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FAQ - HMRC's Customs Declaration Service - Answers to Questions You Asked Us

You Asked - We listened to and answer all the most frequent questions that you have asked us about the new Customs Declaration Service. Please get in touch if your question is not answered.


The United Kingdom is a prominent commercial country, with record-breaking international trade growth in the decade before Brexit. Since 2009, the value of British exports of goods and services has increased by more than 20 per cent, reaching around £660 billion in 2017. However, since Brexit, the country's development has slowed, and it has lost some of its appeal to investors. Moreover, businesses are burdened by the resulting avalanche of paperwork and bureaucracy, especially when completing customs declarations. Therefore, the British government should try to return to prior levels of economic development by continuing to assist businesses and decreasing red tape. This includes customs declarations without question. Since Brexit, this is essential for trading with the EU. Currently, however, the United Kingdom is modifying its electronic filing system for customs submissions. Is an undesirable circumstance deteriorating?

We respond to a few of the questions we've recently been asked regarding CDS.

What exactly is CDS?

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is a new online service that enables businesses to make their customs declarations to HMRC. It has replaced the obsolete CHIEF system. It intends to provide more streamlined and effective management of imports and exports while assisting companies in complying with the Taxation (Cross Border) Act 2018.

When will the new service for customs declaration be introduced?

The CDS will be implemented for imports beginning on October 1, 2022. It will replace the CHIEF customs system as the principal system. The CDS will subsequently become obligatory, with its implementation for exports occurring in March 2023.

When will the existing CHIEF system be retired?

After March 31, 2022, CHIEF will no longer be offered. Companies in the United Kingdom will be required to adopt CDS if they have not previously.

What does this imply for businesses?

From 1 October 2023, British enterprises, including customs brokers working for German corporations, must guarantee that all import customs declarations filed through CHIEF are put in CDS for accurate processing.

From spring 2023, the following applies:

  • any new imports or exports, including those done on someone else's behalf, and

  • any import or export declarations made in the past via CHIEF but not yet processed by HMRC

How do I get ready for CDS?

You should examine your present procedures to see whether they need revision. If you have an automated system or piece of software, such as a warehouse management system (WMS), you may need to ensure that it is compatible with CDS and functioning effectively. Additionally, you must examine and verify your systems and software to ensure that they are prepared for day one. It is important to teach personnel as thoroughly as possible so that everyone understands what to do when the CDS deployment is scheduled. Customs Manager Ltd. also provides training classes on CDS in four languages, French, Spanish, German and English. Your systems and software should be retested prior to and after the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) launch.

Am I eligible to use CDS?

You must be registered to utilise the online services of HMRC. You must be a business. You cannot utilise the CDS, for instance, if you are importing goods as a private individual or delivering them as a gift to another individual who will import them.

Is CDS mandatory?

CDS is not a voluntary system, thus you are required to utilise it. There are a few things to bear in mind while using CDS:

  • You must preserve the same or maybe more papers than previously

  • You are unable to modify your current customs arrangements.

  • Your current CHIEF users may have roles and permissions that vary from the past.

What happens if I fail to disclose my imports and exports through CDS?

HMRC will reject your customs declaration if you do not utilise the CDS. You may incur penalties and be required to pay the applicable taxes and VAT. In the future, you will no longer be able to use these services. CDS is currently accessible. If you're a business and you haven't read up on the CDS yet, we urge you to do so immediately! When the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) goes into force in the next months, it will be a game-changer for many firms; but, if your organisation resembles a major operation or a logistical hub, things might get very problematic unless well-prepared.

You can access more information on our dedicated CDS trade intelligence hub

Or explore our training options on CDS here.

Got more questions?

Please send them through, so we can answer them here. They will help everybody.


In conclusion, CDS is an essential new service that enables your business to import and export items and submit declarations through CDS rather than via CHIEF. CDS is required, and CHIEF is no longer permitted for imports as of October 2022. Beginning in the spring of 2023, CHIEF will be disabled for exporters. If you have any questions or concerns about how the CDS may affect your company, please contact our team immediately for guidance on how to effectively prepare for this new system. Or inquire about CDS training; we are pleased to assist.

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