The United States charges customs duties on products transported across international borders. Different products have different duty rates, as determined by the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Importers must classify products before arrival and pay duties at the U.S. border.
The trickiest part of calculating import duties is choosing the correct classification. If an importer doesn't classify the items according to the schedule, U.S. customs charges the importer an additional fee. If an item is not classified correctly, the importer may be overcharged at the border by U.S. customs.
Find the ten-digit code associated with your product. You can find the appropriate code by searching the schedule, but there may be multiple codes for similar items. To get the most accurate code, choose the appropriate product category and subcategory for the product. Locate the rate of duty adjacent to the code. If the duty is a percentage of value, multiply the rate by the value of the item to calculate the import duty. Otherwise, the duty is the specific number listed under duty rate.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.