The British Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has reiterated its concerns that a suitable system for processing customs will not be in place in time to deal with the repercussions following Brexit.
In its report on HM Revenue and Customs' performance for 2017-18, the PAC said that although it realizes the organization is facing significant challenges, it fears its Customs Declaration Service (CDS) IT system will not be ready and that not enough progress is being made.
The comments come after HMRC admitted that the export functionality of CDS will not be ready until March 2019 "at the earliest", despite the first phase of the system that will replace CHIEF having already gone live in August.
This clash with the Brexit deadline has led to fresh fears for companies involved with importing and exporting that they may face long delays at ports or excessive levels of new paperwork.
"The recently announced further delay ... and the need for further development of HMRC's systems so that by March 2019 they can handle postponed accounting for import VAT in the event of no deal, underline the risks," the PAC report said.
It added that it will be seeking further clarity from HMRC on exactly what measures are in place to protect businesses against chaos in customs control.
HMRC is currently upgrading CHIEF as a contingency plan and will run this in tandem with CDS until the transition to the latter has fully taken place.
It is thought that the number of companies needing to declare customs to HMRC at the UK border will rise from 150,000 to 295,000 after Britain's exit from the EU, while declarations could spike to 255 million.
All companies that import and export goods from and to the UK and are currently using CHIEF need to get ready for CDS.
MIC has been certified in the UK for the electronic data exchange with CHIEF since 1999 and will be ready on time for the upcoming new CDS. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need expert advice on how your business might need to prepare.