BREXIT – Chief to CDS migration

Ready for Brexit

At present Customs declarations submitted to HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) are made through the CHIEF system (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight).

This is nearly 30 years old and is being replaced by a new platform known as CDS (Customs Declaration Service).

With effect from 1st October 2022, all import declarations will be made on the new system. Export declarations will transfer from 1st April 2023.

CDS is:

  • more resilient, reliable, cost effective, adaptable and flexible
  • fully compliant with Union Customs Code legislation and can utilise both the UK and EU Trade Tariffs

Although many of the changes will only affect your clearance agents there are a number of requirements importers will need to implement.


All businesses will need to register for the Customs Declaration Service prior to 1st October 2022 in order to be able to process import customs entries.

Because the CHIEF direct debit deferment account will no longer be valid they will also need to set up a new CDS account, and authorise freight forwarders to use it.

To register you will need the following information:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password*
  • Your GB EORI number
  • Your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number (use link if not known) Look up UTR
  • Your business address held in customs records
  • Your National Insurance number (if you’re an individual or sole trader)
  • The date you started your business

* If you do not have an ID click on ‘create sign in details’ on the GOV UK website which will allow you to create the ID, after which you can go back to the sign in page to subscribe to CDS.

Subscribe to CDS

The video links below explain the application process and how to set up your account within CDS:

How to set up an account on CDS

Using Financial Accounts on CDS

Once registered you will be able to:

  • Access your financial dashboard – this shows standing authorities and all your Customs, Excise and Import VAT duty payments, such as Cash Account, Duty Deferment Account, and General/Individual guarantee accounts, along with Import VAT certificates and postponed import VAT statements.
  • Access the Secure File Upload Service if you need to send HMRC supporting documents, like licences or certificates of origin


There are a number of additional data elements required within the new custom’s import entry. The key ones are below but there may be others as they update the system:

Seller Details

This is required for Home Use and End Use entries where the seller is a different entity to the exporter.

Buyer Details

This is required for Home Use and End Use entries where the buyer is a different entity to the importer.

Valuation Indicators

A declaration needs to be made regarding the relationship between the buyer, the seller and whether that relationship affects the price payable for the goods, and if there are any restrictions placed against the buyer as to the disposal or use of the goods. The questions are listed below which require a yes or no answer. If any are yes further clarification may be required by HMRC which may affect the declared value for customs.

  • Is there is a price influence as a result of a Party Relationship between the buyer and seller?
  • Are there any restrictions as to the disposal or use of the goods by the buyer in accordance with Article 70(3)(a) of the UCC (Union Customs Code)?
  • Is the sale or price subject to some condition or consideration in accordance with Article 70(3)(b) of the UCC?
  • Is the sale subject to an arrangement under which part of the proceeds of any subsequent resale, disposal or use accrues directly or indirectly to the seller?


In order to be ready for the implementation of CDS you should ensure:

  • That you have registered for a Government Gateway user ID
  • That you have registered for a GB EORI number
  • That you have applied for a new CDS Direct Debit Instruction (if appropriate) or have alternative funding available for the payment of Customs duties.
  • That you can provide the necessary shipment advice to your Customs clearance agents to enable them to submit declarations.

Please contact B&H Worldwide if you require clarification on any of these points.

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