The Customs Laws require that where duty must be charged by reference to their value (ad Valorem) that value must first be the transaction value, that is the price paid or payable for the imported goods. Added to this is the cost of shipping (freight) and any insurance premium paid or payable on the goods in question for its arrival in Saint Lucia.
The value must also include charges such as commissions, assists (materials supplied by the importer), packing costs, proceeds of resale accruing to the seller, royalties and license fees, etc.
The acceptance of transaction value by Customs is subject to certain conditions such as:
- There must be evidence of a sale. Such evidence may be in the form of supplier commercial invoices, sale contracts, purchase orders etc. Commercial invoices should be in the legally specified format; visit our website for a sample;
- There must not be restrictions on the use of the goods by the buyer.
- The sale or price is not subject to conditions or considerations for which a value cannot be determined with respect to the goods being valued.
- It must be shown that the transaction value has not been affected by any relationship between the importer and supplier.
Where the transaction value cannot be used, the following alternatives will be used for determining the Customs value:
- Identical or similar goods value - the transaction value of identical or similar goods sold for export to Saint Lucia.
- Deductive value - the sale price of the goods in Saint Lucia, adjusted for costs incurred after shipment.
- Computed value - the value based on cost of production, general expenses and profits in the country of origin relating to the imported goods.
- Residual valuation - the value determined by Customs, based on flexible interpretation of all the previous methods.
A false declaration of Value is an offense and when detected may result in harsh penalties and delayed clearance from Customs. Some goods that are commonly undervalued are:
Importers are therefore asked to ensure that the accurate value is declared to Customs.