What is the HTSUS?
The HTSUS is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
This post will give a rundown of what the HTSUS is and why it is so important:
- The HTSUS was established in 1989 through an act of Congress. This new tariff classification replaced the old Tariff Schedule of the United States.
- The “HTS comprises a hierarchical structure for describing all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical purposes.”
- The hierarchical structure is based on the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). This system was created by the World Customs Organization, which is based out of Brussels, Belgium.
- The HTSUS contains 10 numbers, grouped by chapter, heading and subheadings.
- The first 6 digits of the HTS are universal throughout the world.
- The HTSUS is the primary source for determining the proper tariff classification for goods that are imported into the United States.
- The HTSUS assists importers in deciphering what duties are owed for imported goods.
- It is an importers obligation to utilize “reasonable care” in ascertaining the correct HTSUS.
- Experts use the HTS, in conjunction with explanatory notes, general notes, general rules of interpretation and Customs Binding Rulings to determine the correct HTS.
- Penalties for non-compliance with the HTSUS (i.e., randomly picking the HTSUS with the lowest duty rate) can be severe! 19 U.S.C. 1592 is the statute CBP references when issuing penalties for negligence, gross negligence or fraud – depending on the degree of culpability CBP believes you had at the time of your non-compliance.