Thousands of businesses at risk of import delays

Businesses are being warned they could risk significant delays to importing goods if they don’t move to the UK’s new streamlined customs system.

Organisations submitting import declarations must use the Customs Declaration Service from 1 October 2022, when the Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will close for import declarations.

Businesses should check that their customs agents are ready to use the new service. Those without a customs agent must set themselves up to make their own declarations using software that works with the system.

Many businesses are already using the Customs Declaration Service, however around 3,500 businesses are yet to move.

It can take several weeks to be fully set up on the new system so those waiting to register risk being unable to import goods to the UK from 1 October.

Julie Etheridge, HMRC’s Director of Programme and Operational Delivery for Borders and Trade, said: “There are now only two months left until businesses must use Customs Declaration Service for imports. Businesses need to move now or risk being unable to bring their goods into the UK.

“Registering takes time so businesses should start moving to the Customs Declaration Service to ensure a smooth transition and avoid disruption to their business.”

To help all businesses and agents prepare for the Customs Declaration Service, declarants are being contacted by phone and email to inform them of steps they need to take. Further information is available on GOV.UK, including a Customs Declaration Service toolkit and checklists, which break down the steps traders need to take.

Traders can also register or check they have access to the Customs Declaration Service on GOV.UK and access live customer support services for additional help.

Once registered, businesses that use a Duty Deferment Account will need to set up a new Direct Debit Instruction for the Customs Declaration Service by 30 September. If this is not set up, the Duty Deferment Account will no longer be usable, and individual immediate payments will need to be made each time an import declaration is made.

CHIEF will close for export declarations on 31 March 2023, with businesses being required to use the Customs Declaration Service to send goods out of the UK.

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