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Using the Customs Declaration Service

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 11/08/2022

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is a new customs IT platform that has been designed to modernise the process for completing customs declarations for businesses that import or export goods from the UK. A phased launch of the service started during August 2018. The CDS is used for making import and export declarations when moving goods into and out of the UK.

The closure of the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service is imminent. The CHIEF system is over 25 years old and has struggled to cope with complex reporting requirements that could not easily or cost-effectively be accommodated within the existing service. 

The complete closure of the CHIEF system is marked for 31 March 2023. However, the CHIEF system is being withdrawn in two stages. The first stage, on 30 September 2022, will see the ability to make import declarations on CHIEF closed. This is a critical date. Businesses that have not moved across to the CDS will be unable to import goods into the UK from 1 October 2022.

Even businesses that use a customs agents need to ensure they take the following steps:

  • subscribe to the CDS;
  • choose a payment method;
  • check their standing authorities are correctly set up; and 
  • give their customs agent customs clearance instructions.

The CHIEF system will fully close on 31 March 2023 when the ability to make export declarations will also be withdrawn. 



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