14th November 2022Customs Declaration Service – The new CHIEF

HMRC is replacing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system with the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The shutdown of CHIEF will be done in two phases:

Phase 1 – On 30 September 2022, CHIEF will no longer accept customs import declarations

Phase 2 – On 31 March 2023, the export customs declaration facility will close

Registering to use the CDS

Importers will be required to register for CDS themselves, even if they use freight forwarders or customs brokers. In order to register for the CDS, you will need a Government Gateway Account and a UK EORI number.

Any businesses that are not ready to use CDS by the 1 October 2022, are able to request an extension to continue using CHIEF temporarily. Businesses who are granted the extension should still aim to move over to CDS as soon as possible.

Businesses that use Postponed Import VAT Accounting (PIVA) are already registered to use the CDS and therefore do not need to re-register.

Differences between CHIEF and CDS

CDS is a new online system that is fully electronic and allows for safe exchange of data digitally. There are a number of differences between CHIEF and CDS, which we have summarised below.

Declaration Completion Requirements SAD form – 68 Paper form multi-use boxes, with several boxes that accept data in a free text format More information is required about each movement of goods. 91 boxes to complete, with restrictions on entries in certain boxes to code format
Supporting Documentation Submitted via the Customs Trader Service with maximum file size of 6MB Submitted via the Secure File Upload Service with maximum file size of 10MB
Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) 7 digit fixed CPCs CPC split into 2 parts – single 4 digit code combine with up to 99 different types of 3 digit Additional Procedure codes
Payment Payments can be made via:

·     Duty Deferment Account (DDA)
·     Guarantee
·     Flexible Account System

Payments can be made via the original routes and also:

·     Cash account (works as a pre-paid DDA)
·     Immediate payment options

Any businesses with their own DDA will need to set up a new Direct Debit Instruction

IT Access Access to CHIEF via:

·     Community System Providers linked agents
·     Electronic Data Capture Service or
·     NES Web service

Access via HMRC’s Making Tax Digital Platform. Businesses have access to customs financial accounts, exports declaration User Interface (to replace NES).

Import declarations need to be made using external software.


For more information, please contact Gerry Myton.

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