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CDS - General information and FAQ

CDS Workarounds

Export Air Inventory Linking

As well as a number of ‘workarounds’ and known errors published by HMRC regarding different CDS declaration scenarios (see below), there are a few specific things to look out for as you migrate your air inventory linked exports to CDS.

Cancellation of pre-lodged declarations

Unlike with CHIEF exports, if a CDS export declaration is cancelled and that declaration included the MUCR (or was subsequently associated to a MUCR), then the DUCR is not automatically disassociated from the MUCR on cancellation.

Note that Sequoia will now automatically send an electronic disassociation message when the cancellation response for a pre-lodged CDS export declaration is received.

Re-use of DUCRs

If a CDS export declaration is cancelled, CDS ‘remembers’ the cancelled DUCR.

If subsequently a CHIEF declaration is submitted to replace the cancelled CDS declaration, it is important to note that the same DUCR must not be used, as this causes issues during the inventory linking process.

As in this scenario Sequoia will re-use the DUCR (based on the EORI and job reference) in the replacement declaration, you will have to manually change the DUCR – by using a different trader reference or adding a suffix to the DUCR.

It is also not sufficient to add a DUCR part number to the original DUCR – see below.

DUCR Part Numbers

Whilst CDS supports the declaration of DUCR part numbers in DE 2/1 – using a previous document type of ‘DCS’ – these are only intended to link a single frontier declaration to one or more supplementary declarations. They do not work as a means of identifying separate shipments at the frontier. You cannot therefore have two or more declarations with the same DUCR (but different part numbers) moving independently for export.

Issues on Arrival at the Frontier

There is an intermittent issue with CDS inventory linking (ILE) whereby occasionally response messages sent to sheds/loaders, following arrival of goods, are transmitted out of sequence. When this happens, it can mean the status of the export goods being set to ‘awaiting clearance’ rather than ‘permitted to progress’.

You are therefore advised to check your records once goods are delivered to the frontier.

If Sequoia is showing all declarations against an export shipment as having P2P (permission to progress) after you have delivered the goods to the frontier, but the Airline/shed is advising you that the MUCR in question does not have P2P, please refer them to guidance from HMRC, advising them to re-arrive the goods/re-transmit their arrival message for the MUCR.

HMRC Export Declarant Guidance

HMRC has issued guidance for export declarants using CDS, which you can find below.

HMRC have also issued specific guidance documents, as follows:

Guidance on re-routing of goods from a GVMS location to an inventory-linked location
Guidance on re-routing of goods from inventory-linked DEPs to GVMS locations
Guidance on submitting CDS exports pre-lodged declarations for goods exiting via an IVL where GVMS is also used for exports
Workaround for DUCR Level Arrivals Generating Error Code 15
Workaround for the lack of auto-disassociation of rejected CDS DUCR from a MUCR
MI issues guidance
CGU and DPO MI Guidance
CDS Authorisation validation

HMRC Workarounds

HMRC has developed a Consolidated CDS Workaround Document, which you can find attached. This document aims to provide a consolidated list of all known workarounds applicable to CDS, derived from both the Known Differences document, which this asset has now supplanted, as well as entries from the Known Error Log which currently have workarounds. Where possible, estimated resolution dates have also been included, in order that the user knows for how long each workaround will be applicable.

FAQs and General Guidance for completing a declaration on CDS

As we move over to sending declaration through CDS, we're collating some of the issues and questions that have been encountered so far. If you have an issue or question that is not answered below then please contact our helpdesk for support. This guide will continue to be updated regularly.

HMRC have prepared an FAQ document which may contain answers to your questions (the list below is more specific to Sequoia).

Question or Issue Data Element SAD box Answer
Sequoia shows SAD box numbers on the declaration editors - can this be changed to show the CDS data element numbers instead? N/A N/A Release 6.02 of Sequoia allows the user to change the declaration editors to show either SAD box numbers or data elements.
Please refer to this guide.
Can I submit both import and export CDS declarations in Sequoia ? N/A N/A Release 5.33 of Sequoia introduced support for export declarations.
However, access to this functionality is being controlled in co-ordination with HMRC and the functionality is not automatically enabled when you upgrade.
There are restrictions imposed by HMRC as some functionality is not yet supported on the CDS platform.
Click this link for more information about the restrictions and how to enable non-inventory linked CDS export declarations.

