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Customs Declaration Service – Roll Out Begins

HMRC Introduces first wave of users to new declaration system.


As outlined in previous posts on this blog, Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is a key project being led by HMRC which will be used by any business that sends or receives goods internationally. The replacement of CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import/Export Freight), which is the system UK Customs has been using for import and export declarations since the 1990’s, CDS is the mechanism through which traders will inform HMRC of incoming and outgoing movements of physical materials.


While a crucial element for any international business involved in goods/components, the vast majority of declarations are made by agents, most commonly the freight business tasked with moving the shipment. In light of this, the communication to date has focussed on forwarders, agents and computer software developers such as ourselves, although as always, the onus is on the importer/exporter to provide accurate information. At present, customs receive around 55 million declarations, but with Brexit expected to increase this number significantly it is timely that the first tranche of users began experiencing the new system on the 14 August, as Customs look to ensure they can handle additional volumes in March, if required.


It is widely acknowledged that declarations will need to be made for shipments to and from the EU post Brexit. While these are relatively inexpensive at around £30 each, they are reliant upon accurate information, including commodity codes. Many EU traders use the codes already, including for reconciliation of VAT (Intrastat returns), businesses are urged to check the codes used are valid in good time. This is particularly relevant for businesses who only trade with EU markets, as there is no scrutiny on the accuracy of the codes for intra EU transactions.


Traders can check commodity codes using our checker tool within the Brexit Toolkit site and subscribers can also upload multiple codes removing the need for manual entry.


While for those moving goods to third countries this is perhaps a regular exercise, there are 145,000 businesses in the UK who use codes without regular scrutiny, and limited resource from HMRC to assist with ensuring the correct numbers are used, so traders are urged to look at this sooner rather than later, to reduce the possibility of un-necessary friction when declarations are required for trades with EU markets.


Click here to read the announcement from HMRC in full. 


Keep checking back to this blog for updates as the roll out of the system continues, and contact us if you have any queries.


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