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Customs Declarations Service (CDS) – Update

HMRC have informed those involved in the testing process that the end of March 2019 is the earliest implementation date now planned for the 3rd release of Customs Declaration Service (CDS).  


Physical consignments leaving the UK destined for countries beyond the EU’s borders, and those coming into the UK from outside the EU, must be declared to HMRC. Administrative in nature, declarations are reliant on correct information, including the parties involved, the nature of the transaction and commodity codes. The majority of these entries are made via freight agents, although an increasing number of our clients are looking to handle their own, including as a mitigation exercise in advance of Brexit, after which many more declarations are expected.


CDS is the name given by HMRC to the system being developed to allow for these declarations.  The replacement to a system implemented in the 1990’s (CHIEF), CDS is designed to ensure UK traders remain compliant in the changing world of global trade, not least the implementation of the Union Customs Code, which the UK is expected to align closely with post Brexit.


We have learned from HMRC that the third release covering exports is now scheduled to take place at the end of March 2019 at the earliest. This is later than previously reported, and discounts the possibility of all trades being processed using the new method in advance of 30 March, which is the earliest point the UK could leave the EU. The last of three tranches of trades introduced to the new system allows for export declarations. With trade testing (TT) having begun in December 2017 and expanded in waves, the third release will see all remaining aspects of functionality moving into the test environment, allowing the widest range of users to utilise the technology of CDS ahead of the switch off of the CHIEF system.


Although there had previously been concern among traders and developers relating to the capacity of the current system, particularly in light of the potential uplift in declarations post Brexit, the CHIEF system currently in use has reportedly been upgraded allowing for the volume anticipated, which in turn gives HMRC some relief in it’s efforts to ensure the new system meets the needs of the range of users involved.


Please click here for previous articles on the implementation of CDS, shared through the i2i company blog, and contact us with any questions or queries, including on how you might save time and money by completing your own declarations.

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