This week members of the team at UKCS met with providers of our customs software to discuss preparations for the switch from CHIEF to the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).
HMRC aims to go live and begin the migration of traders to the new system from August 2018, although with limited functionality. All import functions are expected to be ready by November, with export functionality following in December. The aim is for all traders to be migrated to CDS by January 2019. These dates are fast approaching, so at UKCS we are making sure we are fully prepared to deliver a reliable and timely service both during and after this transition. There are various changes to the required data in terms of both content and format when making customs declarations. Being ready involves working closely with software providers to ensure we understand the full range of changes. Then we can put the right systems and processes in place, and train staff as necessary. HMRC have published their own overview here: Getting Ready for the Customs Declaration Service.
National Audit Office report on CDS progress
An update on CDS progress was published on 28th June and this may also be of interest to traders. The report assesses some of the risks to the project, noting tight timescales for delivery. According to this report, 150,000 traders currently make customs declarations. This could grow by an additional 145,000 following Britain’s exit of the European Union in March 2019, depending on the outcome of trade negotiations. This is the number believed to be trading within the European Union. These traders would need to submit declarations in the event of no deal, although the planned transition period may extend the deadline if agreed. Whilst current customs traders are being contacted about the switch to CDS, EU-only traders have so far not received advice. CDS is expected to roll out fully just two months before the EU exit date, and will need to have the capacity to handle any increase in volumes that result.
It may be a small relief to know that HMRC are also investing in developing the existing CHIEF system so that it too could handle the additional numbers, should a fallback be needed.
The full NAO report can be seen here: The Customs Declaration Service: a progress update