customs declaration service

The New customs declaration service for outside of EU 

The New customs declaration service for outside of EU 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin a phased launch of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in August 2018. CDS will replace the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. With all declarations taking place on CDS from early 2019.

CHIEF currently processes declarations to facilitate the international movement of goods between the UK and non-EU countries. CHIEF will continue to run for a time to aid the transition to CDS.

It was announce earlier this month that the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will serve as the UK’s “single customs platform” from 31 March 2023.

It means the existing system, known as the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. There will become redundant from that date.

If you import or export goods from the European Union, here’s what you need to know.

When is the CHIEF system being replaced?

HMRC has confirmed that ahead of the 31 March 2023 complete closure. Services on CHIEF will withdraw in two stages:

  • 30 September 2022: import declarations close on CHIEF.
  • 31 March 2023: export declarations close on CHIEF / National Exports System (NES).

What is the CDS?

The CDS has been used to complete Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations since 2018.

Described as a system “founded on world-leading technology”, the Government says the single customs service will help save businesses time and money in compliance costs.

Why CDS is replacing CHIEF?

CHIEF is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated electronic services for managing customs declaration processes, but it’s nearly 25 years old and can’t easily adapt to new requirements.

The decision to replace CHIEF with CDS was made before the EU referendum, however CDS will scale to handle any potential increases in the volume of declarations that may result from the UK’s exit from the EU.

How this will affect importers and exporters?

If a trader imports or exports goods outside the EU, they or their agent will be currently using CHIEF to:

  • process declarations for goods entering and leaving the UK or EU through ports and airports
  • calculate and pay the correct duty and taxes
  • complete customs information electronically

They will still be able to do these things on CDS, but there will be differences:

  • They will need to sign into CDS on GOV.UK through a Government Gateway account
  • CDS will offer several new and existing services in one place. For example, traders will be able to view previous import and export data on pre-defined reports, check the tariff, apply for new authorisations and simplifications, and check their duty deferment statement
  • online help will include self-service tools, guides and checklists

If you are planning to complete customs declarations yourself…

If you are planning to complete customs declarations yourself. You will need to have the correct software, authorisations, and skills to do so.

A full list of compatible software can be found here. You will need your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), business address, National Insurance (NI) number, and the date you started your business.

Gaining access to the service may delay. If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needs to carry out additional checks. So registration should complete ahead of time.

Once authorised, businesses can opt in to the Trader Dress Rehearsal service. This service will help you prepare for the live Customs Declaration Service. In the mean time, you to complete several mock customs declarations.

More information on preparing for the Customs Declaration Service can be found here.

Alerting importers and exporters about using CDS

HMRC is currently building and testing CDS with industry, software providers and Community System Providers (CSPs). CSPs operate computerise inventory systems that control the physical movement of import and export freight at UK ports and airports.

CDS will phase in between August and early 2019, with CHIEF continuing to run during this time to aid the transition. Importers, exporters or their agents will inform by their software provider. When they need to provide the additional information in order to start making declarations on CDS.

To keep informed about CDS. Please send your name and email address to [email protected] to register for email updates.

The updates will provide regular information on CDS. Any preparations you may need to make ahead of CDS going live.

There will also regular updates about CDS on GOV.UK and through trade associations.