CHIEF to CDS: Don’t Be Caught by Changing UK Export and Import Regulations


What do you need for the latest UK import/export changes to CHIEF and CDS?

If you or your business rely on imports and exports, you need to be aware of upcoming changes to the HMRC handles shipments. Some of the changes will be implemented as soon as September this year, so, it is critical that you prepare to adjust your procedures and payments accordingly. The changes will apply to businesses, individuals and sole traders.

This year, HMRC is introducing the Customs Declaration Service, a long-term replacement for the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. The change will start with imports, from 30 September 2022, with exports also switching over on 31 March 2023. Ensure that you and your business start preparing now for the switch, as there are several things that need to be done. If you need to ship your goods without interruption, ensure you check the 5 essential steps below.

  1. Register for a Government Gateway account

Most businesses will already have a Government Gateway account to access their personal or business tax account. You should use this account to access the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

If you do not have one, you can register for a Government Gateway account here.

  • You must have an EORI number

Most businesses moving goods into and out of the UK will already have one. If you don’t have one, you can apply for an EORI number here.

  • Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

Use this link to register for the Customs Declaration Service. It can take up to 5 working days. You’ll need your Government Gateway user ID and password as well as:

  1. Your GB EORI number.
    1. Your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number. If you don’t know it, you can find it here.
    1. The official address of your business that is held on customs records.
    1. Your National Insurance Number (if you’re an individual or sole trader).
    1. The date you started your business.
  • Paying VAT and Duty

If Evolution (or any other freight forwarding companies you work with) are paying VAT & Duty on your behalf and invoicing this back to you, nothing will change. This service will continue to function as it did previously.

If you are accounting for VAT using postponed VAT accounting, you will need to access your postponed VAT statement via the Customs Declaration Service. You can view your balance and payments in the Customs Declaration Service Financial Dashboard, as well as grant and amend standing authorities for your payment accounts.

  • If you have your own Duty deferment account

The Customs Declaration Service uses a separate HMRC bank account to CHIEF, so you’ll need to set up a new direct debit.

You will also need to re-authorise Evolution (or any other freight forwarding companies you work with) to use your deferment account. This is done in the Customs Declaration Service Finance Dashboard. 

Solutions and support

Unsure about how the switch from CHIEF to CDS is going to affect your business? Our team has extensive experience in navigating regulatory frameworks and changes, particularly when it comes to UK imports and exports. We have already prepared our customers to transition to CDS and would be happy to guide you through the process too.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our customs department via or +44 1332 814914.

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