I get asked this question almost daily so I made a quick video on this, and figured it’d be helpful to post on here. It’s key to take a look at your end to end costs before you get involved in a product, and while we’re not Customs brokers, taking a few minutes to find your HS Code and figuring out how much duty costs when you import your product can save you an extra cost a lot of people forget about.
To find duty tax, you first need to find your HS Code. HS codes refer to Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, basically an internationally standardized system of names and numbers that classifies most commodities traded. This makes it easier for each country to set taxes for each commodity.
So let’s get started: First you need to find your HS Code…there’s two ways of doing this. Asking a Customs broker is the most obvious, but if you don’t have one or don’t want to drive him nuts as you browse Alibaba at 3am, I recommend either asking your supplier, or searching on Google.
If asking the supplier doesn’t work out, try something as simple as googling “HS Code Football” and see what you come up with. Pro tip – duty calculator.com shows up a ton and is now membership only, but hitting the drop down tab to the right shows Cached post and that’ll usually pull what you need.
Use common sense here and check to make sure the code matches…on dutycalculator it shows up top what the code classifies as. If it doesn’t make sense for your product, I’d keep looking.
So now that you have the code – assuming you got it from Google or supplier, head over to: https://hts.usitc.gov/ and plug in the first six digits of the HS Code (the last 4 are different per country). Now you’ll see a chart of taxes, and descriptions. Make sure this lines up to your product and you’re all set with an estimate.
Note – Customs and duty tax is a complicated subject, and this is a quick way of estimating if you’re ripping through Alibaba listings and want a quick idea of cost. We don’t use this method here at AMZ Transit when dealing with shipments – we consult a broker…but this is a quick way to estimate late at night when you’re browsing Alibaba. If you need a definitive answer, contact your broker/forwarder.
Hope this helps.
-Don from AMZ Transit