Nigeria HS Codes – Importance Of Customs HS Code in Shipping

HS Code in Shipping and Customs Clearance

HS code is important to every importer whose shipment would require customs clearance procedures at the port of discharge. In this post, you are going to learn and understand how to find the most suitable HS codes to quickly clear your goods out of any port and ease the clearing process.

What Is HS Code?

HS Code stands for the Harmonized System Code. It is an international standardized system of tariff nomenclature that contains the names along with a number to classify traded products. In much simpler terms, HS Code is the number and words system used to classify internationally traded products to determine the tariff of each of these products.

The harmonized system for classifying products was first introduced in 1988 and has since been adopted by various countries. The HS code comprises 6 digits on an international level but in Nigeria, it has an extra 4 digits making it 10 digits. A typical HS code looks like this: 8456.30, while that on the Nigerian Customs portal typically looks like this 8456.30.0000.

Although it is a harmonized code used internationally by up to 200 different countries, the duty assigned to each HS code depends on the country and its government, policies, laws and even social values. For example, the HS code for Wine may have an import duty (ID) of 20% in Nigeria and 40% in India.

The HS code is a piece of important information that needs to reflect on your importation and exportation documents for efficient customs clearance out of the airport or seaport. Read more.

Importance of HS code

It is the legal responsibility of the shipper (importers & exporters) to provide the HS code when shipping goods from origin to destination. Below are 3 key reasons to provide the right HS codes when shipping items:

  1. Product Documentation and Definition: Using the right HS code helps to determine the exact product that you’re importing or exporting. That way it is easier to process the correct documents to allow for a smooth shipment in and out of any country.
  2. Customs Duty Payment and Other Taxes: With the right HS code, you can easily calculate your customs duty payable. That way you have enough information for projection, budgeting and planning. 
  3. Regulation: It is used for regulation of internal taxes, trade policies, monitoring of controlled goods, rules of origin, freight tariffs by governments, international organizations and the private sector.

How To Match The Right HS Code To Your Product

Here are some of the ways to cross-check and confirm that you are using the right HS code:

  1. You can identify the right HS code for your products by searching on the Nigerian Single Window for Trade Portal.
  2. Check that the description attached to the HS code selected explicitly or at the very least closely describes the product that you’re shipping.
  3. Sometimes, the same products or very similar products described differently have different HS codes. These HS codes may also have different import duty assigned; so ensure that you select the HS code that describes your product with a favorable import duty that will favor you so as not to overpay duty, levies and taxes.
  4. Check with a professional customs broker to ensure that your classification is correct.

N.B: The final say on the HS code to be used when clearing your products remains in the jurisdiction of customs of both the importing and exporting countries.

Implications Of A Wrong HS Code

Using a wrong HS code is perceived to be a wrong declaration of goods. As the importer or exporter, it is your responsibility to correctly classify and rightly declare your good. When in doubt, it is best to contact a customs brokerage professional. Some of the consequences that come with the wrong classification of goods include:

  • Non-Compliance Penalties: There are usually monetary penalties that can run into millions as a result of the wrong declaration.
  • Risk of Delays and Storage Charges: When goods are not cleared out because of discrepancies in the HS code, you are risking incurring storage costs till the issues are resolved.
  • Seizure of Goods: Goods may be seized until customs officials are able to properly identify and classify your goods with the right HS codes.
  • Regulatory Risks: Classifying your goods with the wrong HS codes may attract regulatory agencies intervention and can lead to an importer paying higher duties or a fine for inaccuracy.

When in doubt about your HS codes and customs clearing processes, contact Valuehandlers International. We engage in professional customs brokerage and clearing.

 Valuehandlers has efficiently cleared a large number of consignments and cargo out of the seaport and airport over the years. We understand the Customs clearing processes and will advise our clients on HS code, import duty payments and other levies to ensure compliance and save money where possible. 

Click the links below to read more about importation and customs clearance:

Customs clearing process in the airport

Customs clearing process in the seaport

Documents needed for clearing by regulatory agencies

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About the Blogger: ROBEZ FREIGHTLINER LTD is a freight forwarding and logistics company with deep competencies in Air cargo freight, Sea freight, Express parcel, E-commerce logistics, Import and Export documentation, door delivery and pick-up services, Customs clearing and warehousing. 



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