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CDS success is vital says tax firm – updated

[ August 16, 2018   //   ]

Implementation of HMRC’s Customs Declaration Service (CDS) programme is absolutely vital, warns Brad Ashton, customs and international trade partner at audit and tax firm RSM following the launch of the first software release for the new system.

He said: ‘It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this project for HMRC – and for the nation’s importers and exporters.”

Ashton added that while CDS was planned well before the referendum, the UK’s imminent exit from the EU has made successful implementation “absolutely vital”.

He added: “Depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, an additional 145,000 companies who trade solely with the EU might be required to make customs declarations for the first time starting in March next year.

“Post Brexit, the number of customs declarations is expected to increase from around 55 million currently to around 255 million each year.”

He concluded: “‘It’s important to note that this is only a partial launch with further functionality earmarked for rollout in November and December. Timing is therefore very tight indeed, and there’s a real risk of there being too little time to resolve any operational or system issues that may occur before the final roll-out.

“Now is the time for importers and exporters to have discussions with their freight service providers with regards to transitioning to the CDS.”

CDS is due replace the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief) system over three phases between August 2018 and early 2019.

A pilot group of importers will shortly making some types of supplementary declarations on CDS and the plan is for the majority of importers to start using the new system from November, once their own software provider or in-house IT team has completed development of CDS-compatible software. Exporters will follow after this. Chief will continue to operate in parallel while the transition of traders takes place.

Kevin Franklin, HMRC’s Customs Transformation Programme Director, said: “The first release of the new Customs Declaration Service is a major milestone. Going live on time is a great step to fully introducing the new system and is testament to the hard work of both HMRC staff and our partners.”


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