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HMRC internal manual


Value for import VAT: normal rules: methods of calculating import VAT

The following three methods may be used to calculate the value for import VAT. The first method requires actual costs to be declared. Methods 2 and 3 provide two ways of estimating incidental costs to be included in the import VAT value. The methods are non-hierarchical, and individual importers may use whichever method best suits their particular circumstances.

Method 1

This method requires actual costs to be declared at the time the goods are imported. The time of importation is the time at which a customs debt becomes due, or would have become due if the goods were subject to duty. Post-clearance amendments should be submitted in instances where costs are later found to be incorrect (eg if there is a change to the place of consignment, or if additional storage costs are incurred).

Method 2

The following nationally agreed rates may be used as an alternative to actual costs. The rates are intended only for international movements of goods that terminate in the UK, and represent average costs of handling, storage, Customs declarations and transport from the point of arrival in the UK to destination. If importers/agents use these rates, Customs will not require post-entry amendments.

Rates (based on chargeable weight)

Group A  
Airfreight 40 pence per chargeable kilo or a minimum amount of £100 to be added to the value at the time of importation, whichever is the greater.
Group B   
Surface freight groupage/ consolidation consignments by trailer, rail wagon or container Delivery and handling combination of £90 per gross weight tonne plus a flat ‘other ancillaries’ weight of £80 per consignment, minimum £170, to be added to the value at the time of importation.
Group C   
Surface freight full load consignments by trailer, rail wagon or container £550 per full load consignment to be added to the value at the time of importation.

Values for other consignments, including those destined for delivery in other member States, should be based on Methods 1 or 3.

Note: There may be exceptional circumstances where method 2 should not be used. In such cases importers should seek advice from their local Entry Processing Unit.