What is a HS Code?
HS (Harmonised System) Codes are typically 6 to 10-digit figures that all customs agencies use to identify goods easily. Customs authorities not only use HS codes to identify what goods are being shipped, but they also use them to apply relevant customs duties, taxes and regulations. You will need to have an HS Code for each type of product that you are exporting. The HS Codes are sorted into categories generally based on the type of material the goods are predominantly made from.
When shipping freight, it is important that you use the relevant HS Code on each line on your commercial invoice. Using a HS Code on a commercial invoice ensures that exports make it through customs seamlessly and without delay. Failure to place the HS Code on the commercial invoice could risk the importer paying the incorrect tax. You also may end up paying interest on any back-payments for incorrect classification, and your goods may even be seized.
How do I find the HS Code for my Product?
The Australian Government has a tool that helps you determine what HS code to use for your product and find the relevant rules, regulations, tariffs and trade agreements for exporting the goods to a particular country. To use the tool, follow the below steps:
- Go to: Business Gov Australia – Find Laws And Regulations.
- With Products selected, use keywords in the ‘Enter product or HS code’ field to describe the product that you intend to export. A dropdown selection will appear for you to chose from.
- Next, another field will appear, select the market (i.e., country that you are exporting to).
- Click ‘Search’
Alternatively, you can search through the entire list at Free Trade Agreement Portal.
We recommend contacting either Austrade or business.gov.au for more information.