The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System of Tariff Nomenclature (or Harmonized Tariff Schedule – HTS) is an internationally standardized system of names and number for classifying traded products. The system is developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization. This coding system helps customs officials in any country easily determine what’s being shipped and what the required duties and taxes for the shipment may be without language barriers.
Harmonized Codes include Schedule B Numbers (which are for US exports) and HTS Codes (which are for US imports). The first six digits of the HC are used worldwide. Each country may add additional numbers beyond the original six to suit their own tariff and statistics needs.
The format in the US for Harmonized Codes is a 10-digit sequence such as 9504.90.9040 (bowling balls) or 9506.32.0000 (golf balls). Some countries require the Code to be on the Commercial Invoice. However, even if it is not required, we recommend using the Codes to ensure the receiving country handles the item correctly and charges the appropriate duties and taxes. Otherwise, you may face customs delays due to missing, incorrect or incomplete HTS Codes. It is imperative to provide all ten digits of the HTS Code on your customs invoice. The final rates of duty often depend on the last four digits.