About Binding Tariff Information (BTI)






Applying for a BTI decision


Can customs refuse to issue BTI?

Can the BTI decision be changed?



A BTI is a written tariff classification decision, given on request, which is legally binding on all customs administrations within the European Community for up to six years from the date of issue.

BTI is intended to give you assurance about the correct tariff classification of your goods. It is not a legal requirement.

BTI decisions are made under the terms of Council Regulation (EEC) 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 (as amended) establishing the Community Customs Code, and the Implementing Provisions contained in Commission Regulation (EEC) 2454/93 of July 1993 (as amended). This forms part of Community law and applies in all Member States of the EU.

Each BTI will:

  • be notified to you on a legal document bearing the correct commodity code for the goods and the start date for the period of validity of the information
  • carry a reference number which is uniquely identifiable with the particular goods for which the decision has been issued
  • show the name and address of the holder of the information, that is, the person legally entitled to use it. BTI is non transferable
  • show an explicit description of the goods to which it relates (including any specific marks and numbers) which can be used to readily identify your goods at the frontier
  • show the basis of the legal justification for the decision. In certain circumstances the justification may be expanded within the covering letter

If you hold a BTI for particular goods then you should indicate this on your Customs entries by declaring the unique BTI reference number in box 44 of the Single Administrative Document C88.

If an agent or other representative completes customs documentation on your behalf you should advise them about the existence of BTI and the correct commodity code for your particular goods.

An electronic copy of the BTI decision will be sent to Brussels for inclusion in the European database of BTI, accessible by the customs administrations of all Member States.

If you do not agree with the legal justification of the tariff classification decision contained in the BTI you may request a Departmental review.


Obtaining a BTI about the correct tariff classification for your goods can benefit your business in that it:

  • provides certainty that you, or your chosen representative, can declare the correct commodity code for your goods on the customs entry
  • helps you meet your legal obligations in respect of correct tariff classification ensuring that your liability for duties, VAT and other charges, or your eligibility for certain refunds (such as CAP), are known in advance
  • alerts you about any import or export licensing requirements or if quotas or other quantitative restrictions apply to your goods
  • contributes to the quality of the Overseas Trade Statistics which form the basis of the UK’s balance of payments and can be used to monitor market trends


The Community Customs Code dictates that a BTI can only be supplied where an import or export operation is actually envisaged. This means before all customs procedures have been completed. BTI decisions cannot be made retrospectively.

The Community Customs Code also requires that you indicate the commodity code that you consider is appropriate for your goods when you apply for a BTI.

Applying for a BTI decision

You should apply electronically for a BTI decision. For more information on how to do this, please access our eBTI information page.

What you should provide:

  • each application should cover only one type of goods
  • you must provide a full and accurate description of the goods
  • for some goods you may also need to provide precise details of the composition, technical specifications and specific function of the goods
  • it would be helpful to provide a sample of the goods where possible, however for textile goods, shoes and ceramics a sample is always required
  • you are able to send images of your samples by email (BMP, JPG and XLS suffixes only). However in some instances a sample must be provided ie for textile goods, shoes and ceramics. Email tariff.classification@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk
  • if sample is considered to be hazardous, it is important that you telephone the Tariff classification Service prior to sending as the sample may not be accepted by customs for Health and safety reasons. In some instances a sample may not be required, a photograph or packaging detaining the analytical make up of the product may suffice
  • the opening times for delivery of samples to the building are:
    Monday to Thursday, 6.30am to 4.30pm
    Friday , 6.30am to 4pm
  • the opening times for collection of samples to the building are:
    Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm
    Friday, 8:30am to 4pm

For the purpose of maintaining a secure delivery and collection service for all parcels we are unable to accept parcels deliveries or facilitate parcel collections outside of these times.


BTI will be supplied free of charge under the terms of the Community Customs Code. However, costs may be passed on to you where HMRC incur them in respect of obtaining:

  • laboratory analysis of your sample
  • expert advice about your sample
  • returning your samples

Can customs refuse to issue BTI?

HMRC can refuse an application for BTI if you:

  • are not planning to import or export the goods
  • have applied for BTI for the same goods in another Member State
  • are unable to supply all the necessary information about your goods
  • your goods have cleared customs import procedures

Can the BTI decision be changed?

Although BTI decisions are normally valid for six years, they may be revoked in the following circumstances such as:

  • inaccurate or incomplete information was provided to us on application
  • the composition of the goods subsequently changes, the BTI may no longer apply
  • if there is a change in the wording of the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes or Combined Nomenclature Explanatory Notes which affects interpretation of the nomenclature
  • the terms of the subheading or commodity code number changes, which alters the classification of the goods
  • there are subsequent changes in the interpretation of the nomenclatures which make the original decision no longer compatible with EC law, for example when a Commission Regulation, HS Classification Opinion etc enters into force
  • customs interpretation of the applicable classification alters
  • if a BTI is revoked as a result of an EC Regulation, European Court Judgement or Classification Opinion the holder may still use it for a limited period providing evidence can be produced to customs that the goods are covered by binding commercial contracts made on the basis of the original BTI decision

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