Customs Declaration Service ( CDS )

If you are an importer or exporter and haven’t heard of CDS you need to start pushing your freight forwarder for information. CDS or to give it the full title Customs Declaration Service is new. It will completely change how you handle your imports and exports to and from the UK. Your UK customs clearances presently clear through CHIEF. You may never have heard of it but you use it on all cross border declarations. CDS works differently and will affect the way you record your goods coming into and out of the UK. There are key dates, Imports – 01st October 2022, Exports – April 01st 2023

What is CDS

The Customs Declaration Service is the replacement for CHIEF. CDS will act as a single gateway used to complete import and export declarations for goods moving into and out of the UK. The CDS system will change the way you interact with HM Revenue and Customs and Border Force on your imports and exports. Instead of receiving import documentation from your forwarder all reporting will be handled at Governent Gateway level. If you do your own tax returns you will be familiar with government gateway. Your accounts department will already use it but now need to sign up for the Customs Declaration Service.

Is the Customs Declaration Service compulsory

In it’s simplest form no. If you do not operate a deferment account and wish to use your freight forwarders deferment and import or export irregularly you can likely get away with having no access to reporting. When you are HMRC audited though you may find it extremely difficult to access the answers needed to head off revenue issues.

With a valid CDS registration you will be able to :

  • Monitor your HMRC Deferment account
  • Top up your deferment account mid-month
  • Appoint a UK customs broker to use your deferment account
  • Remove a UK customs broker from access to your deferment account
  • Make payments into your cash account ( FAS replacement )
  • Access deferment & PVA statements

PVA or Post VAT accounting access and deferment access will become integral in how you manage your financial commitments to HMRC. No longer will an e-mail be sufficient for a Freight forwarder to use an importers deferment account. The importer needs to authorise the Customs broker to use his deferment account within Government Gateway. This requires a new Direct debit commitment as importers with existing deferment accounts need to switch these across.

For Customs Declarations is additional information needed

There is no additional information needed for CDS. However, the quality of shippers commercial invoices and packing lists has deteriorated considerably over the years. Some importers may find that they are being asked for information which is missing from their particular shippers documents.

  • Full Incoterms may be required ( I.E. CIF – Manchester )
  • Party Relationship
  • Nett & Gross Weight
  • Total Package Count
  • Easily Identifiable Goods Description at SKU/Product Level

All of the above have been required under the existing CHIEF customs entry system but under CDS we are told there will be a higher emphasis on these areas. Likewise the valuation statements around Party Relationship / Buyer Restrictions / Conditions of Sale and Proceeds of sale will help HMRC determine that correct value declarations are being made.

H.M.Revenue & Customs

How to register for the Customs Declaration Service

You will need the following to register for CDS.

  • Business EORI Number
  • Business Government Gateway ID & Password
  • Business Unique Taxpayer Reference ( UTR )
  • Business address that HMRC holds on record.
  • Date of business incorporation3
  • Your E-mail Address.
  • CDS Registration page ( Here )

If you are unsure on your next steps ensure you speak to your freight forwarder sooner rather than later. Leaving this until just before your go live date may cause you considerable issues. Some companies are finding the switch-over to CDS quick whilst others are reporting upto a 5 day delay.

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