Classifying imports and exports


All UK businesses must declare any imports or exports to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure that any import VAT, duty, excise or levies due on them under UK and European law are collected.

How different goods are classified largely determines what duties and controls apply to them. HMRC uses commodity codes found in the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom (the Tariff) to classify individual products. Classification of commodities is necessary for import and export declarations as well as Intrastat returns. Other government departments also rely on Tariff classification for licences and other documents.

This guide contains intermediate information about how to classify your goods correctly and explains the role of the Tariff when classifying your goods. The guide also provides information about useful resources and services that are available to help you, including the Tariff Classification Service, which can provide legally binding advice and decisions on the classification of the goods.