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Frequently Asked Questions

During the Town Hall webinar on 25th April 2022, a number of questions were asked by BIFA Members. Here you can find the official responses from HMRC. Please note: This page will be updated regularly with any additional questions and answers.

Question: When a DAN account does not have enough funds to cover the costs of VAT/Duty we can currently opt to switch to KLG DAN or pay the amount by FAS. As this will stop how do HMRC expect speedy changes if the only option is for the importer to top up their deferment account

Answer: Customer can still use agents if they have been given authority to use their DDA via the CDS dashboard. There are also various other payment options in CDS including Cash Accounts which replaces FAS. Should you urgently need to make an interim payment you can do so by paying into the new CDS bank account number followed by the reference CDSD followed by your deferment account number. Your payment will be allocated to your duty deferment balance by the next working day if you used Faster Payments (online or telephone banking) or CHAPS or within 3 working days if you used Bacs. You can find information on how to top up your DDA here. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/top-up-your-duty-deferment-account-using-the-customs-declaration-service


Question: Is HMRC definitely ready to switch over (given IPAFF's etc have/will be delayed)

Answer: HMRC is definitely ready for the switch off of CHIEF and for the migration of Traders to CDS. HMRC has also been working with DEFRA and with other Government Departments and Agencies to ensure their readiness for CDS migration and to help them plan and prepare for the implementation of any contingency solutions should they be required.


Question: If an Importer registers for CDS, even if they do not create their own Entries, would be they be able to view and download any Entries they are shown as the Importer on?

Answer: An importer will be able to view their accounts in the financial dashboard if they register for CDS, even if they do not create their own entries. You will be able to access reports via email similar to MSS data on CHIEF once this functionality is rolled out in Summer 2022. We are currently working with a group of traders to develop an interim CDS reporting solution that will issue reports via email. This will be a paid for service. HMRC will continue to develop CDS reporting so traders can access their own reporting data via a self-service platform. We are working on this expansion and will announce a date when this functionality is available.


Question: As an importer,do I need a guarantee or am I automatically allocated one and where do I find this?

Answer:  There are many different types of guarantee and they need to be applied for. You can find out about customs guarantees and when you may need one here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/getting-a-customs-guarantee


Question: Is it correct that if you are using a deferment account number, you also need to enter the corresponding guarantee number too?

Answer:  You may need an individual guarantee or a customs comprehensive guarantee to enter goods into a customs special procedure and defer duty. You can check when you need to do this here. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-and-export-customs-comprehensive-guarantees-ccgs


Question: Once a customer has set up standing authority for their agent, how long does it take to become 'live' i.e. how long does an agent need to wait until they can use the DDA?

Answer: An agent should be able to use the DDA once set up as a standing authority within 24 hours. You can also check with your software provider for this.


Question: Is the DDI joined to an agent to be able to use the deferment, or once the DDI is set up, can it be passed to any 3rd party as required.

Answer: The DDI is linked to the Duty Deferment Account (DDA), as is to pay for all liabilities accrued under that DDA not the agents. The DDA owner is responsible for setting up standing authority to pass it on to any 3rd parties.


Question: Is HMRC making importers aware that they must set up standing authorities and give permissions so that agents can use their cash accounts?

Answer: HMRC guidance on GOV.UK related to using the Cash Accounts and authorising access to agents can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/use-a-cash-account-for-cds-declarations


Question: So does this mean that my customer (importer) I’m clearing goods for have their own deferment, does this mean they also have to set up a new bank instruction for CDS?

Answer: To use a duty deferment account in CDS, importers must set up a new Direct Debit Instruction. Once this is set up, they can make monthly payments to settle declarations. For guidance on how to do this, see following GOV.UK page: Set up a Direct Debit for a duty deferment account on the Customs Declaration Service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please do NOT cancel the CHIEF Direct Debit instruction as this will still be used to settle any outstanding CHIEF payments. This means that they will have two active HMRC Direct Debit instructions and two payments may be taken on the same day - one to settle CDS liabilities and one to settle CHIEF liabilities. If this happens, they’ll receive two statements to confirm charges due. Please be assured, we will not charge twice for the same liability.


Question: Can an entry be put through as cash and then altered to a deferment account?

Answer: When a declaration has been accepted, you will not be able to change the method of payment. For more information on this and any other payment methods in CDS, please refer to our Finance Factsheet: Customs Declaration Service Finance Guide (publishing.service.gov.uk)


Question: Must I apply for a general guarantee?

Answer: A general guarantee account allows you to provide multiple guarantees from the same account, rather than needing to provide separate guarantees & continue importing goods into the UK and pay the amount due later, once the amount is agreed.

For more guidance on how to use your General Guarantee Account, please refer to the following link: Using your general guarantee account - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Question: Does the importer need to be registered on CDS to use the TDR test system?

Answer: To use the TDR system, Traders need to ensure that their EORI is on CDS. We advise traders to be ready for CDS when coming onto TDR. As traders use their real data in TDR, their data needs to be CDS-ready in order to use TDR to its full capability and avoid any delays in moving from TDR to CDS. For more guidance on using TDR, please refer to: Using the Trader Dress Rehearsal service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Its also worth noting that there is no set time period for you to be in TDR before moving to CDS. As soon as you are ready to move to CDS then you can do so.


Question: TDR - Will it return the CDS error messages?

Answer: Yes, TDR will return CDS error messages if the trader receives a rejected declaration.


Question: The changes in Data elements - Is there any visuals of comparisons (Rather than going through / back and forth from the appendixes?)

Answer: We currently do not have any visuals showcasing the difference in Data Elements between CHIEF and CDS. However, for further guidance on the key differences between CHIEF and CDS, please refer to Key differences between CHIEF and the Customs Declaration Service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Additionally, for further guidance on what each Data Element represents in CDS, please refer to the following GOV UK page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cds-uk-trade-tariff-volume-3-import-declaration-completion-guide/uk-trade-tariff-cds-volume-3-import-declaration-completion-guide and its 'Data Groups' section to have pages detailing each Element and what they should include.


Question: Will TDR continue to be available after CHIEF is turned off? Can information be copied over from training to live?

Answer: TDR will continue to be available after CHIEF is switched off. There is no connection between TDR and Live service, so anything done in TDR stays only in TDR. For more guidance on using TDR, please refer to: Using the Trader Dress Rehearsal service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Question: The examples are useful but there is not a 'bog standard' free circulation declaration example - where can we get this?

Answer: This feedback has been passed on to the guidance team and that we will provide an update if this example becomes available. 


Question: For IEPN on CHIEF, on CDS using CDS Ref: CDSI+12 digits making payments? right? No need for the customer to register for CDS?

Answer: The trader would need to register for CDS unless the trader is using a CSP, in this case the trader would not need to subscribe to CDS. More information around paying for imports using CDS can be found on the link below: Pay for imports declared using the Customs Declaration Service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Question: If we make an entry in late March - Would we need to redo these in CDS as CHIEF completely closing down?

Answer: You will not have to redo declarations made in CHIEF in CDS. However, please note that after the 30th of September 2022 import declarations close on CHIEF. After the 31st March 2023 you will no longer be able to submit export declarations on CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES). 


Question: If a deferment account runs out in a month and it isn’t topped up does the entry clear on the 1st automatically

Answer: The available balance for the account is 'reset' at the start of every duty deferment period (the calendar month rather than the Customs/VAT or Excise collection periods). Any frontier declarations awaiting sufficient deferment balance effectively 'subscribe' to be notified when there is available balance and will be cleared once that becomes true. The monthly reset is then one of the key events likely to trigger those clearances.

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