Apply to use simplified declarations for imports


Last updated 30 August 2023

You should check if you need to declare goods you bring into or take out of the UK before you make a simplified declaration.

Arrangements for movements from Ireland and in some cases Northern Ireland to Great Britain will change from 31 January 2024. This will include specific changes for food and feed businesses. You can find more information about new requirements in the Border Target Operating Model. You should continue to use this guidance for now. It will be updated in due course.

When you make an import declaration, you may be able to make a simplified declaration when your goods arrive at a UK port or airport.

You need an authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures.

You can enter the goods to free circulation and special procedures:

  • inward processing
  • outward processing
  • authorised use
  • temporary admission
  • customs warehousing

Simplified declarations cannot be used if goods are entered into a special procedure using authorisation by declaration.

During migration to the Customs Declaration Service, a Simplified Frontier Declaration can be made on CHIEF and the Supplementary Declaration can be made on the Customs Declaration Service.

If a Supplementary Declaration is made to the Customs Declaration Service, the system will accept the CHIEF entry number against ‘YSDE’ in Data Element 2/1.

The Final Supplementary Declaration has to be entered to the same system that the Supplementary Declaration was entered.

Bringing goods that are not controlled into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

You may be able to declare your goods by entering them in your records without getting authorisation in advance, and make supplementary declarations up to 175 days later, if you:

  • bring goods from free circulation in Ireland (including goods that started their movement in Northern Ireland) into free circulation in Great Britain
  • bring goods that need to be declared from Northern Ireland (including goods that started their movement in Ireland) into free circulation in Great Britain

Find out more about declaring goods in your records without authorisation.

If you brought goods into Great Britain from the EU in 2021

If you brought goods into Great Britain from the EU between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021, you must contact HMRC if both:

  • you chose to delay making a declaration for those goods
  • you have not yet made a supplementary declaration for those goods

You must tell HMRC about late declarations as soon as possible. If you voluntarily tell HMRC about declarations not submitted on time, they can help you get it right in future.

Aggregation of supplementary declarations

You can combine data on supplementary declarations if each item has the same supplier, recipient and commodity code. This will allow you to make less supplementary declarations and is particularly useful when removing goods with identical data from a customs warehouse.

You can choose as part of your authorisation to aggregate items across a single day or a maximum of 10 days.

Find out how to make an import supplementary declaration using aggregation.

Use the simplified declaration

To use the simplified declaration you’ll need to:

  1. Check if the goods can be entered onto a simplified frontier declaration.

  2. Submit a simplified frontier declaration.

  3. Submit a supplementary declaration.

  4. Submit a final supplementary declaration.

Entry in the declarant’s records

To use entry into the declarant’s records you’ll need to:

  1. Check if the goods can be entered into your own records.

  2. Clear your goods into free circulation by entering their details in your own records.

  3. Submit a supplementary declaration.

  4. Submit a final supplementary declaration.

Third-party representatives applying for authorisation

You may wish to act on behalf of your clients.

You’ll need to decide if you wish to apply as either an authorised indirect representative or an authorised direct representative.

For clients who are not established in the UK, indirect representation must be used. If you’ll be acting as an indirect representative, you will not be able to use your own simplified procedure authorisation when making declarations to any special procedure authorisations held by your client.

As an authorised direct representative you’ll only be able to act as a direct representative for goods imported into Great Britain and your client must be established in the UK.

What you’ll need

Before you import goods using simplified declarations, you’ll need:

Getting a duty deferment account

You must have a duty deferment account in place before we can authorise you for simplified procedures, however you can still apply before you have one by stating ‘pending’ next to ‘duty deferment account’ on your application form.

An authorised direct representative or authorised indirect representative may use a client’s deferment for payment, with their client’s permission.

Who can apply

To become authorised you need to:

  • be established in the UK
  • have a good customs compliance record, including VAT returns and duty deferment account payments
  • have no record of serious criminal offences related to your business activities
  • keep records of all declarations made for 4 years after the submission date and make this available to customs on request
  • provide and maintain written procedures

Your compliance record will be based on the last 3 years before you apply. During that period you should not have committed a serious infringement or repeated infringements of customs rules. If you’ve been established for less than 3 years, then your compliance will be judged on the records and information available, including your involvement in previous businesses.

Using someone to make declarations for you

Applying for authorisation yourself

You may wish to apply for the authorisation yourself but use a representative (direct representative) to make the simplified declarations on your behalf. You will need to provide details on the application of any direct representatives who will be responsible for submitting your supplementary declarations. If someone has made declarations on your behalf and holds records, these must be made available on request from HMRC.

Authorisations held by third-party representatives

You can get someone else who is authorised for simplified declarations to make them for you.

Responsibility for customs debt

Who will be responsible for VAT and customs duty payments depends on whether they will be acting directly or indirectly.

If someone has made declarations on your behalf and holds records, these records must be available at your premises.

How to apply

To apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations, you need to complete form C&E48.

You must also provide:

  • written procedures
  • list of Customs Procedure Codes and Commodity Codes
  • client list (where you are applying to be either or both an authorised direct representative or an authorised indirect representative)

If your information changes after you’ve applied

HMRC may need to contact you after you apply. This could be to request additional information or to organise a site visit.

If any of your contact details change (for example, your address or telephone number) you must let HMRC know by email or by writing to the address on the acknowledgement letter they sent you.

HMRC may delay or refuse your application if you do not provide all the information they need to complete it.

You should also write to HMRC if there has been a change to your business which may affect your authorisation, such as:

  • changing your trading name
  • being taken over by another business