How do I determine the customs value?


General information on customs value

When declaring goods for free circulation (import from third countries into the EU), information on the customs value is always required. The procedure for determining this customs value is very complex and represents a considerable area of risk for importers. This forms the basis for the provisions for customs information due on import transactions. The customs administration can challenge the correctness of customs notices retroactively for up to three years and demand retroactive payment of customs duties, taxes and interest on arrears. However, legally permissible exhaustion options for duty savings are often not used when determining the customs value.

In order for the customs value to be properly determined, a number of criteria and circumstances must be taken into account. Since these are often not necessarily firmly established in the customs departments of a company, internal processes should be structured in such a way that all aspects relevant to customs value are reported to the responsible customs department. This also applies to customs clearances that have already taken place. The relevant aspects include information from the different areas of a company, such as purchasing, research, development or sales.


Legal basis

The legal bases for determining the customs value can be found in the following articles:

  • Articles 69 to 76 of the Union Customs Code
  • Article 71 of the Delegated Acts to the Union Customs Code
  • Articles 127 to 146 and Annexes 23-01 to 23-02 of the Implementing Regulation to the Union Customs Code
  • Article 6 of the Transitional Delegated Acts to the Union Customs Code

In addition to EU legislation, a national administrative regulation of the German customs administration must be observed.


Customs valuation system in the European Union

The EU has incorporated the customs valuation regulations of the GATT and GATT Customs Valuation Code (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) into the customs valuation regulations of the Union Customs Code (UCC). The customs valuation regulations are applied directly to imports from third countries into the EU. Accordingly, the transaction value (adjusted if necessary) is generally considered to be the customs value of the imported goods. If conditions for this procedure cannot be met, the customs value must be determined by another method. In doing so, a prescribed sequence of subordinate methods must be observed.


Customs valuation

At the heart of customs valuation is the question: “What is the price actually paid or payable for the goods when they are sold into the EU?”.

There are six different methods that cover, as far as possible, all conceivable cases of international trade in goods in terms of customs value. The six methods are to be examined in order; if the first cannot be carried out, the next is examined, and so on. This step-by-step procedure is called the “customs value staircase” and is illustrated in the figure below.

Pauline Wörner

Seit Oktober 2020 bin ich Werkstudentin bei der BEX und unterstütze hauptsächlich das Marketing- und Vertriebsteam. Ich studiere Technical Content Creation (Technische Redaktion) an der Hochschule Aalen.