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Exporters must adopt the Customs Declaration Service before 4th June


UK exporters are being urged to transition to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) before the 4th of June deadline to ensure the continued smooth processing of their export declarations. With less than a month remaining, HMRC has intensified calls for businesses to make the switch from the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system to the new CDS.

Why the change?

The transition to the CDS is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to modernise and streamline customs processes. The new system promises enhanced capabilities, including improved data integration and greater flexibility in managing customs procedures. The CHIEF system, which has been in operation for decades, will be completely phased out, marking a significant shift in how export declarations are handled.

Sarah Hartley, HMRC’s Director of Border Change Delivery, said: ”There are just weeks left for businesses to migrate their export declarations to CDS – those who have yet to move need to do so now.

“Anyone who needs help migrating to CDS should work with a customs agent who is ready to use the system and can make declarations on their behalf.”

Support and resources available

To assist businesses in this transition, HMRC has provided a variety of resources, including a CDS toolkit and checklists. Exporters are encouraged to utilise these tools to ensure they are fully prepared for the switch. 

Businesses that fail to adopt the CDS by the deadline may face significant disruptions to their export operations.

Steps to transition

Exporters should start by familiarising themselves with the CDS and its requirements. Key steps include:

  1. Registering for the CDS: Businesses need to sign up for the service through the Government Gateway.
  2. Understanding the new data requirements: The CDS requires more detailed information than CHIEF, so exporters should review the new data fields and ensure they have the necessary information ready.
  3. Updating software: If businesses use customs declaration software, they must ensure it is compatible with the CDS. HMRC provides a list of approved software providers.
  4. Training staff: Employees who handle customs declarations will need to be trained on the new system to ensure a smooth transition.

Exporters keen to understand the main differences between the two systems can do so with this gov article.

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