UK implements new Customs Declaration Service for imports as of 1 October 2022

Local contact

EY Global

15 Aug 2022
Subject Tax Alert
Categories Indirect Tax
Jurisdictions United Kingdom
  • Action is required to carry on importing into the United Kingdom (UK) via the new Customs Declaration Service from 1 October 2022.

  • Importers who import goods into the UK must use the new system with effect from 1 October 2022 as the ability to use the current system will end.

  • Action is required by all affected businesses that import goods into the UK, even those that use customs agents.

  • Early action is important as the necessary steps may take several weeks to complete.

From 1 October 2022, the ability for businesses to use Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) to make customs declarations for imports into the UK will cease. Businesses will instead need to use a new customs system known as the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

CDS is already available, but many businesses are yet to transition to using it. The UK Tax Authority (HMRC) has noted that at the beginning of August that there were around 3,500 businesses yet to make the move to CDS. CHIEF will also cease to be used for exports, but from a later date of 31 March 2023. Although, the closure date of CHIEF has been changed a number of times over the years, it is expected that these dates will not change.

All businesses that import goods into the UK are affected by this change. They will need to take steps to be able to carry on importing goods into the UK from 1 October 2022. These actions are likely to take a few weeks to complete and will require engagement with the importer’s wider supply chains and third parties. If the appropriate actions are not completed on time, businesses will not be able to import goods into the UK. Therefore, businesses should start taking action to migrate to CDS now to give them adequate time to make the transition.

It should be noted that, even if a business uses a customs agent to help with its customs declarations, there are still actions it will need to undertake. Businesses will need to:

  • Subscribe to the Customs Declaration Service
  • Choose a payment method
  • Check standing authorities are correctly set up
  • Give customs agents, customs clearance instructions

By 30‌‌‌ ‌‌September 2022, businesses need to set up a new Direct Debit Instruction for the CDS if a duty deferment account is used. If this is not in place, the importer will not be able to use the duty deferment account and will need to make immediate payments each time an import declaration is made.

In addition, businesses and/or customs agents will need to identify the additional data fields required to make import declarations in the CDS system with 91 single-use data fields in operation going forward compared to CHIEF’s previous 68 multi-use data fields.

EY’s Global trade professionals have the experience to assist businesses in taking the necessary steps to prepare for this transition and to continue importing goods into the UK from 1 October 2022.


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Indirect Tax
  • Marc Bunch, London
  • Penelope Isbecque, Leeds
  • Gerard Koevoets, London
  • Jarrod Ali, London

For a full listing of contacts and email addresses, please click on the Tax News Update: Global Edition (GTNU) version of this Alert.