Valuation Rulings: creating more certainty for commercial importers

Interacting with Customs is part of day-to-day business for commercial importers, either directly or through service providers that manage border logistics and compliance.


Those who are familar with the process will be aware there are quite a few information requirements for lodging import entries. While this is mostly a straight forward process, in some cases, establishing the Customs value of goods can be more complex. There is now a service available to help add certainty around this requirement.

New Zealand Customs has implemented new legislation that came into effect on 1 October 2018, and a new service now on offer is the provision of advance rulings on valuation matters.

Customs Manager Trade Assurance Anthony Davis says valuation rulings help provide a level of assurance to businesses that they are compliant and, in some ways, are a safeguard to potential issues that could arise in future.

“A valuation ruling doesn’t mean you’re less likely to get audited as part of Customs’ standard process. However, if you have relied on on a ruling when valuing imported goods, the potential financial impact resulting from such Customs activity is greatly reduced.”

“As this is a new service, we’re more than happy to have a discussion in the first instance to explain the benefits and process. Obtaining a valuation ruling is a cost recovered service, but for the first two years this is at a rate of 80% recovery,” Mr Davis says.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what valuation rulings are and what you can do:

What’s a valuation ruling?

A valuation ruling is a Customs decision, based on information from the importer, that explains:

  • which method should be used to establish the Customs value of goods; or
  • how a specific aspect of the available valuation methods should be interpreted and applied.

It is a binding legal document that includes a summary and a detailed report on how the decision was reached. A ruling is generally valid for three years and will be honoured at all ports of entry within New Zealand.

Why get a valuation ruling?

A valuation ruling provides legal certainty on how New Zealand Customs will view the valuation of your goods.

It allows you an opportunity to put your trading circumstances in front of Customs specialists proactively, instead of having the valuation of a good scrutinised post importation in the course of Customs audit activity, and potentially having to contest the outcome of the audit through a judicial process.

As the ruling is binding on Customs, any debt due to the Crown, penalty, or seizure of goods cannot be imposed, if an importer has relied on a ruling (provided all the relevant facts were disclosed with the application).

How to get a valuation ruling?

To obtain a valuation ruling, or for more information, get in touch with Customs’ Valuation, Origin and Classification team via voc@customs.govt.nz.

For rulings, we’ll firstly set up a pre-application meeting to discuss your trading circumstances, outline the application process, and determine what supporting information you’ll need to provide.

Once you’re ready, you can send the application and supporting information to your assigned Customs representative. We will then begin the process and stay in touch.

View more detailed information about valuation rulings.

View information on other changes resulting from new Customs legislation.