To fill in your Intrastat returns, you need to identify the customs code for each of your products from the European Combined Customs Codes. Find out more.
Customs codes: what are they?
Customs codes form the basis for compiling external and Intra-Community trade statistics. These codes can be named several ways: INTRASTAT code, customs code, DEB code, HS code, tariff heading, tariff species, etc.
Each product corresponds to a code. These codes are harmonised worldwide and the classification list includes nearly 15,500 references organised into 99 chapters. These codes have between 6 and 10 digits, and are used so goods can be classified internationally:
- HS – Harmonised System, 6 digits – world scale (World Customs Organization) – and HS in English.
- CN8 – 8-digit Combined Codes – European Union
- ICT – Integrated Community Tariff, 10 digits – level for each member state of the European Union.
These code systems are intertwined
What is the Intrastat code?
To file an INTRASTAT return, the CN code (8) is used. It corresponds to the first 8 digits of the customs code using the Integrated Community Tariff.
How to find your customs code?
To determine the customs code for your goods, you can use the official text available on EUR-Lex, or refer to RITA (Référentiel Intégré du Tarif Automatisé), the reference catalogue updated by the French Customs authorities. This paperless version of the Customs Tariff offers superior search ergonomics.
> Use RITA to determine your customs codes via douane.gouv.fr, RITA Encyclopedia (in French).
Updates to your customs codes
The Combined Codes, used for INTRASTAT returns, are updated annually.
You can find the 2021 CN from 21st September 2020 on Eur-Lex.
> Discover several ways to update your customs codes with our sister company MATHEZ FREIGHT.
What is the purpose of the customs code?
The 8-digit combined code is used to determine:
- Customs duties
- Taxes and taxation (VAT rates, etc.)
- Monitoring measures
- Documents to be produced.
It also identifies possible trade incentives or retaliatory measures – tariff suspensions, tariff quotas, anti-dumping duties – and existing EC regulations: monitoring, restrictions, bans.
Who should file an Intrastat, EC sales list or EC purchase list return? What are the thresholds, what types of transactions, in what countries? All the answers in our VAT guide to Intrastat and EC Sales List/EC Purchase List returns.
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