What is a HS Code in shipping?

The Harmonized System is an international nomenclature for the classification of products. It allows participating countries to classify traded goods on a common basis for customs purposes. At the international level, the Harmonized System (HS) for classifying goods is a six-digit code system.

The HS comprises approximately 5,300 article/product descriptions that appear as headings and subheadings, arranged in 99 chapters, grouped in 21 sections. The six digits can be broken down into three parts. The first two digits (HS-2) identify the chapter the goods are classified in, e.g. 09 = Coffee, Tea, Maté and Spices. The next two digits (HS-4) identify groupings within that chapter, e.g. 09.02 = Tea, whether or not flavoured. The next two digits (HS-6) are even more specific, e.g. 09.02.10 Green tea (not fermented)... Up to the HS-6 digit level, all countries classify products in the same way (a few exceptions exist where some countries apply old versions of the HS).

Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems (HS)


Self Assessed Clearance (SAC) declarations for low value goods under a $1000.00 Goods with a value under the low value goods threshold of a$1000 (except goods that arrive by post) are cleared from Customs and Border Protection by submitting a SAC declaration. In most cases your Freight Forwarder or Customs brokers will make a SAC declaration on your behalf on a fee for service basis.

Customs clearance of goods with a value above a $1000 All goods imported into Australia by sea, air or post with a customs value that exceeds $1000.00 must be cleared by submitting a completed import declaration form (B650) and paying duty, goods and services tax (GST) and other taxes and charges that apply.

Who must make an import declaration? The owner of imported goods is required to make an import declaration. According to Customs law, an owner of imported goods may be the importer, someone who holds themselves out to be the owner, someone who has a beneficial interest in the goods or someone who has control of the goods.

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