The UK customs declaration system has been due for an upgrade since the announcement of the Union Customs Code in 2016. With the UK leaving the EU, there was a decision made to dual run the current system whilst developing the new one, to ensure that businesses were supported during the changing requirements. 

The current system, the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system closes in two phases: 

  • Phase one: After 30 September 2022, the ability to make import declarations will end 
  • Phase two: After 31 March 2023, the ability to make export declarations will end 

 Moving to CDS 

Depending on the size and nature of a business, it can take time to complete the move to CDS, and there is a recommendation to start sooner to make things easier. Conversations with software providers will be essential, as well as staff training.  

Benefits of CDS 

  • Allows businesses to submit customs documents digitally and safely using the Secure File Upload service. 
  • Provides access to all financial information in a single financial dashboard where account statements can be viewed, payments made, and business can control standing authority. 
  • Gives real time notifications and alerts on all customs declarations and movements. 
  • Allows business to manage finances by opening a duty deferment account, making payments by card or bank transfer enabling goods to clear without delay. 

 Government support 

HMRC are continuing to support businesses as they move to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), as it becomes the UK’s single customs platform.  

 There has been a Trader Dress Rehearsal service set up, to enable businesses to practise realistic scenarios using own account data. 

In addition, there are a number of links and webpages, with the key tip being to ensure HMRC has the right email address to contact businesses on. 

  • Article, which was published on GOV.UK on 30 May 
  • Checklists for declarants and traders, setting out the steps they need to take to move to CDS 

 Businesses are encouraged to contact HMRC at one of these channels if you have any questions, or speak to your Account Manager or Customer Compliance Manager if you have one.  

For further information on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Northern Ireland arrangements please visit ADS’s Brexit Hub.