Release 5.25 of Sequoia introduced the ability to send export declarations to the TDR (test) system.
Can I submit a declaration direct to HMRC? N/A N/A All inventory-linked declarations should be submitted via the relevant CSP however any non-inventory linked declaration can be submitted direct to the CDS system. Please refer to the following guide.
Where can I find my declarations ? N/A N/A All your CDS declarations are accessible via the "Find Declaration" functionality. The "Choose what to search for" options have been extended to include the most useful CDS data elements.
Due mainly to the difference in data structures between CHIEF and CDS declarations, Sequoia does not have "live lists" (ie, the lists in the Customs module) for CDS declarations.
My pre-arrival declaration has received errors after 30 days, can I amend or cancel the declaration? N/A N/A No, import pre-arrival declarations need to be 'arrived' within 30 days of receiving the 'lodged' status.
If the declaration has not been arrived within the 30 days, HMRC send a rejection message containing the error code CDS12046 - Process Error: Goods Arrival Notification was not received within 30 days of the pre-lodged declaration.
At this point, the declaration is effectively invalidated in the CDS system and will not allow an amendment or a cancellation request to be made. If the goods are still going to be imported, a new declaration should be submitted (you can make a copy of the old declaration if required).
A future release of Sequoia will handle this specific error code and update the declaration status to 'Cancelled'.
Why can't I see details of the HMRC queries in Sequoia ? N/A N/A When a declaration is queried by HMRC, Sequoia receives a query notification message (known as a DMSQRY). This query message only contains generic text, shown below, and HMRC have stated that they cannot include the specific details of the query in the DMSQRY notification message.

“Urgent: Your Declaration or Goods are being queried. Customs authorities have raised a query, or they have a further query for you. You must sign in to view and act on the query message each time in order for your declaration to progress.
Step 1. Search online for ‘Upload documents and get messages for the Customs Declaration Service’ on the GOV.UK website.
Step 2. Sign in using the Government Gateway account that is linked to your EORI number.
Step 3. Select the View messages option.”

There is no interface available with the Government Gateway system to allow Sequoia to display the specific reasons for the query.
Can I submit inventory linked test declarations ? N/A N/A No, the CDS TDR environment does not support inventory linked declarations.
Sequoia will alert you and subsequently remove any inventory link details (Z - MCR header level Previous Document [40]) from test declarations as they are sent.
Deferred declarations are being accepted even though I have not included the DPO Authorisation Holder or C506 document. N/A N/A This question was asked of HMRC and we received the following response:

CDS validation checks are being added incrementally so although the system has accepted the declaration without C505 and C506 being completed as required by the CDS Tariff, this is a gap which will be addressed in due course. Declarations should be completed as instructed in the CDS Tariff regardless of any current gaps in the system validation. The only exception to this is in regard to workarounds advised by HMRC.
The C21 declaration is missing some fields that I need to declare Multiple Multiple For the time being, please use the Standard (Full Import Declaration) editor for COJ, COK, IMJ and IMK declarations.
CDS works differently from CHIEF in that SAD box [01] identifies the declaration type, rather than a specific code (e.g. IFD, SFD etc.).
How can I convert my test declaration to a live, inventory linked, declaration ? N/A N/A Please see the following guide.
How can I amend a declaration that has already been submitted? N/A N/A As of release 5.7 of Sequoia, amendments to accepted declarations are fully supported.
If you have not yet upgraded to this release (or later), you will need to copy the data to a new declaration and cancel the accepted one. Please follow this walk-through.
My Simplified declaration requires Border Transport Mode to be declared 7/4 25 As of release 5.7 of Sequoia, the Border Transport Mode control is available on the Simplified Declaration editor.
If you have not yet upgraded to this release (or later), please use the Standard (Full Import Declaration) editor for IMC and/or IMF declarations. CDS works differently from CHIEF in that SAD box [01] identifies the declaration type, rather than a specific code (e.g. IFD, SFD etc.).
What can I enter in Additional Information? 2/2 44 This will be 5 alphanumeric characters, e.g. AB123. See Appendix 4 - Additional information (AI) statement codes for CDS for information on which codes require a description to be entered and what the description should be (see the 'Details to be entered on the declaration' column).

