Customs Declaration Service (CDS) Update

HMRC will be closing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will be the single customs platform.

Services will be withdrawn in two stages:

  • After 30 September 2022 import declarations close on CHIEF
  • After 31 March 2023 export declarations close on CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES)

CHIEF has served the UK well, but it is nearly 30 years old. Our IT systems need to be fit for the future.

CDS is:

  • More resilient, reliable, mobile, cost-effective and adaptable
  • Fully compliant with Union Customs Code (UCC) legislation and operates both the UK and EU Trade Tariffs
  • Has the flexibility to grow in line with the Government’s ambitious trade plans to have the world’s most efficient customs system by 2025


Step 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. You can register for a Government Gateway account if you don’t already have one.

Step 2: Apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number

Most businesses moving goods in and out of the UK already have one. You can apply for a EORI number if you don’t have one already.

Step 3: Register for the Customs Declaration Service

You’ll then need to register for the Customs Declaration Service. This can take up to 5 working days. You’ll need your Government Gateway user ID and password for yourself or your business. You will also need:

  • Your GB EORI number
  • Your 10-digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number – you can find this here
  • The address for your business that is held on customs records
  • Your National Insurance number (if you are an individual or sole trader)
  • The date you started your business

Step 4: Choose which payment method to use for Duty and VAT

Nothing will change if Pinnacle is paying Duty and VAT on your behalf and sending you an invoice. If you use Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) and account for import VAT on your VAT return, you can use CDS to get a postponed import VAT statement online.

Other payment methods are available for your declaration. You can view your balances 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 and CHIEF, so you’ll need to set up a new direct debit.

You can also choose:

  • Cash account – these replace Flexible Accounting System (FAS) and you’ll be set up with one once you’ve registered for the Customs Declaration Service.
  • Immediate payment by BACS, CHAPS, online or by telephone banking – you can pay by debit card or corporate credit card
  • Individual guarantee – you can use these to cover customs duties for one-off or high-value imports
  • General guarantee account – this allows you to provide multiple guarantees from the same account, continue importing goods into the UK and pay a disputed amount later once agreed

Step 5: Provide Pinnacle with authority and instructions

You will need to give us customs clearance instructions which are compliant with Customs Declaration Service. You may need to:

  • Use the Customs Declaration Service Finance Dashboard to set us up to use your account
  • Let us know about any changes to your preferred method of payment
  • Let us know about the Incoterms, awareness for all values, the location information and nature of transaction information

Further updates will follow on what information we will need from you.

Please contact your Account Manager with any questions or further information can be found here.

Customs Declaration Service (CDS) Update

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