The New Zealand Customs Service reports that it can now make rulings on the value of imported goods and that importers, agents, and brokers can apply for binding valuation rulings. In addition, importers that cannot determine the value of imported goods at the time of importation can now use the provisional values service to give a reasonable estimate of that value, which can then be finalized at a later date.

Binding Rulings. NZCS states that binding valuation rulings can give importers certainty about the Service’s view of the correct method to be used in determining the value of their goods and therefore how much duty they need to pay. Following are some highlights of the ruling process.

- applications for rulings should be made well before goods are imported; post-importation applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis

- Customs has up to 150 days to issue a ruling

- rulings are valid for up to three years

- rulings can be appealed to the Customs Appeal Authority

- the fee for a ruling is based on the recovery of costs required to make the ruling

Provisional Values. Importers must register with the NZCS to provide provisional values and will be notified of approval or rejection within 30 days. Provisional values will be effective from the approval date. Most provisional values applications will be for ongoing use but in some situations importers can request a one-off approval for high-value or special-purpose imports.

Provisional values should be estimated based on (a) a reasonable estimate of the value of imported goods using the information available to the importer at the time of entry or (b) application of the requirements of the valuation methodology. These values will be treated as the customs value until they are finalized and importers will be liable to pay duty on them.

Provisional values must be finalized within 12 months of the end of the importer’s financial year in which the original entry was made. If this does not occur any outstanding duty will be treated as a shortfall payment, penalties and interest will apply, and the importer could be suspended from using provisional values or subject to prosecution.

For more information, please contact Jeff Blackburn at Blackburn Consulting Limited at +64-9-638-3193.

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