Enterprises have the right to pre determine HS codes


Customs officers of Saigon port zone 1 inspect exported goods. Photo: T.H
Customs officers of Saigon port zone 1 inspect exported goods. Photo: T.H

To determine HS codes correctly

Regarding the application of HS codes to imported goods, some enterprises said that, in some cases, it is very difficult for them to determine HS codes correctly. Accordingly, when applying the wrong code, enterprises are sanctioned for administrative violations, enterprises will have to pay tax arrears, be fined with a very large amount, affecting the legal compliance of enterprises.

A representative of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department said that an item has only one code, the wrong declaration of code has many reasons, both subjective and objective. In fact, the application of correct HS codes for some items is also very difficult, it requires consultations from many stakeholders.

Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department noted that enterprises should actively make the most of the right to pre-determine HS codes for imported goods. Procedures and conditions for executing the right to pre-determine HS codes are specified in Articles 23 and 24 of Decree 08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015 of the Government; Clause 11, Article 1 Decree 59/2018/ND-CP dated April 20, 2018 of the Government amending and supplementing a number of articles of Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015.

The application for pre-determination of HS codes shall comply with the provisions of Clause 3, Article 1, and Circular No. 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018, of the Ministry of Finance amending and supplementing a number of articles of Circular No. 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015, of the Ministry of Finance and shall be sent to the General Department of Customs for settlement.

Accordingly, enterprises should estimate the arrival time to make procedures in advance, to avoid waste of waiting time at the border gate. Because according to regulations, the time of HS code issuance is within 30 days from the date of receiving the complete dossier; for a complicated case, the time is 60 days.

Post-inspection to facilitate trade

Deputy Director of the Saigon port zone 3 Customs Branch Le Chien Thang said that many enterprises do not declare enough data, and details of goods so that the customs office has enough basis to determine the correct goods’ name and code. For units with a large number of customs declarations, customs officers do not have enough time to review, so the transition from pre-inspection to post-inspection is appropriate.

According to regulations, there are items with the same name and type of goods but the different purpose of use, the customs shall rely on the purpose of use to levy tax on that goods.

According to Head of Control and Supervision Division Vuong Tuan Nam – Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, to facilitate trade and shorten the time for customs clearance of goods, the Customs has applied the transition from pre-inspection to post-inspection.

Accordingly, the Customs office will strengthen inspection after customs clearance to support the inspection of the pre-clearance stages, so this activity is normal, necessary and convenient for customs clearance at the border gate.

Noting businesses about applying HS codes, Mr. Dang Thai Thien, Deputy Head of Control and Supervision Division said, HS is currently implemented according to the World Customs HS Nomenclature 2022 Edition, which has been internalized by the Ministry of Finance by Circular 31/ 2022/TT-BTC dated June 8, 2022, effective from December 30, 2022.

With this version, from April 1, 2023, when submitting customs documents, enterprises must check carefully because 833 lines of the HS code of the 2017 version are no longer in the 2022 version.

Vietnam’s special preferential import tariffs are also designed on the basis of Circular 31/2022/TT-BTC. To classify goods according to HS codes, it is necessary to clearly understand the 6 Rules of Classification, and carefully study the Notes to Sections, Chapters, Headings and Subheadings of the HS System.

This is not easy content for those who do not often access it. Therefore, those who regularly carry out customs procedures should send employees to attend intensive training classes on this content, to avoid errors.

To consult the specific HS code of a certain item, in addition to the right to pre-determine the HS code, enterprises can look up information on the Portal of the General Department of Customs, local customs departments; consult the Import-Export Tax Department, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, or directly contact the customs branch where the procedures are done for guidance.


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