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HMRC warns businesses to get onto Customs Declaration Service

03/08/22

Mark Say Managing Editor

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has sounded an urgent call for businesses to sign up for its digital Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

It has warned that more than 3,500 businesses have yet to make the switch and risk significant delays to importing goods if they do not begin to move to the UK’s new streamlined customs system immediately.

CDS is scheduled to become the single system for customs declaration, taking over from the Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

HMRC said businesses submitting import declarations must use the CDS from 1 October this year when the CHIEF system will close for import declarations – and that it can take several weeks to be fully set up. They should check their customs agents are ready to use the system, and that those without an agent must set themselves up to make their own declarations using software that works with it.  

The department also indicated that the same will apply to exports from April 2023.

Risk to trade

Julie Etheridge, director of programme and operational delivery for borders and trade at HMRC, said: “There are now only two months left until businesses must use Customs Declaration Service for imports. Businesses need to move now or risk being unable to bring their goods into the UK.  

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

To help all businesses and agents prepare for the service, declarants are being contacted by phone and email to inform them of steps they need to take.

Further information is available on GOV.UK, including a CDS toolkit and checklists, which break down the steps traders need to take.

Deployment of the CDS, which began in 2018, marks the first step towards the government’s vision of a Single Trade Window, a centralised data portal for traders and intermediaries to submit data once to government.

HMRC said this will have considerable benefits for businesses through reduced form filling, better data use across government and a smoother experience for users.  

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