The New Customs Declaration Service – The move away from CHIEF

juli 2018

If you currently import and export goods, you will be familiar with the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system that is used to process all imports into the UK.

However, starting next month, HMRC are to replace CHIEF with a new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

CHIEF will not disappear overnight as there will be a phased migration of businesses from CHIEF to CDS. This phasing will be aligned to the planned delivery of CDS functionality.

If you are a business that is to be migrated in August, then you will already know about this. The initial release, expected 12 August 2018, will have limited functionality with businesses only able to submit declarations for the following customs procedures:

  • Supplementary declaration into free circulation
  • Supplementary declaration out of Customs Warehousing into Free Circulation

The remaining import functionality will be available in the second release, expected in November 2018. The final phase will include export functionality although no date has been provided for this.

During this phased implementation of CDS, CHIEF will remain available, but businesses will be encouraged to begin using CDS for imports from November 2018.

If you submit your own customs declarations, your software provider or in-house software team will need to have developed a CDS compatible package to allow your current software to interface with CDS. It is only after this is available that you will be able to migrate to CDS.

All importers and exporters will have to familiarise themselves with the new customs declaration categories and data sets, which are due to be published in the Volume 1 of the Tariff in August 2018.

Business registration details will not be migrated from CHIEF.  You will need to register for the service via the Government Gateway portal to obtain real-time information and reports of your customs declarations and to view duty deferment accounts. Most businesses will be familiar with this portal to manage PAYE, corporation tax and VAT liabilities and payments.

If you would like to understand more about CDS and how this move from CHIEF will impact your business, then please contact us on +44 (0) 845 519 0878 or

Neem vandaag nog contact met ons op +44 (0)845 519 0878