Customs Clearance

Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will close.

The new Customs Declaration Service is a modern IT platform and will replace CHIEF

Sarah Woodrow

August 26, 2022

The Government has plans to have the world’s most efficient customs system by 2025. The new Customs Declaration Service is a modern IT platform which will replace CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight)

The CHIEF system will close in 2 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.

You’ll then need to declare all goods you import into or export from the UK through the Customs Declaration Service.

At KTL we can complete all your customs needs but you are still required to register and confirm KTL as agent to act on your behalf. Make sure you follow the steps below to ensure you are ready and avoid any issues

Step 1: Register for a Government Gateway account

Most business will already have a Government Gateway account to access their personal or business tax account. You should use this account to access the Customs Declaration Service.

You can register for a Government Gateway account if you don’t have one already.

Step 2: Apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number

You need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB. Most businesses moving goods in and out of the UK already have one.

You can apply for an EORI number if you don’t have one already. It’s free and it only takes 10 minutes to apply. You should receive your EORI number within a week, but it can take longer during busy periods.

Step 3: Register for the Customs Declaration Service

You’ll then need to register for the Customs Declaration Service. This can take up to 5 working days.

You’ll need your Government Gateway user ID and password for yourself or your business. You will also need:

  • your GB EORI number
  • your 10-digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number – you can find this on any HMRC payment reminders, or in your personal tax account
  • the address for your business that we hold on our customs records – please tell us if your address has changed
  • your National Insurance number (if you’re an individual or sole trader)
  • the date you started your business

Step 4: Choose which payment method to use

You can choose the payment method which is best for your declaration. You can view your balances and payments in the Customs Declaration Service Financial Dashboard, as well as grant and amend standing authorities for your payment accounts.

The main payment methods you can choose from are:

  • duty deferment account – the Customs Declaration Service uses a separate HMRC bank account to CHIEF, so you’ll need to set up a new direct debit
  • postponed VAT accounting – if you’re making declarations for yourself and your business is registered for VAT in the UK, find out when you can, or need to, account for import VAT on your VAT return

You can also choose:

  • cash account – these replace the Flexible Accounting System (FAS), and you’ll be set up with one once you’ve registered for the Customs Declaration Service
  • immediate payment by Bacs, CHAPS, online or by telephone banking – you can pay by debit, corporate credit card or cheque
  • individual guarantee – you can use these to cover customs duties for one-off or high value imports
  • general guarantee account – this allows you to provide multiple guarantees from the same account, and continue importing goods into the UK and pay a disputed amount later once agreed

Step 5: Instruct your customs broker or agent

You need to give your broker or agent customs clearance instructions, which are compliant with the Customs Declaration Service. You may need to:

  • use the Customs Declaration Service Finance Dashboard to set up, check or update which customs agents can use your accounts
  • let them know about any changes to your preferred method of payment
  • let them know about the incoterms, awareness for all values, the location information, and nature of transaction information

(Taken from HM Revenue & Customs, website which was updated on the 15th August 2022)

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