HMRC launches phased roll out of Customs Declaration Service

18 October 2018


New customs software which aims to provide a more modern and comprehensive approach for customs declarations and support the UK’s expected overseas trade growth, has been launched by HMRC and is due to be fully implemented by early next year.

HMRC, which has worked closely with software developers, community system providers, freight forwarders, and traders, has made the first software release for its Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which is now being used by a selected group of importers to make supplementary declarations.

HMRC says that CDS, which is replacing the 25-year-old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system in three phases, between August 2018 and early 2019, will deliver a modern, flexible system for importers and exporters which have to complete customs declarations when trading outside the EU.

CDS will also meet requirements of the Union Customs Code (UCC) – a key element in EU moves to modernise its customs procedures – and will provide businesses with access to more customs information in one place. The system will also allow them to include more items in each declaration, which may cut the number of declarations they have to make.

Also, for the first time, each company’s Government Gateway account will include a record of all of its imports and exports.

Importers have been asked to work with their software providers, or in-house IT teams, to create software compatible with CDS so it can be fully implemented in November. The final stage will be exporters’ implementation of CDS. CHIEF will operate in tandem during the transition between the two systems.

HMRC customs transformation programme director, Kevin Franklin, says: “Our priority is to ensure software developers, agents and their clients are ready and we will work closely with them throughout the transition.

“When fully implemented, CDS will offer several new and existing services in one place, and, due to UCC requirements, some additional information will need to be collected and included in import and export declarations.

“Software providers should look at what changes need to be made to their packages and make decisions about their approach to the roll-out of IT and customer migration in-house. They should also ensure their customers are kept up to date with the latest information.”

For most importing and exporting businesses this will include confirming their Government Gateway account details, using it to register for CDS and their software developer to make declarations for them.

Businesses are being asked to use the run up to full implementation of CDS to familiarise themselves with changes to the tariff which has also been updated to meet UCC requirements. Guidance explaining the changes to the tariff can be found on GOV.UK. Businesses can find out more by viewing the official guide on how CDS will be introduced, released earlier this year.


Follow Chamber International on Twitter @ChamberInt and on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.