What Are Tariff Classifications?


Quick Answer

A tariff classification system provides uniform identification of imported and exported products and determines the amount of taxes and customs duties owed for a particular shipment of products, according to Global Tariff. The United States uses the Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification system for imports and Schedule B for exports, both of which are based upon the International Harmonized System created by the World Customs Organization, explains Export.gov.

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Full Answer

Under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification system, imports have a four-digit Harmonized System heading code and a six-digit HS subheading code determined by the World Customs Organization, notes Export.gov. The Schedule B classification system uses a 10-digit code, also based on the international classification system.

As of 2015, HTS and B Schedule codes both start with one of the 99 possible two-digit chapter codes, according to Zepol. For example, a 07 chapter code refers to products that fall within the category of edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers. The next two digits are considered the heading and narrow down the chapter. For example, 01 after 07 might classify the product as a potato. Together, the chapter and heading make up the four-digit code used in the Harmonized System. The next four digits in the code are considered the subheading and indicate the amount of duties owned on the shipment.

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