Importers can apply to continue using the soon-to-be-replaced IT platform for submitting customs declarations, the government has confirmed today (20 September).
The Customs Handing of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system is due to close for import declarations on 30 September, at which point businesses are being instructed to start using the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) instead.
However, importers can now apply for an extension to the deadline and to temporarily continue using CHIEF until 31 October. On a recent IOE&IT webinar about CDS, only two fifths (39%) of the delegates said they were either “very prepared” or “quite prepared”.
Not a given
HMRC told stakeholders last week that a valid reason must be given for firms to be granted the extension.
“If you have been unable to migrate to the CDS to make import declarations you will need to ask permission to temporarily use CHIEF from 1 October 2022,” new guidance on gov.uk states.
When applying, businesses will need to provide the EORI number for their business and any subsidiaries they may be requesting an extension for.
Successful applicants will need to show that they are committed to completing the migration to CDS once their extension has elapsed.
Matt Vick, a customs and trade specialist at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) told the Daily Update that the extension will be welcomed by traders.
“It is clear there are still a lot of importers who are not ready for the switch to CDS and the 30 September deadline could cause these businesses unwelcome disruption when they’re already grappling with the uncertainty caused by the cost of living crisis,” he said.
“Businesses applying for the extension should use the extra time wisely and consider the support being provided by organisations like the IOE&IT,” he added.
"This announcement will also come as a welcome relief to those having technical issues signing up to CDS on their Government Gateway - the extra time will allow scope to resolve those problems with HMRC."
IOE&IT CDS support
Vick will be answering questions from businesses about the switchover on a free Q&A webinar from the IOE&IT tomorrow (20 September).
As well as webinars, the IOE&IT is delivering a CDS support package to members that includes a new CDS helpdesk, expert-led one-day training courses, CDS trade surgeries and consultancies.