HMRC to close CHIEF: What does this mean for you?

6th May 2022

Last year HMRC announced that the Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight Computer system (CHIEF ) currently used to lodge import and export declarations will be fully replaced by a new system called the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in 2023.

CHIEF will finally be closed in two phases:

  • On 30 September 2022, it will no longer be usable for import declarations
  • On 31 March 2023, export declarations will close on the CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES)

What Does This Mean?
That means that all businesses will have to make sure their customs brokers are up to speed with all changes and are confident in using the new system.

How Can We Help?
All Customs Broker staff at the Sheffield International Trade Centre have been on extensive CDS training with an HMRC approved training organisation.

In addition to allowing us to complete your export/import declarations, the new Customs Declaration Service will let you:

  • Get your postponed import VAT statements or get your import VAT certificates so you can complete your VAT return
  • Download monthly Deferment Account statements
  • Make VAT and Duty payments
  • Set up or change an intermediary or agent
  • Keep a track of all your export and import declarations

What is Customs Declaration Service (CDS)?
According to the government statement, the new CDS system will provide a “more secure and stable platform that has the capacity and capability to grow in line with the government’s ambitious trade plans”.

Launched in 2018, it has been running in parallel with CHIEF over the last three years.

It is already used for declarations for cross-border trade with non-EU markets and for goods moved between Great Britain and Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

ChamberCustoms is one of the first customs brokers in the country who completed live declarations on the new CDS system. 

Two months ago, we completed the 1st EVER CDS export entry in the UK.  Over the last 12 months we have been working closely with HMRC testing the new system and giving the feedback, so we are fully prepared for all changes.

What Should I Do?
As the first step of the transition to CDS all importers and exporters must register for use of the new system on the government website. You can do it by following the link below, it will take you no longer than 10 minutes:

At this current time, most customs brokers will still be completing the majority of entries on CHIEF until further notice, however, by completing the changeover process now, it allows an easier transition over to CDS before the CHIEF system used for Imports is disabled by HMRC in September.

It is our objective to move all our importing customers over to the new CDS system by August 2022 so we are ahead of the curve before CHIEF is switched off for imports. 

As always, we are here to support all businesses.  If you have any concerns about your customs clearances or any other international trade question, please give us a call: 0114 201 8888 or send us the email:

Yulia Briscoe:  International Trade Facilitator.

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