Customs Declaration Service (CDS) – are you ready? 

For the majority of the last 30 years, HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system has been at the forefront of customs declarations in the UK. However, in a two-stage approach, CHIEF will…

Blog8th Sep 2022

By Seanna Forbes

For the majority of the last 30 years, HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system has been at the forefront of customs declarations in the UK. However, in a two-stage approach, CHIEF will be replaced by the newer Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

On 30 September 2022, CHIEF will no longer be available to use to submit import declarations and, on 31 March 2023, export declarations will close on CHIEF and the National Export System (NES).

ACTION REQUIRED – In order to avoid the risk of being unable to import goods into the UK from 1 October 2022, any importer not already registered on CDS should do so as soon as possible.

Importantly, for any importer who has been taking advantage of the Postponed Import VAT Accounting (PVA) arrangements, they will already have had to register for CDS and there is no requirement to register again. However, for new importers, or importers that have not previously used PVA to account for the import VAT, the following steps to obtaining a registration may be required.

1. Obtain a Government Gateway Account

If you are VAT-registered in the UK, there is a strong likelihood that you already have a Government Gateway account. In which case, you can skip this step.

2. Register for an EORI number

An Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is required move goods between Great Britain and any other country, including, Northern Ireland, the EU and the Channel Islands. A separate EORI number is required if you are moving goods into and out of Northern Ireland.

Again, you can skip this step if you already have a EORI Number.

3. Subscribe to CDS

You can subscribe to the CDS services by clicking here.

This is a simple process and access is usually available within two hours, although, it could take up to five days if HMRC needs to undertake more checks.

Importantly, if you do not operate PVA, you will no longer receive C79 Import VAT Certificates from HMRC by post. Instead, you will need to access them from CDS through the CDS Financial Dashboard.

4. Method of Payment options

Once you have subscribed to CDS, you need to decide how you will pay your customs duty liabilities.

If you use an agent’s Duty Deferment Account (DDA), no further action is required at this point. However, where you use your own DDA, you will need to set up a Direct Debit Instruction on CDS.

This is done via this link.

A new functionality on CDS that was not previously available on CHIEF is the operation of a “Cash Account” which replaces the Flexible Accounting Scheme (FAS). This will allow you to deposit funds to an account that can then be used to settle customs duty liabilities as they arise.

5. Authorise freight forwarders and/or customs brokers

You will need to authorise any customs agent to use the above payment methods via the CDS Financial Dashboard.

For each agent you wish to authorise, you will need to: 

  • Select “Manage Account”; 
  • Select “Add an authority”; 
  • Enter the agent’s EORI number; 
  • Select the services they will operate; 
  • Confirm when you want this to apply from; and
  • Confirm whether the agent will be permitted to view the balance of your account.

To complete the process, you will need to confirm your details.

6. Business Validation

CDS will be more resilient, reliable and adaptable than CHIEF. However, unless businesses are prepared for the new system and provide accurate clearance instructions, the benefits of CDS will not be achieved.

Consequently, we would recommend that following steps to meet the new data requirements and actions that CDS brings: 

  • Allocate an administrator to manage CDS dashboards and authorisations. 
  • Ensure CDS codes are correct (The codes are not the same as previously applied to CHIEF).
  • Complete data mapping to ensure data needed for CDS is correct. There are potentially up to 20 new data fields on CDS. 
  • Review standing data to include commodity code, origin and weights, etc. 
  • Ensure clearance instructions provided to agents are compatible and comprehensive. 
  • Ensure internal training on CDS is completed, and key stakeholders know how to navigate CDS.
  • Ensure job handover/continuation processes are implemented.

If the above six steps are completed, the transition to CDS should be relatively straight forward. However, if you need further support, our specialist Customs Team will be able to assist you.

If you would like to know more regarding the transition to CDS or have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your usual contact at AAB or contact Seanna Whitmore. 

By Seanna Forbes

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