VAT News

Do you import goods from outside the EU? New Tariff introduced by HMRC.


If you currently use the UK Trade Tariff to make customs declarations for imports, you should be aware of changes that are being introduced by HMRC.

HMRC is phasing in the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) from August 2018 to replace the current CHIEF system so, in theory, these changes will only apply to you and your business if you currently use the CHIEF system to declare imports. HMRC intend for all import declarations to be made via CDS “from early 2019”.

Guidance on these changes can be found, and in particular the following explanation is quite useful:

If a trader imports or exports goods outside the EU, they or their agent will be using CHIEF to:

  • process declarations for goods entering and leaving the UK or EU through ports and airports
  • calculate and pay the correct duty and taxes
  • complete customs information electronically

Traders will still be able to do these things on CDS, but there will be differences. To use CDS you will need a Government Gateway user ID and password.

CDS will have new and existing services in one place. For example, traders will be able to:

  • view previous import and export data on pre-defined reports
  • check the tariff
  • apply for new authorisations and simplifications
  • check their duty deferment statement
  • find online help, including self-service tools, guides and checklists

To ensure declarations align with the World Customs Organisation Kyoto Convention, currently being in place in the UK through the UCC, the following additional information will be required:

  • declarations will require completion using data elements, split into 8 data groups, rather than box number
  • an audit trail of previous document IDs (MUCR, DUCR and MRN)
  • additional party types, such as the buyer and seller
  • possible additional commercial references or tracking numbers
  • levelling – change between ‘Header’ and ‘Item’ for some data items

The guidance also provides information on how to complete import declarations under the CDS and what documentation is required to evidence this.

HMRC expects most importers to use the CDS from November 2018, so we are advising clients to speak to their software provider at the earliest convenience to consider whether developments are necessary to ensure the software is compatible. If you have any questions or concerns as to how these changes may affect you or your business, please contact a member of the Centurion VAT team on 01633 415390 or


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