Valuation for Customs Duty, Tariff Value29/07/2020
Customs valuation is the process where customs authorities assign a monetary value to a good or service for the purposes of import or export. Generally, authorities engage in this process as a means of protecting tariff concessions, collecting revenue for the governing authority, implementing trade policy, and protecting public health and safety. Customs duties, and the need for customs valuation, have existed for thousands of years among different cultures, with evidence of their use in the Roman Empire, the Han Dynasty, and the Indian sub-continent. The first recorded customs tariff was from 136 in Palmyra, an oasis city in the Syrian desert. Beginning near the end of the 20th century, the procedures used throughout most of the world for customs valuation were codified in the Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.
The primary basis for customs valuation under the Agreement is “transaction value” as defined in Article 1. Article 1 defines transaction value as “the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation.” Article 1 must be read together with Article 8, which lets Customs authorities make adjustments to the transaction value in cases where certain specific parts of the good – considered to be a part of the value for customs purposes – are incurred by the buyer but are not actually included in the price paid or payable for the imported goods. Article 8 also allows for the inclusion in transaction value of exchanges (“considerations”) between the buyer and seller in forms other than money. Articles 2 through 7 provide methods of determining the customs value whenever it cannot be determined under the provisions of Article 1.
The methods of customs valuation, in descending order of precedence, are:
- Transaction Value of Merchandise in Question – price actually paid or payable for the goods sold. (Art. 1)
- Transaction Value of Identical Merchandise (Art. 2)
- Transaction Value of Similar Merchandise (Art. 3)
- Deductive Value (Art. 5)
- Computed Value (Art. 6)
- Derivative Method (Art. 7)
This hierarchy is codified in domestic legislation.
The rates of customs duties leviable on imported goods (& export items in certain cases) are either specific or on ad valorem basis or at times specific cum ad valorem. When customs duties are levied at ad valorem rates, i.e., depending upon its value, it becomes essential to lay down in the law itself the broad guidelines for such valuation to avoid arbitrariness and to ensure that there is uniformity in approach at different Customs formations. Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 lays down the basis for valuation of import & export goods in the country. It has been subject to certain changes basic last change being in July-August, 1988 when present version came into operation. Briefly the provisions are explained in the following paragraphs.
The Central Government has been empowered to fix values, under sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 for any product which are called Tariff Values. If tariff values are fixed for any goods, ad valorem duties are to be calculated with reference to such tariff values. The tariff values may be fixed for any class of imported or export goods having regard to the trend of value of such or like goods and the same has to be notified in the official gazette. Recently tariff values have been fixed in respect of import of Crude Palm Oil, RBD Palm Oil, RBD Palmolein under Notification No.36/2001-CUS (N.T.), dated 3.8.2001 and for RBD Crude Palmolein under Notification No. 40/2001-CUS (N.T.) dated 28.08.2001.
Valuation of Imported/Export Goods where no Tariff Values fixed:
Section 2(41) of the Customs Act, 1962 defines ‘Value’ in relation to any goods to mean the value thereof determined in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 14 thereof.
Sub-section (1) of Section 14 in turn states that when a duty of customs is chargeable on any goods by reference to their value, the value of such goods shall be deemed to be: “the price at which such or like goods are ordinarily sold, or offered for sale, for delivery at the time and place of importation or exportation, as the case may be, in the course of international trade, where the seller and the buyer have no interest in the business of each other and the price is the sole consideration for the sale or offer for sale”.
As far as export goods are concerned, provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 14 provide a complete code of valuation by itself. On the other hand, for imported goods, as per sub-section (1A) of Section 14, the value is required to be determined in accordance with rules made in this behalf. Accordingly, the Customs Valuation (Determination of Price of Imported Goods) Rules, 1988 have been framed and notified under Notification No.51/88-CUS (N.T.) dated 18.7.1988.
The provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 14 follow the provisions contained in Article VII of GATT. The Customs Valuation Rules closely follow the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement to implement Article VII of GATT. The methods of valuation prescribed therein are of a hierarchical order. The importer is required to truthfully declare the value in the B/E and provide a copy of the invoice and file a valuation declaration in the prescribed form to facilitate correct and expeditious determination of value for assessment purposes.