HMRC’s new declaration system: What you need to do

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will become the only UK customs platform when HMRC starts to phase out its legacy CHIEF system later this year and businesses importing goods into the UK need to take action on the government gateway.

Launched over 30 years ago the customs handling of import and export freight system (CHIEF) identifies goods for checks at ports and airports and is the channel for submitting customs declarations to HMRC, making it critical to the flow of international trade.

The decision to replace CHIEF was made prior to the EU referendum in 2015 and the new customs declaration service (CDS) was due to launch ahead of the UK leaving the EU, but it was not ready on time, to handle the large increase in customs declarations, which left HMRC updating and extending the use of CHIEF.

The government now feels confident that CDS can handle the increase in the volume of declarations resulting from Brexit, which have been estimated at 400 million p.a.

HMRC is moving from paper-based rules on CHIEF, to data processing rules on CDS in two stages:

  • 30th September 2022 – Import declarations will no longer be accepted via CHIEF
  • 31st March 2023 – Export declarations will no longer be accepted via CHIEF and the National Export System (NES)

CDS is replacing the HMRC legacy system for processing customs declarations and even though we will be preparing and submitting these declarations on behalf of our customers, you need to register on the government gateway so that your business can:

  • Get Import VAT statements and certificates to assist you in completing your VAT returns
  • Set up a new direct debit mandate, if you’re a deferment account holder

Request access to CDS through your existing government gateway account, using this LINK:

NOTE – If you are a deferment account holder, you must set up a new direct-debit mandate for CDS, as the one for CHIEF will not work

You will need to provide HMRC with the following:

  • EORI number
  • Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR)
  • Registered business address for Customs records
  • The date on which you started your business

Once registered for CDS you will be able to view your “financial dashboard” on the Government Gateway, which is where you can set up a new direct debit mandate for your deferment account.

The application process should only take a few minutes and we recommend that you get access now, so that you are ready to get your first import VAT statement.

If you have not heard of CDS, or how to access the government gateway, we can guide you through the changes and actions required.

Contact us now for further information, discuss your situation and see our automated customs platform, CuDoS.

Andy Fitchett, who leads our brokerage team and function, and is a market-leading expert in the area, will be delighted to personally assist you with your enquiry.