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FAQ Customs valuation

Disclaimer: this page is a summary for informational purposes. Only the Union Customs Code is deemed authentic.
  • I have an invoice from our parent company. Can I apply the transaction value method?

    Where the buyer and seller are related, the circumstances surrounding the sale shall be examined and the transaction value will be accepted if the relationship did not influence the price. It is not the intention of customs to examine the circumstances whenever buyers and sellers are related. This responsibility lies with the operators. Such examinations by customs will only be required in cases of doubt about the acceptability of the transfer price (price between two related companies).

    If customs cannot accept the transaction value without further examination, they should give the declarant the opportunity to provide further detailed information that customs might need to examine the circumstances of the sale.

    In this context, customs will examine all aspects of the transaction, specifically how the buyer and seller organise their commercial relations and how the relevant price has been arrived at.

    If it is shown that the buyer and seller buy from and sell to each other as if they were unrelated, this shows that this relationship did not influence the price (Art. 134 IA).

    The declarant can also show that the transaction value is correct by proving that it is very close to the transaction value of similar or identical goods (Art. 134 §2 IA).

  • Determining freight and insurance costs takes a disproportionate amount of time or is not yet possible. What are my options?

    You can apply for an authorisation for the simplification of the determination of amounts being part of the customs value of the goods (CVA). You then submit a request to customs to issue an authorisation to avoid having to determine the elements for each consignment, instead using a fixed amount or percentage. This authorisation has an unlimited validity period but must be renewed periodically. To this end, an amendment request with the necessary details should be submitted each time. For more information: go to the page 'CVA (authorisation for the simplification of the determination of amounts being part of the customs value)'.

  • Should I add royalty fees to my transaction value?

    Yes, if the following conditions are met (Art. 71, §1 (c), UCC):

    • Royalties or licence rights must be involved
    • The royalties and licence fees must relate to the goods whose value is determined
    • Royalties and licence fees must be paid by the buyer, either directly or indirectly, as a result of a condition of sale.

    Article 136 §4 UCC IA states that royalties and licence fees are considered to be paid as a condition of sale when any of the following conditions is met:

    • (a) the seller or a person related to the seller requires the buyer to make this payment;
    • (b) the payment by the buyer is made to satisfy an obligation of the seller, in accordance with contractual obligations;
    • (c) the goods cannot be sold to, or purchased by, the buyer without payment of the royalties or license fees to a licensor.

    Royalties and licence fees shall be taken to mean in particular payment for the use of rights relating:

    • to the manufacture of imported goods (in particular, patents, designs, models and manufacturing know-how), or
    • to the sale for exportation of imported goods (in particular, trade marks, registered designs), or
    • to the use or resale of imported goods (in particular, copyright, manufacturing processes inseparably embodied in the imported goods).

    Where such payments are already included in the price of the goods, then such value is automatically included in the customs value.

    When royalties and licence fees are payable, valuation often requires a thorough review of sales agreements, letters patent and even production methods.

    More information on the addition of royalties: Circular No 2018/C/9 regarding customs valuation (II.3.3. Royalties and licence fees)

  • What if I have used a wrong customs value. Wat now?

    Article 173 §2 UCC provides that an application for amendment cannot be granted if the application has taken place after the customs authorities:

    • have informed the declarant that they intend to examine the goods; or,
    • have established that the particulars of the customs declaration are incorrect; or,
    • have authorised the release of the goods.

    Article 173(3) UCC gives the possibility to amend a declaration within three years after the release of the goods and upon application by the declarant, in order for the declarant to comply with the obligations relating to the placing of the goods under the customs procedure concerned.

    In practical terms, this means that:

    • Where there is spontaneous regularisation prior to selection for control by customs, regularisations of customs declarations can only be carried out spontaneously and at the request of the declarant.
    • Upon establishment by a customs official, the customs declaration can no longer be regularised/amended. The declarant must pay the duties and fines to be collected.

    You can file a request for regularisation of your declaration to make an additional payment or refund. You can find all necessary information on the page of the team that is competent for the follow-up of declarations (TAO/ESD)

  • Can I deduct a discount from my transaction value?

    Price reduction (also referred to as discount, rebate, discount, etc.) is the price deduction or price advantage granted on an official list (price list, catalogue), on the price asked from other buyers or on another higher price.

    For customs valuation purposes, discounts granted by the seller to the buyer shall be taken into account only if:

    • The discounts relate to the goods for which the customs value is to be determined and
    • At the time of acceptance of the customs declaration, the discounts and their amount are included in the sales contract.

    Discounts or credit notes resulting from amendments to the contract after the time of acceptance of the customs declaration shall not be taken into account.

    Discount for quantity (rebate) may also be assumed if only part of the goods are destined for the EU customs territory and the price for that part has been affected by the fact that a larger quantity was bought than the imported one.

  • What is my customs value if I transfer the goods to the Union but there is no sale?

    The customs value should, if possible, be based on the transaction value of the goods sold for export to the customs territory of the Union on the basis of the sale that took place immediately before the goods entered the customs territory.

    Where there was no sale before entry into the customs territory of the Union, but the sale took place while the goods are in temporary storage or under a special procedure other than the internal transit, end-use or outward processing procedure, the transaction value is determined on the basis of that sale (Art. 128 §2 UCC IA). For schematic representations of examples concerning Art. 128 UCC IA, we refer to the Guidance on Customs Valuation and its informative supplement by Belgian Customs.

    In other cases, the customs value is determined by an additional method of Art. 74 UCC (in mandatory order). If you want legal certainty about its correct application, you can apply for a customs valuation order (more info on this on the page 'customs valuation order'). The use of these methods is also allowed without explicit approval from customs. We do recommend that you thoroughly read the legal provisions on this subject. 

  • How should I declare my customs value?

    Until the use of IDMS, the customs value must be declared through D.V. 1. There are exceptions to this. See Informative note on customs value declaration (D.V.1) (in Dutch).

    Once IDMS is implemented, no declaration D.V.1 will have to be completed or submitted to customs, as the required data elements will be integrated into the application itself.

    The various sections on the D.V.1 form relating to the declared price of the goods, such as additions and deductions to be applied, will be mentioned in IDMS under data element 14 04 008 000