Last reviewed 6 December 2019

Dealing with customs issues can be daunting for businesses that are not used to dealing with them. There will be many businesses that previously did not have to deal with customs matters but once the UK leaves the EU will now become immersed in customs intricacies. HMRC has been issuing guidance regarding sources of information and help. This article provides indicators to this guidance.

Customs Declaration System (CDS)

HMRC has introduced the CDS; this is an IBM system that also operates in the Netherlands. This is replacing the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Currently both systems are operational whilst CDS is gradually introduced. Currently, imports are being dealt with and exports will be added in the near future. There are different versions of the UK Trade Tariff volume 3 for CHIEF and CDS. This volume is used for forms, codes and procedures to use when importing or exporting goods. The link for volume three of the tariff is at:

HMRC has given guidance of how to use the new CDS at:

HMRC has also published a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators that can help submit customs declarations:

Simplified Procedures

As many businesses will be new to customs procedures HMRC has introduced Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) to simplify the process for importing goods from the EU by delaying the declaration and payment of import duties and VAT. 30,000 businesses had registered for TSP, but HMRC has decided to register all 95,000 VAT registered businesses to ensure their readiness for such imports.

HMRC guidance gives a six-stage process for getting ready to import from the EU following Brexit. These are:

  1. Ensure the business has an EORI number that starts with GB;

  2. Deciding who will make import declarations;

  3. Apply to make importing easier and setting up a duty deferment account;

  4. Identify the rate of tax and duty that will need to be paid on the import;

  5. Identifying what needs to be done for the type of goods imported; and

  6. Obtaining help and support.

    Links to each of these steps are given at:

More information on the TSP is given at:

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)

There are two versions of CFSP. The first is the Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP). This is used to release imported goods to most customs procedures. This is frequently used when importing perishable goods. The Entry in the Declarant’s record (EIDR) (formerly known as the (Local Clearance Procedure (LCP)) is used to move goods into storage and later releasing the goods to a customs procedure (such as customs warehousing, Inward Processing (IP), Outward Processing Relief (OPR), Free Zones (FZ), temporary admission (TA) or end use relief).

HMRC has issued a public notice (Notice 760) that details how CFSP works (the procedures, eligibility, and security and guarantee requirements):

These simplified procedures are useful for facilitate entries. HMRC has recently published a list of Simplified Procedure codes that are excluded for use with the Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP) and the Entry in Declarants Records (EIDR) simplified procedures:

HMRC has published contact lists of providers that support CFSP: