OK folks, I’m really hoping that I’m preaching to the converted and that you’ve already made some preparations in advance of the major changes that are about to hit the UK customs world… in September 2022!

HMRC are replacing the current customs declaration system CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) with a new one, namely the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) and this has implications for each and every UK business that imports or exports goods.

I’m not going to delve into the whys and wherefores here, that’s not my objective of this post, but what I will try to do is increase the awareness of these imminent changes and provide a high-level overview of what action is needed to prepare for a smooth transition to CDS and avoid the negative impact that doing nothing will have to your business operations.

Some basic background. CHIEF is now a 30-year-old paper-based system and whilst it has certainly served the UK well, the transition to CDS has been brought about by HMRC’s legal requirement to digitise and to also create additional capacity and capability within the system to cope with the greatly increased demand for customs clearances in our post-Brexit world.

Becoming CDS-ready may sound like a problem for your freight forwarder or customs agent to deal with, which is partly true as they need to install and test new CDS systems as well as training and familiarising their team on how to submit declarations to CDS on your behalf. However, there are immediate and obligatory actions that you as an import or export trader also need to take to be ready for CDS.

As mentioned, the clock is really ticking and the impact of these changes can’t be dodged. CHIEF will be switched off for Import submissions on 30th September 2022 and for export submissions on March 31, 2023 and CDS will be the sole UK customs declaration system after these dates.

So, what do you need to do?

In brief, businesses require to take the following

  • Apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI)
  • Register for a government gateway account
  • Register for CDS access
  • Set-up a payment method with HMRC
  • Instruct and authorise your customs agent and/or freight forwarder
  • If you have existing authorisations in CHIEF e.g. Inward Processing, End / Authorised Use, these will be migrated to CDS

Submitting a customs declaration is certainly quite a bit more complex on CDS than it is on CHIEF. CDS has 91 single-use data elements that need to be completed rather than the 68 multi-use paper form boxes on CHIEF.

Inevitably, more information and supporting evidence will be required by your customs agent than perhaps was required for a customs declaration previously and therefore I feel that a level of patience will have to be exercised as all parties get used to new systems and submission requirements.

ACE Forwarding are up and running submitting live declarations on CDS now. Should you require customs support, whether to get CDS-ready or to provide assistance with your wider customs compliance requirements, please get in touch.

Visit www.ace-forwarding.com or email me direct on ed.arnott@dgm.co.uk