This page explains why you must follow the guidance in the Tariff, and the action HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can take if you don't.
Whether you own a copy of the Tariff or not, it is essential to keep up with changes in commodity codes, rates of duty and regulations related to the products you are importing or exporting.
The hard copy of the Tariff is published once a year, with ten monthly amendments. This also applies to the CD-Rom and online versions. If you are importing and exporting within the European Union (EU), the TARIC (the EU version of the Tariff) is updated online daily. Access the UK Trade Tariff.
If you get your codes or rate of duty wrong, HMRC may impose a fine, or even seize your goods. HMRC can also take action if you fail to obtain licences or comply with regulations. Your goods could also be delayed, which could harm business relationships.
Read more about customs seizures and penalties.
For a general overview of the documents you might need for importing and exporting, see international trade paperwork: the basics.