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Commodity Codes

Why do some UK suppliers show Commodity Codes on invoices to UK Customers?

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Why do some UK suppliers show Commodity Codes on invoices to UK Customers?

I receive invoices from suppliers who are based in the UK that show commodity codes and country of origin of goods on their invoices. As a business based solely in the UK I am wondering what the purpose of this is?

Since Brexit I find myself questioning everything


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By tom123
07th Apr 2021 16:16

If they are UK supplies to you, and you are not selling the products overseas, you can ignore this information.

I would imagine a lot of suppliers, with decent systems, will default to showing them now.

After all, suppliers don't know (generally) what the use of the products is that every customer has in mind.

Thanks (2)
By paul.benny
07th Apr 2021 16:47

What Tom said.
One of the 'benefits' of Brexit is that if ever you send goods outside the UK, the importer will need to declare the commodity code and country of origin to clear customs.

Country of origin can be non-obvious. To over-simplify, you might think that a Bentley is as British as can be... but the body shells come from Slovakia (I think), engines from Germany, etc. Bentley need to know the origin of every single component to be determine whether the finished product reaches the threshold to be able to declare the country of origin as UK.

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By Jason Croke
07th Apr 2021 16:54

Freight agents usually require the shipping invoice contain the commodity code as well as the description. As the shipping invoice is often also the actual invoice the customer receives then this is why you are now seeing commodity codes on the invoice.

The fact it is UK to UK is likely a case that the seller has a standard invoice template for all their sales whether UK or EU and so easier admin to just give everyone the same format invoice and if UK recipient is onward shipping them to EU then its handy that the supplier has already classified the goods!

If you are a GB business shipping goods to EU business customers, it makes sense to include the commodity codes on your invoice, so as to reduce any queries should the customs officer inspect the goods.

For example, a container of toy dresses and shoes is invoiced as "accessories for toy dolls", but did you know there is more than one commodity code for this description and so how does freight agent/customs know which is which? So they may inspect the goods or go with the higher duty rate to be on the safe side, whereas if the invoice stated the commodity code on the invoice then there is no ambiguity.

I'm doing an article on commodity codes, involving toy doll clothing as an example of how things can go wrong, it will be published in next week or two.

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