A Guide to Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

October 5, 2022
A Guide to Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures enable you to reduce the cost and administration of customs declarations. They enable:

  • Improved cash flow;
  • Reduced reporting;
  • Improved clearance times;
  • Greater control over tax points and accounting periods;
  • Flexible timing for electronic declarations.

But what are they?

clearBorder is here to help. As experts in import and export trading procedures, we’re well-placed to clarify the topic and give you all the insight you need.

What are Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)?

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures, or CFSP, is a system of electronically declaring goods imported from a third country. As of January 1 2021, EU member states are included within this grouping and therefore require third country declarations.

You should also look out for their new name: Simplified Customs Declaration Procedures (SCDP). It’s unhelpful but, don’t worry – they’re both the same. Here, we’ll call them CFSP for clarity.

CFSP are customs procedures that are intended to accelerate the release of imported goods by simplifying the border clearance procedure.

Under CFSP, you submit a minimum amount of data (a simplified declaration) to HMRC at the border. This releases the goods into the UK.

HMRC still needs the full declaration information so, the ‘data gap’ between a full declaration and your simplified declaration will need to be bridged. This happens at a later date, in the form of a supplementary declaration. You must get supplementary declarations into HMRC by the 4th working day of the month following your simplified declaration.

You are by no means obliged to make use of CFSP; it is not mandatory. However, it does present a number of business benefits that render it an attractive option, including:

  • Faster release of your imported third country goods
  • Quicker clearance of authorisation checks (e.g. anti-smuggling checks)
  • Cash flow benefits, because duty and import VAT don’t need to be paid until the submission of the supplementary declaration
  • CFSP authorisation can be used in conjunction with normal entry and warehouse procedures, to suit your own business needs
  • Increased operational efficiency, as the whole process can be performed electronically

The Various Types of CFSP

There are two types of CFSP authorisation: Simplified Declaration Procedure, and Entry in the Declarant’s Records.

Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP)

SDP allows you to enter your imported goods into the customs procedure without needing to provide the complete customs declaration at the point of release. You must have the necessary authorisation to make a simplified frontier declaration. If you do make a simplified frontier declaration, HMRC requires you to provide the missing information in a supplementary declaration by the end of the month.

SDP permits you to release goods to a range of customs procedures, including:

  • Free circulation
  • Customs warehousing
  • Inward processing
  • Outward processing
  • End-use
  • Temporary admission
  • Export
  • Re-export

Forgetting or otherwise neglecting to make a simplified frontier declaration is one of a few common mistakes often made by importers.

Entry in the Declarant’s Records (EIDR)

EIDR means you can enter your goods to customs without a complete declaration. This used to be known as Local Clearance Procedure (LCP). Under this system, you declare goods by entering them into your own records. It works in a similar way to SDP, except there are some procedures it cannot be used to enter goods into, including:

  • Temporary storage
  • Onward Supply Relief
  • Transit
  • Any procedure requiring an INF form
  • Low-value import procedures
  • Pre-departure declarations

Like SDP, EIDR is a two-step declaration process, with the initial declaration to be followed by a final supplementary declaration within one month. For goods entered into a customs warehouse, supplementary declarations are not needed, although you must still have a way of collecting trade statistics.

What Kinds of Goods Does CFSP Prohibit?

Most imported third-country goods are eligible for a simplified declaration. However, it’s always good practice to check beforehand whether you need to declare goods, as this may affect their CFSP authorisation.

There are some controlled and other goods, which are not permissible under CFSP. These include:

  • Hydrocarbon oils
  • ATA carnet goods
  • Goods removed from a customs warehouse that are exported
  • Goods imported from or originating in North Korea
  • Non-commercial goods subject to C3 declarations

Furthermore, some CPCs (Customs Procedures Codes) are subject to exceptions and also not eligible for CFSP.

How to Apply

There are a number of criteria that you need to fulfil in order to be granted CFSP authorisation. You must:

  • Be established in the UK
  • Have a good record of VAT returns, duty deferment account payments, and an otherwise positive history of customs compliance
  • Not have a record of criminal activity related to your business
  • Keep records of all declarations made for 4 years after the submission date
  • Maintain written procedures

If the above points are fulfilled for at least 3 years before the date you intend to apply, you will need to complete the C&E48 form. HMRC also requires you to provide written procedures, a list of customs procedure/commodity codes, and possibly also a client list.

Unparalleled Border Expertise

Getting to grips with the ins and outs of simplified declarations and the relevant customs procedures can be a challenge. At clearBorder, we deliver on-demand, specialist advice to make your import/export operations as stress-free as possible.

Our team is on hand to help your business thrive by trading across invisible borders with our expert advice and online training products suitable for your entire team. On top of that, we’re here to provide tailored and bespoke consultancy services to really take your trading operations from strength to strength.

If you have a question about how CFSP may impact your imports, or you’d like to discuss other ways to improve the return on your international trade, get in touch with clearBorder today.