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HMRC internal manual

Guidance on the Audit of Customs Values


Computers with adjustable memory capacity

As an illustration, a company may design and manufacture standard central processing units with 64Mb of main memory. However, depending on the user’s requirements, main memory can be inhibited or neutralised before the equipment is imported into the EU. Thus an importer may import a computer of 64Mb capacity of which 32Mb is inhibited. The commercial contract between the parties concerns a unit of 32Mb. This contract does not mention the existence of a supplementary memory capacity, which can be activated at any time.

In effect, the memory initially inhibited is restored only if the user so requests on the basis of additional requirements. This can be done by a simple technical operation on the equipment without the addition of other equipment either imported or obtained locally. Only the supplier possesses the technology necessary to make operational the inhibited memory. When this is activated, the supplier and the user sign either an endorsement to the existing contract or a new contract specifying the additional payments to be made as a result of the increased memory capacity.

Valuation treatment

Valuation is to be based on the goods presented to customs at the material time for valuation for customs purposes. In this case, the goods consist of a computer with a memory capacity of 64Mb, the availability of which is subject to technical restrictions. However, it is the actual payments made or to be made for the imported goods which are ultimately to be taken into account for customs valuation purposes. In this context, it is appropriate to base the customs value on the duly substantiated contractual payments at the time of entry to free circulation. If additional payments are made (for example for upgrading of the memory capacity) such payments shall form part of the customs value.