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UK HMRC delays projects on Brexit customs fears

  • EU VAT
  • 13 May 2018 | Richard Asquith

UK HMRC delays projects on Brexit customs fears

The UK’s tax authorities, HMRC, has delayed 39 of its scheduled 267 ongoing efficiency programmes to ensure it can be ready for Brexit on 29 March 2019.

Brexit customs IT upgrades sideline efficiency projects

HMRC requested the delays to help ensure its new customs declaration services (CDS) would be Brexit-ready for a January 2019 launch. In particular, ensuring it can cope with the forecast expansion in the number of import declarations required as the UK falls outside of the EU Customs Union. Brexit is expected to grow the number of additional customs declaration filings from 150million to 255million items per annum. The project has already consumed an additional £260m in Brexit planning funding.

CDS will replace the current 25-year-old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service. It will process declarations of goods entering and leaving the UK ports and airports, and calculate duties and taxes.

Projects being delayed following an HM Treasury consultation include:

  • Simple tax assessments and dynamic coding
  • Tax credit simplifications
  • Digitising payments of Inheritance Tax; and
  • PAYE settlements.

So far, HMRC’s flagship Making Tax Digital (MTD) project remains on track for its 1 April 2019 launch. MTD will require 2.3 million businesses to record and file their VAT returns digitally for the first time. Its launch date, two days after Brexit, and ambitious scale, mean it will remain at risk.


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He is part of the European leadership team which this year won International Tax Review's Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.