HMRC: Still on track to launch new UK Customs system in time for Brexit

UK Customs (HMRC) has said that its new declaration system will be ready for March when the UK leaves the European Union.
HMRC is in the process of replacing its nearly 25 year old CHIEF declaration system with the Customs Declarations Service (CDS).
The plan is to deploy CDS alongside a scaled CHIEF service, meaning the UK will have a functioning customs system capable of managing any potential volume of declarations after March 2019.
Export functionality – the final stage of implementation – is expected to be available from March, although it had initially planned for this development to be available from January.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “The CDS will help the UK meet our future trade ambitions by providing state of the art customs processes.
“Once CDS is fully implemented, traders will be able to take advantage of an enhanced system providing improved trade facilitation. Traders will also benefit from having access to more of their information in one place.
“HMRC aims to be one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world.”
This comes as recent reports have suggested that trade testing facilities that should have been made available in July have still not been deployed and that the March 2019 target launch date is no longer attainable.
In a customer circular, Norman Global Logistics said: “In a recent meeting with freight software providers HMRC acknowledged that ‘not everyone will be off CHIEF by the end of March’ and ‘imports will last on CHIEF as long as exports’, which means that declarations will continue to be submitted to CHIEF well beyond the original target deadline of March 2019.
“There is no suggestion that CDS problems will lead to paralysis of the UK’s international trade, but there is increased potential for problems, which may well result in delays and disruption.”
The logistics firm understood that changes to imports will probably take place in the second quarter of 2019 while exports will be in either the fourth quarter of 2019 or the first quarter of 2020.
The UK began developing the CDS system before the country voted in favour of leaving the European Union as it looked to align systems with the Union Customs Code.
The need has grown for a faster and more agile system capable of handling more lines of data with the UK due to leave the EU in March next year.
The government has undertaken extensive work to prepare for a no deal which has been well underway for almost two years and HMRC has plans in place to ensure the border continues to operate after the UK leaves the EU.  
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