Move to new Customs Declaration System now or risk 'significant delays' to imports, warns HMRC

Tue 2 Aug 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

HMRC digital fingertips

The government has reiterated to British businesses that over 3,500 firms risk “significant delays” to their imports if they don’t move to the UK’s new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). 

“There are now only two months left until businesses must use CDS for imports,” said Julie Etheridge, HMRC’s director of programme and operational delivery for borders and trade.

“Businesses need to move now or risk being unable to bring their goods into the UK,” she added.

‘Registering takes time’

Businesses that import goods should make sure that their customs agents are prepared to use the CDS ahead of the 30 September cut-off date for the old CHIEF system, HMRC advises.

After this date, CHIEF will not be available for import declarations.

“Registering takes time so businesses should start moving to the Customs Declaration Service to ensure a smooth transition and avoid disruption to their business,” the government department said.

Get prepared

Deputy director of the IOE&IT’s academy Vicky Payne told today’s (2 August) IOE&IT Daily Update that: “With the new changes coming into place, I would highly recommend that firms properly understand all the elements of a customs declaration in addition to having access to the relevant platforms and other preparations for CDS”.

“It is evident that traders will need to make several changes to adjust to the new system and the IOE&IT has products to support your learning,” she added.

Key changes

According to Payne, the key items to watch out for are:

  • The new “Data Element” fields for completing a declaration, which are restricted to specific formats rather than CHIEF’s “free text format”
  • A new dashboard that is available to monitor and manage declarations
  • CDS separates the customs procedure code into two parts - a four digit code combined with one of up to 99 three-digit additional procedure codes (APCs)
  • More detailed customs information is required moving forward

Deferment account

Once registered on CDS, businesses that use a duty deferment account will need to set up a new direct debit.

Without this, the account will no longer be usable, and immediate payments will need to be made each time an import declaration is made.

For exporters, CHIEF will run until 31 March 2023, when the system will fully close after more than 30 years’ service.

Help for importers

Further information and assistance is provided on the government website, including a CDS toolkit, import and export guides, and checklists.

HMRC is also contacting declarants by phone and email to inform them of the steps they need to take.

Previously, the department wrote to more than 220,000 business, urging them to switch over before the deadline.

The IOE&IT is hosting a free webinar featuring HMRC experts on 23 August to support traders to prepare for the switch over, which you can register for here.