ASM Town Hall Event - 20th July 2022

This event was an overview of how CDS is integrated into Sequoia.

The event covered:

  • What has changed (and what hasn't) in Sequoia, as a result of CDS.

  • A look at CDS declarations in Sequoia.

    • Layout, reports, functionality (file upload, error visibility, revenue visibility, reports)

    • The language of CDS - declaration types, data elements, declaration categories

  • Access to the CDS test environment [TDR] and to CHIEF declarations

  • Automating declarations - CRM, worksheets, API, events

  • What's not there yet in Sequoia

  • How to go live.

Click on the image below to view the video recorded during the event.

ASM and HMRC Town Hall event - 18th May 2022

We work closely with HMRC to help you to migrate to CDS.

Together we hosted an overview event on 18 May 2022, with both morning and afternoon sessions. This covered:

  • The phased withdrawal of CHIEF
  • Key steps you need to take to get ready
  • How CDS works in Sequoia
  • Additional support available from HMRC

There was an opportunity to ask questions during the sessions, and answers will be provided as soon as they are compiled.

Click the image below for copies of the slides presented by HMRC during the event.

The questions and answers from the sessions are listed below.

Question Answer
Please make step by step for both Importers and Customs Agents how to deal with Governmental Gateway, which cross authorisations Through direct user engagement and close analysis of CDS data, we have identified other areas which we're looking to improve, to enhance the user experience when moving to CDS.

We thank you for your feedback and will take your request into consideration when developing future guidance products.

To find comprehensive guidance and resources to help businesses and agents prepare for making declarations on CDS, please visit the webpage Customs Declaration Service on the GOV.UK website.

To find step by step checklists for traders and declarants to use to help plan their move to CDS, please visit the webpage Customs Declaration Service communication pack on the GOV.UK website. This guide can also be downloaded for reference.
Is the authorisation decision number the EORI or is this something given when importer registers with CDS? The authorisation decision number refers to the specific authorisations/document codes required to declare the goods to the customs procedure concerned. It is not the EORI. The corresponding authorisation decision number must be declared in Data Element 2/3 against the document code.

To find information on Data Element 2/3, please visit the webpage Group 2: References of Messages, Document, Certificates and Authorisations Group 2: References of Messages, Document, Certificates and Authorisations .

You should use Data Element 3/39 to declare the EORI number against the appropriate authorisation type code.

To find information on the authorisation type codes, please visit the webpage Authorisation type codes for Data Element 3/39 of the Customs Declaration Service
So just to be clear do all importers and exporters need to be registered for CDS and government gateway? We will need to start informing our customers It is recommended that every importer and exporter registers for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) even if they are using a third party, such as a broker, to submit their declarations. Access to CDS for importers and exporters provides access to the CDS Financial Dashboard which allows them to view their individual financial accounting information. This dashboard will provide you with all the information related to the financial aspects of imports, e.g. methods of payment selected.

To find information on how to get access to CDS, please visit the webpage Get access to the Customs Declaration Service
Can the VAT ratings for each commodity code be downloaded as a CSV file? We need to know whether standard, zero, reduced, or S/Z can apply to a list of codes and it would be too time consuming to manually search each one. HMRC currently do not provide a document that allows traders to compare VAT ratings against commodity codes.The UK Integrated Online Tariff tool allows traders to find commodity codes for imports into or exports out of the UK, find the taxes and duties that apply to those imports and find out which certificates and licences apply to the import of your goods.

