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Finance

Small Business Term: Harmonized System Codes and How to Show Them on Invoices

Hong Kong harmonized system (HKHS) codes are eight-digit numbers used to classify the types of commodities or products leaving Hong Kong. The World Customs Organization recognizes these standard codes so that customs authorities and traders can classify what’s being shipped across the borders.

If your small business ships products internationally, knowing how to use HKHS codes is important. Placing the correct code on invoices and packages is one step in declaring products by the book. This in turn helps to ensure your product gets into your customer’s hands quickly, safely, and without any unnecessary fees after passing through customs.

Wondering which code to use for your product? At the Census and Statistics Department website, head to Finding Commodity Codes, where you can choose the two-digit chapter code that best describes your product. From there, select the heading code that describes your product further. You can then choose the HKHS code that most closely matches what you’re shipping. For example, you could select the chapter code 65 for headgear, the heading code 6505 for knitted or crocheted hats, and the final HKHS code 65050030 for knitted or crocheted hats made from wool.

When creating invoices for your customers, you need to input HKHS codes alongside a clear description of your product, both in Chinese characters and in English. If you’re using a software such as Quickbooks Online, a custom field in your invoice can house this important code. Remember to make the field public so it shows up on printed forms. Once you save the changes, you can now input your eight-digit HKHS code in the field for printing future invoices.

Understanding HKHS is vital for anyone exporting items out of Hong Kong, but the right software, like QuickBooks Online, can you help streamline the process for you and your staff.


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