harmonized tariff schedule

HTS. Those three letters mean everything to an importer when it comes time to import goods into the United States. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, known as HTS in importer lingo, determines how much of a tariff, or tax, will be imposed on goods being imported into the United States.

Here’s a breakdown of the HTS and why importers should care about it.

What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)?

imports harmonized tariff schedule
The HTS decides what tax you’re going to pay for imported goods.

It’s time to talk tariffs. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) decides what tax you’re going to pay for those imported goods. The HTS makes sure you’re paying the proper tax amount as an importer. A number classification is based on a product’s name, use and/or the material used to construct the goods. The goods being imported are then given a classification code number.

How the HTS Works

The HTS was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1989 and replaces the former titled Tariff Schedules of the United States. The HTS uses a hierarchical number method to describe and classify your goods and the tax imposed on them. The folks at the Bureau of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforce and manage the HTS.  The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSA) provides the most up to date tariff rates and categories for all goods imported into the U.S.

Classifying Your Imports

There’s more than 17,000 individual code numbers to classify your imported goods. That’s a lot of numbers. But the numbers are all put to good use determining the tax rate for the goods while also keeping a record of international trade statistics used in nearly 200 countries. A few of the number classifications for imported goods include:

harmonized tariff schedule classification for imported food
Harmonized Tariff Schedule numbers for imported goods includes classifications for imported food.
  • Live animals
  • Meat, fish, dairy and produce
  • Live trees and plants
  • Coffee, tea and spices
  • Beverages
  • Tobacco
  • Aircraft, ships and locomotives

Why is the HTS Important as an Importer?

Classifying your goods properly is crucial to achieving the correct tariff tax while also achieving the customs clearance green light. Customs Brokers can help you handle Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification and the filing of customs binding ruling requests.

Let us Help

Licensed Customs Brokers at AFC International can help you navigate your imports through HTS classification quickly and efficiently. AFC International Customs Brokers are also equipped to quickly properly classify the goods if an HTS number is not given.

Does your customs brokerage firm handle HTS classification assistance for you as an importer? AFC International Customs Brokers will oversee the entire import process for you and make sure you stay compliant. Call us at 800-274-2329 or get a quote today to get started!