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U.K. Transitions to Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

CDS, the Customs Declaration Service, replaces CHIEF as the United Kingdom's electronic system for handling customs declaration processes.

11 July 2022

Blue CDS graphic logo.

Imports must be recorded in CDS after 30 September 2022. Prepare for the change now! We’re ready to help you transition from CHIEF to CDS with ease.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is closing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system and implementing a modern replacement, the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). If you submit a CDS declaration using the CHIEF tariff codes, it will be rejected since the code doesn’t exist in CDS. On 30 September 2022, import declarations will close on CHIEF.

OIA Global Customers

As an OIA Global customer, we will act on your behalf to facilitate a smooth transition to CDS. Businesses with a Duty Deferment Account (DDA) must establish a new Direct Debit Mandate to ensure their deferment account can be used on CDS. CDS will not accept any entry if the declarant does not hold standing authority to use the importers’ deferment account. Therefore, importers must authorize OIA Global to access a deferment account via the CDS platform.

Key Dates

  • 30 September 2022: Import declarations close on CHIEF. ALL U.K. Import Customs entries will need to be made on CDS starting 01 October 2022.
  • 31 March 2023: Export declarations close on CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES). ALL U.K. Export Customs entries will need to be submitted on CDS starting 01 April 2023.

CDS Turns Customs Entry into Customs Management

CDS is not simply a new software platform; it is a different method for preparing customs entries and declarations that provides broader data collection and uses a completely different data entry process. CDS aligns with the U.K. government’s trade growth agenda and future border strategy.

CDS Functionality

  • More resilient, reliable, mobile, cost effective and adaptable
  • Fully compliant with UCC legislation and functions with both the U.K. and EU Trade Tariffs
  • Flexibility to grow in tandem with the U.K. Government’s future trade plans
  • Financial dashboards provide better management and importer accountability

CDS impacts more than customs declarants and/or inputting agents. CDS applies to all DDA holders: importers, exporters, agents and declarants. Moving forward, those using the current Flexible Accounting System (FAS) will need to utilize the new CDS Dashboard to manage customs payments. Additionally, importers will need to use the new CDS Dashboard to download deferment and/or PVA statements and VAT certificates.

Key Differences Between CDS & CHIEF

CDS is built on the Union Customs Code (UCC) legislation, which is fundamentally different from the Community Customs Code within CHIEF. Essentially, it is a move from using paper-based rules on CHIEF to data processing rules on CDS.

  • CHIEF: 7-digit fixed Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) are unique for each goods item.
  • CDS: Procedure Codes (PCs)/Additional Procedure Codes (APCs) provide multiple, interchangeable combinations depending on the circumstances. Codes are split into two parts; a single 4-digit PC combined with up to 99 3-digit APCs for a single goods item.

Note: There is no 1-2-1 correlation between CHIEF CPCs and CDS Procedure Codes (PCs & APCs).

Begin the Transition to CDS Now

It may take time for your business to make the transition, so the sooner you start, the easier it will be. Anybody holding a Duty Deferment Account (DDA) with HMRC will need to establish a new Direct Debit Mandate to enable the use of their deferment account on CDS. A benefit of working with OIA Global is that we can act on your behalf to facilitate the transition. Importers will need to authorize whatever entity—in this case OIA Global—they wish to permit access to their deferment account via the CDS platform. If you already have a DDA with HMRC, please authorize OIA to use the account by contacting your OIA Global representative, who can guide you through HMRC’s Dashboard function.

Required Information for CDS Registration

  • Government Gateway ID and passwordGo to the Get Access to the Customs Declaration Service GOV.UK page to register
  • Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) NumberMost businesses moving goods in and out of the U.K. already have an EORI number. If you don’t, apply for a number here.
  • Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number – you can find this here if you don’t know it
  • Address of your business held on customs records
  • National Insurance (NI) if you’re an individual or sole trader
  • The date you started your business

Note: CDS will not accept any entry if the declarant does not hold standing authority to use the importers’ deferment account.

Quick Links

GOV.UK – About the Customs Declaration Service
GOV.UK – Key Differences Between CHIEF and the Customs Declaration Service
GOV.UK – How to subscribe or check if you have access to the Customs Declaration Service
GOV.UK – CDS Declaration Completion Instructions for Imports
HMRC – How to Use Your Duty Deferment Account