To access the UK Integrated Online Tariff tool, please visit the webpage Trade Tariff: look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates.
Looking at the CDS where would you put the Procedure code as there is no box 37 to complete? Has this been removed the input system? Boxes in CHIEF are being replaced with Data Elements (DE) in the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). While Boxes and Data Elements perform similar functions, they are not like for like. The CDS equivalent to Box 37 are DE 1/10 & 1/11.

ASM Note: In Sequoia box 37 is on the declaration items page, as it is for CHIEF declarations.
Where on the declaration does it indicate who is paying the taxes apart from on deferment, I understand that there will be cash accounts for each importer and our own but how do I instruct who is paying on the entry input? What data element and code? On CDS, the method of payment code will be recorded in Data Element (DE) 4/8. To find information on DE 4/8, please visit the webpage Group 4: Valuation Information and Taxes . For cash accounts, the EORI of the account holder will be used to indicate whose account is being used to pay. This will be recorded in Data Element (DE) 8/3. To find information on DE 8/3, please visit the webpage Group 8: Other Data Elements
How does one declare the bill of lading (N705) instead of the invoice (N935), as is accepted by the CHIEF system using previous documents? I am getting a CDS12056 error unless I declare the invoice. When declaring Valuation Method (VM) 1, it is mandatory to declare the invoice on which the declared value is based. There is currently a work-around in place which means that only VM1 can be used. If your intention was to use a valuation method other than method 1 then for the duration of the work-around, N935 can be declared with the identity of Bill of Lading.

To find information on declaring N705 in Data Element (DE) 2/3, please view the document 'Data Element 2/3 Documents and Other Reference Codes (Union) (Appendix 5A)' on the webpage 'Data Element 2/3: Documents and Other Reference Codes (Union) of the Customs Declaration Service' on the GOV.UK website. (

BIFA Town Hall event - Questions and answers

BIFA recently held a CDS town hall event with HMRC. The questions and answers from those sessions are listed below.

Question Answer
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
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
Is HMRC definitely ready to switch over (given IPAFF's etc have/will be delayed) 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.
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? 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.
As an importer, do I need a guarantee or am I automatically allocated one and where do I find this? 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.
Is it correct that if you are using a deferment account number, you also need to enter the corresponding guarantee number too? 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
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? 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.
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. 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.
Is HMRC making importers aware that they must set up standing authorities and give permissions so that agents can use their cash accounts? HMRC guidance on GOV.UK related to using the Cash Accounts and authorising access to agents can be found here.
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? 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 here.

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 will receive two statements to confirm charges due. Please be assured, we will not charge twice for the same liability.
Can an entry be put through as cash and then altered to a deferment account? 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 financial factsheet.
Must I apply for a general guarantee? 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 Using your general guarantee account
Does the importer need to be registered on CDS to use the TDR test system? 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
TDR - Will it return the CDS error messages? Yes, TDR will return CDS error messages if the trader receives a rejected declaration.
The changes in Data elements - Is there any visuals of comparisons (Rather than going through / back and forth from the appendixes?) 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 Key differences between CHIEF and CDS.

Additionally, for further guidance on what each Data Element represents in CDS, please refer to CDS Declaration Completion Instructions for Imports and its 'Data Groups' section to have pages detailing each Element and what they should include.
Will TDR continue to be available after CHIEF is turned off? Can information be copied over from training to live? 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.

ASM Note: In Sequoia you can copy test (TDR) declarations to live ones. You can also save them as templates for later use.
The examples are useful but there is not a 'bog standard' free circulation declaration example - where can we get this? This feedback has been passed on to the guidance team and that we will provide an update if this example becomes available.

ASM Note: The Sequoia Resource Centre has an example of a basic home use declaration, where the contents are described in detail.
For IEPN on CHIEF, on CDS using CDS Ref: CDSI+12 digits making payments? right? No need for the customer to register for CDS? 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.
If we make an entry in late March - Would we need to redo these in CDS as CHIEF completely closing down? 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).
If a deferment account runs out in a month and it isn't topped up does the entry clear on the 1st automatically? 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.