2 Check the rules for exporting your goods

    Check if you need a licence or certificate to export your goods from the UK. You also need to check if there are any restrictions or special rules in the country you want to export to.

    1. Check if you need a UK licence or certificate to export your goods
    2. Check the duties, rules and restrictions for your goods in the destination country

    The rules for trading with some countries outside the EU might change after Brexit.

    1. Check if the UK has negotiated a trade agreement with the country you are exporting to after Brexit
  3. Step 3 Register your business for exporting

    1. Get an EORI number
    2. Check if you should register for VAT

    You can apply for simplified declaration procedures and for Authorised Economic Operator status. These are most suitable for businesses that export goods regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if Authorised Economic Operator status is right for you
  4. Step 4 Apply for a licence or certificate if you need one

    How soon you need to start the application process and what you need to do depends on the type of goods you’re exporting.

    1. Apply for a licence or certificate if you need one
  5. Step 5 Decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods

    You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself. Most businesses that export goods use a transporter or customs agent.

    1. Find out how to hire someone to deal with customs for you
    2. Find out what you'll need to do if you make the customs declaration yourself
    3. Find out how to transport goods out of the UK by road yourself
  6. Step 6 Classify your goods

    You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're exporting.

    Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.

    1. You are currently viewing: Find the right commodity code for your goods
  7. Step 7 Prepare the invoice and other documentation for your goods

    The completed invoice and any licences or certificates must travel with the goods.

    When filling in the value of your goods on the invoice, use the price you’re selling them for. List separately any freight or export insurance you included in the price. For free samples, use the market value of the goods.

    You might be able to zero rate the goods for VAT. This means you can charge your customers VAT at 0%.

    1. Check if you can zero rate the goods for VAT
  8. Step 8 Get your goods through customs

    If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.

    1. Make an export declaration and get your goods cleared by UK customs

    You may need other documentation to get your goods into the destination country. Ask the person or business buying your goods what information you need to provide.

  9. Step 9 Keep invoices and records

    You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork.

    If you exported controlled goods, for example firearms, keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods.

    If you're VAT registered, record the goods in your VAT accounts and report them on your VAT Return. You'll need to do this even if you zero rated them.

    1. Find out how to record the goods in your VAT accounts
    2. Fill in your VAT Return