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What CDS means for you

Learn about HMRC’s new software for submitting customs declarations

Goodbye to CHIEF; hello to CDS

What is the Customs Declarations Service (CDS)?

If you’re a business who trades with the EU, are you prepared for a major shift in how customs declarations are made?

The Customs Handling of Import and Exports Freight, better known as CHIEF, is the customs declarations service used by HMRC for 30 years. It is slowly being phased out with the Government’s new digital platform, Customs Declaration Service (CDS), being brought in. It means the way a business – or someone on their behalf – makes a customs declaration will soon change.

From 30 September, the imports section of CHIEF will be switched off and the only means of declaring goods to Customs into the UK will be through CDS. The export service of CHIEF will be switched off six months later from 31 March 2023.

Why is CHIEF ending?

CHIEF currently handles around 300 million customs declarations each year. The Government’s aim in introducing CDS is to make those all-important declarations simpler to manage.

    • It is designed to meet new EU customs requirements as set out in the Union Customs Code.
    • Once businesses submit their declarations via CDS, they will be able to access that data for free in the future. Businesses making customs declarations will no longer be charged to download declarations data.

However, with many businesses and brokers yet to make the switch to CDS and still relying on CHIEF, time is running out before the ‘off button’ is pressed in September.

To prepare yourself for CHIEF’s switch-off, we’ve pulled together our top three tips:

    1. Sign-up here to use CustomsClear – software that is already connected into CDS – designed to make submitting your own customs declarations easy while reducing your costs, streamlining your processes, and avoiding delays to the movement of your goods.
    2. If someone makes customs declarations on your behalf, speak to your broker or forwarder and find out when you will have your CDS-ready software to allow your move to CDS.
    3. Once you, or your broker, have software connected to CDS, you can play around and get comfortable with using it by signing-up to HMRC’s Trader Dress Rehearsal service, allowing you to simulate declarations Using the Trader Dress Rehearsal service – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Enjoy your first 30 days for free

Once you’re signed up and onboarded to CustomsClear, your 30 days of free access starts.

During that time, you can submit unlimited declarations and access to the CustomClear support team.

At the end of the free 30 days, you will be asked to select a subscription.