Guidance on migration to CDS

This document is intended to provide guidance to those companies currently using CHIEF who are planning to migrate to the Customs Declaration Service.

HMRC have sent out several communications to Trade explaining that the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) became operational in August.

Currently CDS has very limited functionality and can only be used by a small number of traders who undertake non-inventory declarations out of ‘Customs Warehouse’. Further import functionality is expected to be made available in CDS ‘Release 2’.

Export functionality is not expected to be available before March 2019. Community Service Providers are currently developing and testing their systems for implementation during 2019. The CSPs are required to upgrade their systems in order to connect to CDS.

It should be noted that it is not only new software that is required in order for a trader to migrate to CDS. There is a need for Traders to provide additional data in their declarations. This is required in order to meet UCC standards (see link to Guidance below). It is also necessary to understand the changes introduced and published in the new UK Tariff.

Any staff involved in undertaking Customs Declarations to CDS will be required to understand the legislative and Tariff changes. This will necessitate training for staff involved in both import and export declarations.

In order to assist Trade in their move to CDS, it has been designed to work concurrently with CHIEF during a period of Dual Running, thus giving the opportunity for companies to migrate to CDS at a time which is most appropriate to their operational needs. The Trader together with their Software house needs to ensure that not only have their staff been adequately trained, but that all their systems are ready.

Whilst it is important that Trade move to CDS as early as possible, the first objective to both the trader and their Software Provider is that the CDS system has released the functionality required for their business. Secondly the Trader must be confident that all testing has been completed to their satisfaction with both their Software Supplier and CSPs.

BIFA and AFSS together with the major Trade Associations, are working in partnership with HMRC to ensure that the move to CDS will result in minimal disruption to the Trader and HMRC. Continuity of Service and Contingency planning are major elements to consider in planning the migration to CDS.

HMRC in conjunction with BIFA and AFSS have also published new and enhanced compliance requirements for completion of import declarations on CDS, which you can use to gather the required information from your customers.



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