Paid customs duties, but had to return your purchase?

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Commodity codes

A commodity code is a code that customs authorities use to classify goods that are traded internationally. The code consists of a range of digits, and is a key part of the documentation required to ship goods from one country to another.

In the UK, commodity codes are administered by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The commodity code system is based on the Harmonized System (HS) of commodity classification, which is used by over 200 countries around the world.

To import any goods, the right commodity code must be listed in the customs declaration. Otherwise, wrong duties will be charged, and legal consequences or fines could apply.

Understanding commodity codes

The HS consists of 21 sections, 96 chapters, and 1,244 headings. Each commodity is assigned a 10-digit HS code, which is used to calculate import duties and taxes.

HS codes give an insight into the type of goods, materials used, and production method of the item in question.

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Can I get my customs duty refunded?
If you’ve returned an item to a retailer abroad worth over £135, then most likely yes! There are a few caveats though. Certain items like alcohol and tobacco aren’t eligible.

And there are time limits too.

If you returned the item because it was damaged or defective, it can’t have first entered the UK more than 365 days ago. And if you returned the item because you didn’t want it anymore, it can’t have entered the UK more than 90 days ago.
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