Working out the value of your imports

Use one of 6 ways to work out the value of goods produced outside of the EU, for Customs Duty, VAT calculations and trade statistics.

You must tell HMRC the value of your goods when declaring them for import from outside of the EU. There are 6 ways to work out the value of your goods.

Value for Customs Duty

Method 1

This is the ‘transaction value’ method. It’s based on the price you pay when you buy the goods before bringing them to the UK. You must have evidence of the price you pay with your import entry, for example a copy of the seller’s invoice.

If they’re not already included in the seller’s price, you must add the costs of:

  • delivery to the EU border
  • commissions (except buying commission)
  • royalties and licence fees you have paid on the imported goods as a condition of sale
  • containers and packing
  • any proceeds of resale the seller will get
  • goods and services you give to the seller for free or at a reduced cost - for example, parts you use in the imported goods, or development and design work carried out outside the EU and needed to produce the imports

If you import goods from a processor - that is, a business that assembles or works on one or more sets of existing products to make your new imported products – work out transaction values by adding the value of any materials or components you gave to the processor, to the processing costs.

Leave out things like:

  • delivery costs within the EU
  • EU duties or taxes
  • taxes paid in the country of origin or export
  • quantity and trade discounts and those relating to cash and early settlement, valid at the time that you value your goods
  • dividend payments to the seller
  • marketing activities related to the imports
  • buying commission
  • export quota and licence costs
  • interest charges
  • rights of reproduction
  • post-importation work, for example, construction or assembly
  • management fees

If you import the goods on consignment, that is, there’s been no sale, or you have supplied them free of charge or on loan try method 2.

Method 2

Calculate value based on the customs value of identical goods, produced in the same country as your imports.

If there are no identical goods try method 3.

Method 3

Calculate value based on the customs value of similar goods, which must be:

  • produced in the same country
  • able to carry out the same tasks
  • commercially interchangeable

If there are no similar goods try method 4 or 5.

Method 4

Calculate value based on the selling price of the goods (or identical or similar goods) in the EU.

Simplified procedure values and standard import values apply specifically to fruit and vegetables. But you can only use one of the two and this will depend on a number of factors including the:

  • type of produce
  • method of import
  • time of the year

If there are no EU sales of the goods try method 5 .

Method 5

Calculate value based on the production cost of the goods, including the cost of any materials, manufacturing and any other processing used in production.

If you have not got production cost information try method 6.

Method 6

Calculate value based on adapting one of the previous methods to fit unusual circumstances.

Find out what evidence HMRC needs to support each method.

Simplified procedure values

Simplified procedure values are customs values based on the selling prices at designated marketing centres within the EU.

The average of these prices is published fortnightly and you can only use them for whole fruit and vegetable produce, of a single kind, imported on a consignment basis.

If the imported goods have been part of a sale between a buyer and seller, and so have a transaction value, you cannot use the simplified procedure values system to decide a customs value. You must use method 1 and the actual transaction value for that particular importation.

Simplified procedure values apply to whole fruit and vegetables not cut and diced produce. You can check the list of produce that simplified procedure values do apply to.

Standard import values

‘Standard import values’ is an entry price system that can also apply to named fruit and vegetables during defined periods of application.

Updated daily, standard import values set a standard price per 100 kg net.

For more information, call the HMRC VAT Helpline.

Value for import VAT

As well as using the import value to calculate the Customs Duty payable on your imported goods, HMRC uses that value to calculate import VAT.

Calculate the value for import VAT

Add all of the following items to the goods’ value for duty, unless you have already included them:

  • all incidental expenses you incur up to the goods’ first destination in the UK, for example commission, packing, transport and insurance
  • all incidental expenses that result from transporting the goods to a further destination within the EU (if you know that destination when you import the goods)
  • any customs duties or levies payable on import to the UK
  • any excise duties or other charges payable on import to the UK

Import value for trade statistics

HMRC uses your import value to compile the UK’s trade statistics. You do not need to complete a separate form to declare a value for trade statistics - just declare the value in box 46 of the customs declaration.

Value for trade statistics when Customs Duty is chargeable

If Customs Duty is chargeable as a percentage of the value on your imported goods, then the value you must declare for statistics will be the same as the value you calculated for customs.

Value for trade statistics when Customs Duty is not chargeable

If Customs Duty is not chargeable on your goods, then the value to declare for trade statistics will be based on the price you pay to the seller. But you must make a number of adjustments.

Add the following items to the price you’ll pay when calculating the value for trade statistics:

  • freight
  • insurance
  • any other costs, charges and expenses connected with the sale and delivery of the goods to the port or place of importation in the UK
  • selling commission (except where incurred in the UK)

Leave the following items out of the calculation:

  • transport costs within the UK
  • buying commission
  • selling commission incurred in the UK
  • duties or taxes chargeable in the UK
Published 24 September 2012
Last updated 13 June 2013 + show all updates
  1. Fixing references to specialist guides

  2. First published.

  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    You need to follow these steps if you're bringing goods into the UK - for example for selling, processing or using in your business.

    What you need to do is different if you are:

  2. Step 2 Register your business for importing

    1. Get an EORI number
    2. Check if you need to register for VAT

    You can apply for simplified declaration procedures and for Authorised Economic Operator status. These are most suitable for businesses that import goods regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if Authorised Economic Operator status is right for you
  3. Step 3 Decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods

    You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself. Most businesses that import goods use a transporter or customs agent.

    1. Find out how to hire someone to deal with customs for you
    2. Find out what you'll need to do if you make the customs declaration yourself
  4. Step 4 Classify your goods

    You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're importing. This will tell you the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence.

    Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.

    1. Find the right commodity code for your goods
  5. and Find out if you can delay or reduce your duty payment

    You may be able to delay or reduce the amount of duty you pay based on where the goods are from and what you plan to do with them.

    1. Find out if you can pay a lower rate of duty
    2. Find out if you can delay paying duty
  6. Step 5 Value your goods

    How much VAT and duty you pay depends on the value of your goods and the rate of duty you need to pay.

    1. You are currently viewing: Work out the value of your goods for customs
  7. Step 6 Get a licence or certificate if you need one

    You might need to get a licence or certificate if you're importing things like plant or animal products, high-risk food or feed, medicines, textiles, chemicals or firearms.

    Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.

    1. Find out if you need a licence or certificate for the goods
  8. Step 7 Get your goods through customs

    If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.

    1. Make an import declaration yourself and get your goods cleared by UK customs

    You'll then be told how much VAT and duty to pay.

    You’ll also be sent an Import VAT Certificate (C79) in the post as proof you have paid.

  9. Step 8 Claim a VAT refund

    If you're VAT registered, you can claim back any VAT you paid on the goods you've imported. You’ll need your C79.

    1. Find out how to claim a VAT refund
  10. Step 9 If you paid the wrong amount of duty or rejected the goods

  11. Step 10 Keep invoices and records

    You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork, including your C79.

    If you imported controlled goods, for example firearms, keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods.