Harmonized Codes

A harmonized code (HS Code) consists of 6 digits and is used universally by 180 countries to determine duty on imports.

Decoding Harmonized Codes

In eCommerce, duty (which is determined by a harmonized code) rarely is the most costly piece of your total landed cost. In fact, looking at the hundreds of Zonos™ eCommerce clients, 62% of the orders had zero duty on their imports. Since eCommerce orders have a relatively low value, orders under the de minimis value are quite common. Also, at times items are non-dutiable because the import country sets a zero duty rate or there is preferential treatment from trade agreements. To add perspective, PayPal charges a 4.4% transaction fee on international sales and the average duty rate for Zonos cross-border orders is 4.2%.

Zonos Recommends

Small to medium-sized companies can offer a landed cost without harmonizing their catalog. The ROI in harmonizing a catalog will miss the mark if your landed cost solution is unable to calculate advancement, DDP fees, or brokerage fees.

Dynamic HS Classification

Zonos Checkout dynamically classifies your items at the time of checkout to calculate the appropriate duty and tax rates by country and item. HS classification is achieved with machine learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and image analysis (image analysis is only available with Zonos Classify). Though dynamic classification occurs on all items, you need to upgrade to Zonos Classify to have visibility to the classifications result.

Variable Type Use case
items[index].description (required) NLP used for Subheading determination
items[index].unitPrice (required) Duty percentage is applied to total price
items[index].quantity (required) Duty percentage is applied to total price
items[index].itemCategory Assists in mapping to the correct Chapter or Heading
items[index].itemSubCategory Assists in mapping to the correct Chapter or Heading
items[index].itemHSCode If you send an HS code we will use it, otherwise we will assign one
items[index].itemBrand Helps maps Chapters and avoid false positives in classifications
items[index].countryOfOrigin MFN (Most Favored Nation) may influence duty rate
items[index].itemUrl NLP used to parse URL parameters
items[index].itemDescriptionDetailed NLP used for Subheading determination
items[index].itemMaterial Important for items like textiles to determine a Subheading
items[index].imageURL Zonos Classify image recognition

Send as many variables as possible to ensure the best classification and duty tax calculation.

What is a harmonized code?

A harmonized code is six digits and is maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The final 7-10 digit codes are maintained by the import county to monitor statistics and to apply different duty rates where the six-digit determination does not provide enough detail for a specific country of import to apply duty or control the import of particular items. Here is an example of a Tennis Shoe and how the Harmonized System classifies it.

Chapter Heading Subheading
Footwear Soles of Rubber Tennis Shoes
64 6404 6404.11