Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

What is the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)?

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is new customs computer system for the processing of import and export shipments in the UK. It is being phased in to replace the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system which has been the main system since 1994. Oddly enough the year I started working in freight!

Do I need to do anything?

If you import to the UK and pay for duty and import VAT using a Deferment Approval Number (DAN) it will affect your company and you must take action or risk service interruption.

If you import using customs authorisations such as Inward Processing Relief (IPR), customs warehousing or Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) your company will receive details of the new CDS authorisation number to use with the CDS system.

All importers will need to use the CDS service to access their Import VAT certificate (C79) and Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) statement.

What steps do you need to take?

You will need to take action to ensure your company is registered on the CDS system but don’t worry this is quite straightforward and explained below:

Step 1: If you do not already have one – register for a Government Gateway Account here. Check with you accounts department as many companies are already registered due to digital VAT. Note: you will require your company Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number. For more information and how to apply see here.

Step 2. Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) using the link here. You will need to Government Gateway login details. You will also need to provide:

  • The company UK EORI number beginning GB
  • Your 10 digit company Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) or tax reference number. If you are unsure you can find more information here.
  • the company address registered with customs
  • National Insurance (NI) number (if you are an individual or sole trader)
  • The date the business started

Note: If you do not have a deferment account i.e. your freight forwarder pays then invoices you. Then you will not be required to complete steps 3 or 4.

Step 3. If your company has a Deferment Approval Number (DAN) you will need to set up a new direct debit as CDS uses a separate bank account to CHIEF.

Step 4. You will need to re-authorise and freight forwarding companies you work with to enable them you use your deferment account by using the CDS finance dashboard. If you do not re-authorise your freight forwarder will not be able to use your deferment account when the system switches over in September.

Your company will start to receive prompts from all freight forwarders and couriers regarding CDS as they will want to continue to provide an uninterrupted service. Be sure to complete the steps above and your company will be compliant and ready to go.

Published by A Kennedy

An award winning, UK based, International Logistics Manager for a multinational tool company. Over 25 years experience in international logistics and supply chain management. Elected ‘Chartered Status’ by the CILT and ‘Expert Status’ by the IoSCM.

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