HMRC is warning businesses that import goods that they only have a few weeks left to move across to the UK’s new streamlined customs system.

Import declarations must be submitted through the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) from 1 October this year when it takes over from the Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for import declarations.

HMRC is writing to all declarants and traders affected by the change to urge them to access the help available now and move to the CDS.

Businesses with customs agents should check they are ready to use the CDS, whilst those without a customs agent must set themselves up to make their own declarations using software that works with the system.

Julie Etheridge, HMRC director of programme and operational delivery for borders and trade, said: “There is only a month left until businesses must use the Customs Declaration Service for imports.

“Businesses who are still waiting to move need to start the process now or face possible disruption to their business.

“Those concerned about moving across to the Customs Declaration Service should work with a customs agent who is ready to use the system and can make declarations on their behalf.”

The CDS was launched in 2018 and will replace the 30-year-old CHIEF system, which HMRC says represents a significant upgrade by providing businesses with a more user-friendly, streamlined system with greater functionality.

This marks the first step towards the government’s vision of a single trade window, which aims to benefit businesses by reducing form-filling and offering better data use across government.

To help all businesses and agents prepare for the CDS, declarants are being contacted by HMRC by phone and email to inform them of steps they need to take.

Further information on using the CDS is available on GOV.UK, including a CDS toolkit and checklists, which break down the steps traders need to take.

Traders can also register or check they have access to the CDS there and access live customer support services for additional help.