Importers of samples must ensure that the values declared to Customs reflect either what was actually paid for them, or a reasonable equivalent value such as the value of identical or similar goods subsequently ordered.

Some suppliers may be of the mistaken opinion that declaring reduced values of mutilated samples will benefit the importer. In fact, by understating the value of samples, importers face penalties and re-assessments by Customs not only during an audit, but at time of clearance.

If samples are purchased, the purchase price must be declared. Mutilation of the samples for tariff purposes does not affect the value of purchased samples. Appropriate tariff classifications will be applied, many of which do not depend on value.

For example, mutilated samples, regardless of value or origin, imported from the United States, Mexico, Chile or Costa Rica are duty-free. Samples of negligible value, where the aggregate duty and tax per sample is $2 or less, are also duty-free.