Making an import declaration in your records


Last updated 11 January 2022

If you can use simplified procedures, you can declare your goods by entering them in your own records and sending other details to customs.

You can declare your goods in your records unless your goods are:

  • hydrocarbon oils
  • controlled goods imported at the frontier (for goods imported into Great Britain  (England, Scotland and Wales) from Ireland, there is a different list of controlled goods)
  • imported under Admission Temporaire or Temporary Admission (ATA) Carnet procedures
  • imported under authorisation by declaration
  • personal effects
  • imported under transfer of residence relief

Find out about other declarations you can make.

How to make an entry in records

You enter details of your goods into your records and need to include:

  • the commodity code
  • the customs procedure code
  • your declaration unique consignment reference - which is the main reference number that links declarations in the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system or Customs Declaration Services (CDS)
  • purchase and, if available, the sales invoice numbers
  • the date and time of entry in records - creating the tax point, which is used for working out VAT payments later
  • any temporary admission, Free Zone, warehousing or temporary storage stock account references
  • the Free Zone or warehouse approval number
  • a written description of the goods - so they are easy to identify
  • customs value
  • quantity of goods - for example, number of packages and items, net mass
  • details of licensing requirements and licence numbers
  • details of any supporting documents, including the serial numbers, where appropriate, needed before the goods can be released
  • details of the person you’re representing if you are making a declaration on behalf of someone else

The next step depends whether your goods are delivered to inventory-linked premises or premises that are not inventory-linked.

Inventory-linked premises are linked to customs by computer.

Premises that are not inventory-linked are not linked to customs by computer.

Inventory-linked premises

When you enter your goods in your records, you will also need to complete a C21 declaration form. This will allow the goods to be cleared from the port where they entered.

You must submit the form to CHIEF or CDS.

The information you provide in the form is similar to the entry made in your own records.

Controlled and restricted goods

You must enter restricted goods on your declaration as controlled. You will need to present your licence or certificate to release your goods.

You must also treat the following goods as controlled when using simplified declarations:

  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods
  • excise goods
  • unmanufactured tobacco, not stemmed or stripped
  • unmanufactured tobacco, partly or wholly stemmed or stripped
  • tobacco refuse

Find out which customs procedure codes you must use on your customs declaration.

After you’ve made an entry in your records

You’ll need to complete a supplementary declaration to CHIEF or CDS.

You must submit your supplementary declaration no later than the fourth working day following the month in which the date the goods were entered in your records.

If you have completed a C21 declaration, you must use the date that customs accept your declaration instead of the date your goods were entered in your records.

Goods imported into Great Britain from the EU

For goods imported into Great Britain from the EU between 1 January and 31 December 2021, you need to submit your supplementary declaration up to 6 months after the goods were imported.

If you’re registered for VAT you must account for the VAT in your VAT Return.

If you’re not registered for VAT, you’ll have to pay VAT when you make the supplementary declaration.