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NAO welcomes progress on customs declaration service

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The National Audit Office (NAO) is encouraged by HMRC’s progress, since it last reported in July 2017, on contingency plans for handling customs declarations in the event that the new customs declaration service (CDS) is not fully in place by January 2019 as planned. By the end of July 2018, HMRC intends to have demonstrated the capacity of the existing CHIEF system to function as a contingency option.

The NAO recognises in its report (see that HMRC has accelerated work on contingency plans in the event of ‘no deal’ in March 2019, which should ensure the system has the capacity to handle customs declarations no matter what the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU.

HMRC still plans to launch the CDS in August, but this version will not have full functionality and further releases will be necessary in November and December.

New CDS programme dates are as follows:

  • August 2018: CDS goes live with 44% of full functionality in place;
  • November 2018: release of remaining import functions;
  • December 2018: release of all export functions; and
  • January 2019: HMRC aims to complete the migration of traders to CDS.

However, it may not be possible to complete migration by January 2019, with export functionality not released until December, giving traders who export goods only one month to complete the process.

The report notes that 150,000 traders currently make customs declarations and will need to move to the CDS from the existing system.

HMRC estimates a minimum of 145,000 businesses currently trading within the EU might need to make customs declarations for the first time after the UK leaves the customs union.

Issue: 1406
Categories: News , Indirect taxes , VAT