Businesses reminded of deadline to switch to new customs system for exports

Businesses reminded of deadline to switch to new customs system for exports
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 10th May 2024

The government has reminded businesses exporting goods that they have less than one month to start using the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

From 4 June, CDS replaces the 30-year-old Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for all trade declarations. CDS has been running since 2018 for import declarations.

Businesses using customs agents should ensure they are ready to use CDS. Those without an agent need to prepare to make their own declarations via software compatible with the new system.

Sarah Hartley, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 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.”

To help exporters prepare, the government has toolkits and checklists here. You can also practice submitting export declarations using the Trade Dress Rehearsal service.

The switch to the Customs Declaration Service

HMRC originally planned to move from CHIEF to CDS in January 2019 but it has been delayed several times.

Earlier this week, software company Agency Sector Management (ASM) said up to a third of exporters still need to make the switch.

Simon Adams, program manager at ASM, said:

"CDS has been a long time in the making, with many shifts in the implementation timetable, but we have now reached a critical point.

"This deadline is definitive, and HMRC insists that CHIEF will be decommissioned in July, so any business that does not make this final transition to CDS with some urgency risks being unable to export goods."

ASM said in exceptional circumstances, HMRC will grant permission to use CHIEF for an additional four weeks, "but only in cases where an HMRC IT functionality issue is preventing migration" and not because the necessary preparations haven't been made.

Related resources

Enterprise Nation Go Global international trade hub

Book a free call with an international trade adviser

New regulations small businesses need to know in 2024

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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