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Customs import value

How to determine the Customs value for an imported item.

Customs value of imported items

This is detailed in Schedule 4 of the Customs and Excise Act 2018.

If you’re an online shopper, the Customs value is generally what you paid for an item.

If you’re importing items for business or other reasons, determining the items’ Customs value can be more complicated. 

In general, there are six methods for determining Customs value, shown in the table below and outlined in detail in Methods for determining Customs value. You must use them in strict hierarchical order.

The six possible methods for valuation:

Method one Transaction value
Method two Transaction value of identical goods ("identical goods method")
Method three Transaction value of similar goods ("similar goods method")
Method four Deductive value
Method five Computed value
Method six Residual basis of valuation

The methods are details in Schedule 4 of the Customs and Excise Act 2018.

For information on application of the valuation methods, rules and principles that must be complied with to determine the Customs value of goods imported into New Zealand, and common valuation situations and how to deal with them, download the Valuation Guide (PDF 978 KB).

Valuation rulings

If you need certainty on the method that applies to you, you can apply for a valuation ruling. This binding ruling can be on which valuation method will apply to your goods or a specific aspect of one of the methods. The binding ruling will be based on the particular set of facts and circumstances you present and Customs may request further information from you to reach a decision. The valuation ruling is conclusive evidence for the purpose of the Act and, where applicable, the Tariff Act.

Provisional values and Customs import value

Use the provisional values scheme when:

  • you cannot determine the cost of your imported goods at the time of importation, or
  • the Customs value is likely to change after importation.

You will need to either notify us about how you qualify under the legislation, or apply and be approved to use provisional values.

Exchange rates

The Customs value must be in New Zealand dollars. If you bought your item with a different currency, we will convert the amount to New Zealand dollars on the day you lodge your import entry or clearance with us.

We will use the exchange rates we publish on our website.


We carry out audits to make sure importers are declaring the correct Customs value.

We may penalise or fine you if:

  • you make a false or incorrect entry or declaration – see administrative penalties
  • you don’t keep relevant records for at least seven years.