How can I prepare to use the Customs Declaration Service?

How can I prepare to use the Customs Declaration Service?

It was announced earlier this month that the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will serve as the UK’s “single customs platform” from 31 March 2023.

It means the existing system, known as the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, will become redundant from that date.

If you import or export goods from the European Union, here’s what you need to know.

When is the CHIEF system being replaced?

The existing system will be withdrawn in two stages – from 30 September 2022 for import declarations, and from 31 March 2023 for export declarations.

The National Exports System (NES) will also be withdrawn from 31 March 2023.

What is the CDS?

The CDS has been used to complete Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations since 2018.

Described as a system “founded on world-leading technology”, the Government says the single customs service will help save businesses time and money in compliance costs.

How can I prepare to use the CDS?

To use the CDS, you will need to:

  • Hire someone to complete customs declarations on your behalf, such as a customs intermediary, customs agent, freight forwarder, fast parcel operator, or software provider; or
  • Train existing staff to complete customs declarations using the CDS.

If you are planning to complete customs declarations yourself…

If you are planning to complete customs declarations yourself, you will need to have the correct software, authorisations, and skills to do so.

A full list of compatible software can be found here. Businesses should also follow this link to gain access to the CDS. You will need your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), business address, National Insurance (NI) number, and the date you started your business.

Gaining access to the service may be delayed if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needs to carry out additional checks, so registration should be completed ahead of time.

Once authorised, businesses can opt in to the Trader Dress Rehearsal service. This service will help you prepare for the live Customs Declaration Service by allowing you to complete several mock customs declarations.

More information on preparing for the Customs Declaration Service can be found here.

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