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Changes to UK customs declarations

CDS is nearly here

Ian Worth, Director, VAT and Customs Duty Services
10/08/2022
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From 30 September 2022, the Customs Handling of Import Export Freight (CHIEF) system will close for imports and the new Customs Declarations Service (CDS) will become the UK’s sole customs declaration platform. CHIEF is scheduled to close for exports on 31 March 2023.

In order to avoid risk of not being able to import goods into the UK from 1 October 2022, unregistered importers must register for the new Customs Declaration Service as soon as possible.

Beyond just registering, many importers have struggled to understand exactly what they need to do to prepare, so we have broken down the key requirements and noted which steps are required depending on your circumstance.

1.  Register for a Government Gateway Account
If you are VAT-registered in the UK and already importing goods, there is a good chance that you already have a Government Gateway account. If you do, you can skip this step.

2.  Register for an EORI number
An EORI is required to import into the UK and if you have been importing goods, you will already have one, in which case you can skip this step.

3.  Register for CDS!
You can register for CDS by following this link.

If you already use Postponed Import VAT Accounting (PIVA) and download your monthly statements, this means you are already registered for CDS. You do not need to re-register.

Please note that if PIVA is not applied, your C79 certificates will now be available digitally through the CDS online portal. This means you will not receive a paper copy of the C79 certificate for import VAT paid on or after 30 September 2022.

4.  Decide how you will pay customs duties
If you currently use your agent’s Duty Deferment Account (DDA) and intend to continue doing so, you can skip this step and jump to step five – no further action on this step is required.

If however you have your own DDA, you will need to set up a new Direct Debit Instruction, which can be done by following this link. You should not cancel your existing Direct Debit Instruction for CHIEF declarations.

CDS now also has an easy-to-use functionality for a “Cash Account”; this in effect works as a pre-paid Duty Deferment Account, where you can add funds to your account to be used to pay customs duty.

If you intend to use either of these mechanisms, you must authorise your customs agent(s) to use them through the CDS Financial Dashboard.

You should select 'Manage Account', 'Add an authority', enter the EORI number of your agent, and select which services you wish to authorise them for. You must select when you want these instructions to apply from, decide whether you would like your agent to be able to view the balance of your accounts, and then confirm your details to complete the process. You will need to complete this step for every clearance agent that you use.

5.  Provide your agent with clearance instructions
It is always essential to provide comprehensive clearance instructions to your customs agents, but entries to CDS require some new data elements to be submitted. We have covered these in the section below.

Clearance instructions for CDS

CDS declarations use 'Data Elements' (up to 91), rather than the 68 'Boxes' for declarations to CHIEF. CDS also often requires data in a different order, a different format and subject to different conditional rules in comparison to CHIEF.

We have set out some of the key changes below to ensure that you can instruct your customs agent accordingly and reduce the likelihood of any delays to your imports.

  • Buyer and Seller details
    If the buyer and importer are not the same entity, you must instruct your agent accordingly to inform the declaration. Similarly, if the seller and exporter are different entities, this must also be detailed in the declaration.
  • Valuation
    Every time you import a consignment of goods from outside the United Kingdom you must provide HMRC with details of its value. It must be made clear which method of valuation, ranging from method 1 to method 6, should be applied to the declaration. The most common method of valuation for customs purposes is the transaction value (method 1) which is used in over 90% of customs declarations.

When method 1 is selected, a 4-digit code must now be entered to define certain ‘valuation indicators’ – this is a new requirement which did not exist in CHIEF.

Digit Indicator Yes  No 
A price influence as a result of a Party Relationship between the buyer and seller. 0
2 Restrictions as to the disposal or use of the goods by
the buyer in accordance with Article 70(3)(a) of the Code
1 0
3 The sale or price is subject to some condition or consideration in accordance with Article 70(3)(b) of the Code. 1 0
4 The sale is subject to an arrangement under which part of the proceeds of any subsequent resale, disposal or use accrues directly or indirectly to the seller.  1 0

As this is information being declared in your name, and may be subject to review during any future customs audit, it is important to ensure that all the information is submitted accurately.

Your agent may request this from you, but we strongly recommend you proactively supply them with this information regardless.

Any additions or deductions to the customs value should be clearly advised to your agent to be included in the determination of the customs value.

  • Import controls
    You should advise your agent whether your goods are subject to any prohibitions, restrictions or license requirements.

    Ensuring you provide the correct commodity code(s) to be used is also of vital importance.
  • Incoterms®
    This is another new element required on the declaration into CDS and as such the Incoterms® should be clearly shown on the commercial documents supplied to your agent.

Your customs clearance agent should already be in contact with you about the way they will need your data for customs declarations, but if you need any support on this, or would like to discuss how we can help in preparing clearance instructions for your agent, please contact Robert Marchant or Ian Worth

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Contact us

Ian Worth
Ian Worth
Director, VAT and Customs Duty services
London
Robert Marchant
Robert Marchant
Partner, VAT and Customs Duty services
London