Customs Classification – A Key Component of an Import Compliance Manual

We are often asked by importers to assist in classifying their products under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (“HTS” or “HTSUS”). While seeking assistance from expert counsel is a best practice, under the CBP Modernization Act, an importer of record (“IOR”) is the sole party responsible for determining the correct classification of imported goods (and thereby paying the correct amount of customs duties). An IOR must use reasonable care in classifying its product at the time of entry. Should an importer misclassify their products and not pay the appropriate duties to CBP at the time of importation; the importer is exposing itself to potential CBP penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1592.  The process of classifying goods can be a tedious process and may require time and research to arrive at the correct HTSUS number for any one product.

This blog expands our prior blog, Crash Course in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and provides additional detail on the classification process and tips for importers to use when deciding on a classification its customs broker will declare to CBP.  Importers are encouraged to attend the webinar How to Build and Maintain an Effective Import Compliance Plan on October 6, 2021 (and on-demand) for best practices on how to build and maintain an import compliance plan by addressing common risks associated with the import process – including product classification.