HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK has issued an update on the rollout of the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) and acknowledged that there is still a good deal of work to be done before it is ready for widespread use.
In a statement to developers, businesses and other service users, director of customs transformation Kevin Franklin said the first CDS release went live in August 2018 and that 'a small number' of companies are regularly using it.
However, he explained that Release 2 will be carried out in phases in order to stick to migration targets and according to feedback from delivery partners.
Supplementary declarations will be prioritised - because these are the most high-value transactions in the UK - while the most recent deployments added functionalities including excise warehousing, onward supplier relief, aggregate imports supplementary decisions and enhanced risking capability, among others.
Mr Franklin said he expects to be able to deliver the remaining core import functionality by February 2019, giving businesses the ability to make certain imports declarations; upload files securely to HMRC; download UK tariff information; carry out duty calculations covering all excise commodities; and make declarations that lodge a claim on Quota, on top of other capabilities.
However, the spokesman said this timeline means it is "unlikely" that the majority of exporters will have been migrated before April or May 2019, suggesting the timeline could clash with Brexit.
This means CDS will need to run parallel with its predecessor CHIEF after March 2019 and until HMRC announces that the latter is ceasing to function, with businesses able to choose which system to make import declarations on.
"There is more to do, but I want to reassure you of my commitment to introduce CDS in a way that minimises disruption for you and your clients," Mr Franklin concluded.
Any companies confused about matters relating to customs, import administration and similar issues may wish to consider talking to an expert at MIC Customs Solutions to discuss their operations going forward.