Are you ready for the new customs IT Platform?

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are writing to businesses to tell them about a change to the UK’s customs systems.

Why a single UK customs platform?

The letter contains information about the work under way to move to a single UK customs platform, named the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The CDS supports making import and export declarations when moving goods into and out of the UK.

The government say in the letter that they have recognised that their IT systems need to be fit for the future to help to create an environment where businesses can thrive, prosper and take advantage of free trade agreements, supporting our ambitious plans for global trade.


Over the past few years, the government have been working with businesses on the Customs Declaration Service. A replacement for Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) which is now nearly 30 years old. The Customs Declaration Service is a secure platform with flexibility to grow in line with the government’s ambitious trade plans to have the world’s most efficient customs system by 2025.

Time to move

They are now ready for declarants to start moving to the new system and have given more details in this letter to help businesses prepare, whether you make your own declarations or have someone who does this for you.

The CHIEF system will close in two phases:

  • Phase one: After 30 September 2022 the ability to make import declarations will end
  • Phase two: After 31 March 2023 the ability to make export declarations will end

Time to move

CDS will become the UK’s single customs platform after 31 March 2023. Ahead of the complete closure, the import declaration function will be withdrawn on 30 September this year.

To help businesses and agents prepare for the CDS, HMRC has published some key steps you can follow.

This guidance consists of 4 main sections:

  • How to get access
  • After you’ve applied
  • Using a software provider
  • Help and Support

If you require any information around this or other tax services available at Carpenter Box, then please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Tax Team, or call us on 01903 234094.