Customs Declaration Service

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Customs Declaration Service
  • Background
  • Declaration category data sets
  • Forms


The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) is being replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) which is an updated system that should be flexible enough to cope with future import and export growth. HMRC started to phase in CDS from August 2018 with phase 1 that included a specific group of importers. The CDS will be rolled out to remaining importers from November 2018. Exporters will start to use CDS in March 2019.

Customs Declaration Service 

Businesses that import or export goods will be required to provide different information on the declarations completed in respect of those transactions. This is due to changes to the UK Tariff which are required under the Union Customs Code (UCC). Businesses will need to refer to the UK Trade Tariff for CDS  in order to make declarations. HMRC will provide details on the export Tariff that will be available at a later date. Businesses using agents to deal with their declarations will need to provide the agent with more information as a result of the changes to the Tariff.

HMRC believes that CDS will benefit businesses by providing capacity to include more items on a declaration which should reduce the number of declarations that need to be made. This will obviously also be of benefit to HMRC by reducing its administrative burden as well. Also, businesses will have the ability to access information regarding their imports and exports using their Government Gateway ID and password.

Changes will also be made to the Duty Deferment (see the Delaying payment of import VAT guidance note) and Flexible Accounting System (see the Importing goods from outside the EU guidance note). A different procedure will also need to be followed to get an EORI number (see the Economic Operator Registration and Identification Scheme (EORI) guidance note). More information will be provided by HMRC at

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