A Guide to Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)

November 13, 2023

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Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) is a streamlined customs process that can greatly benefit businesses involved in international trade. If you’re looking to simplify your customs declarations, this article is here to provide you with all the information you need!

In this guide, we’ll explore the definition of CFSP, its benefits, types of authorisation, eligible goods, and how to apply.

What are Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)?

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures, often referred to as CFSP, is a customs facilitation scheme designed to simplify and expedite the customs declaration process for businesses involved in importing and exporting goods.

In essence, CFSP allows authorised businesses to postpone the full customs declaration and payment of duties and taxes until a later date, typically at the point of release of the goods into free circulation. This means that businesses can clear their goods through customs more swiftly, enhancing the efficiency of their supply chains. It’s a valuable tool for companies seeking to streamline their customs operations and reduce administrative burdens.

What are the Types of CFSP Authorisation?

There are two main types of CFSP authorisation:

Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP): This type allows for the submission of simplified customs declarations with minimal details at the time of import. The full declaration is completed later.

Entry in Declarants’ Records (EIDR): EIDR customs authorisation allows businesses to keep their own customs records and make entries into their records instead of lodging customs declarations for certain goods.

How does CFSP work?

Designed to simplify and streamline the customs clearance process for eligible businesses engaged in international trade, here’s how CFSP works:

Eligibility and Authorisation:

To participate in CFSP, businesses must first apply for CFSP authorisation from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). There are two main types of CFSP authorisation they can apply for; Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP) and Entry in Declarants’ Records (EIDR).

Goods Identification:

Once authorised, businesses must accurately identify their eligible goods. Each consignment of goods must be assigned a unique CFSP entry number, and all necessary information related to the goods must be collected and maintained.

Import or Export:

When goods arrive in the UK (imports) or are being exported, businesses using CFSP can take advantage of the simplified customs procedures.

Import: If importing goods, the business submits a simplified customs declaration to HMRC. This declaration includes basic information about the goods, their value, and origin. This allows customs to clear the goods more quickly, and they can be released into free circulation without immediate payment of import duties and taxes.

Export: When exporting goods, businesses can use CFSP to streamline the export declaration process. This simplifies the documentation and facilitates quicker clearance of goods for export.

Deferred Payment:

One of the key benefits of CFSP is the ability to defer the payment of import duties, taxes, and customs charges. Instead of paying these fees upfront at the time of import, businesses can postpone payment until a later date, typically at the point when the goods are released into free circulation.

Record Keeping:

CFSP-authorised businesses must maintain detailed records of all their customs activities, including CFSP entries and supporting documentation. These records are subject to audit and verification by HMRC.

Regular Reporting:

Depending on the type of CFSP authorisation (SDP or EIDR), businesses must submit regular reports to HMRC to ensure compliance with customs regulations and to reconcile their declarations.

Compliance and Audits:

HMRC may conduct audits and compliance checks to ensure that businesses using CFSP are meeting all regulatory requirements and accurately reporting their customs activities.

Payment of Duties and Taxes:

Import duties, taxes, and customs charges deferred under CFSP must be paid to HMRC within the specified timeframe. Failure to make these payments on time can result in penalties.

In summary, CFSP simplifies customs procedures for eligible businesses by allowing them to submit simplified declarations, defer payment of import duties and taxes, and streamline the customs clearance process. It’s crucial for businesses to maintain accurate records, meet reporting requirements, and ensure compliance with customs regulations to benefit fully from CFSP. Additionally, consulting with customs experts or customs authorities can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the CFSP process.

Customs declaration form invoice freight

What Goods are Eligible for CFSP?

CFSP can be used for a wide range of goods, including commercial goods, industrial machinery, and consumer products. While CFSP can be used for a wide range of goods, it’s important to note that there are variations and exceptions depending on specific circumstances and regulations.

Electronics: Including consumer electronics like smartphones, laptops, and televisions, as well as industrial electronics and components.

Clothing and Apparel: Both fashion items and workwear can benefit from CFSP.

Machinery and Equipment: This category covers a broad range of industrial and manufacturing equipment, from CNC machines to construction machinery.

Automotive Parts: Components such as engines, tires, and brakes, as well as aftermarket accessories, can be eligible for CFSP.

Pharmaceuticals: Medications, medical supplies, and equipment used in healthcare facilities.

Vehicles: Including cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Food and Beverages: Many food products, including non-perishable items, may be eligible, but perishable goods may have specific requirements.

Chemicals: Non-hazardous chemicals and industrial chemicals used in various processes.

Furniture: Items like chairs, tables, and cabinets can benefit from CFSP.

Toys and Games: Including both children’s toys and recreational equipment.

Sporting Goods: Equipment used in sports and recreational activities, such as bicycles and sports gear.

Art and Collectibles: Paintings, sculptures, and collectable items may be eligible, but they might require additional documentation for cultural or historical significance.

Books and Printed Materials: Including books, magazines, and printed materials.

Textiles and Fabrics: Raw materials and finished textile products, including clothing, upholstery, and curtains.

Industrial Supplies: Items like fasteners, bearings, and tools used in manufacturing and construction.

Agricultural Equipment: Farm machinery and equipment, as well as certain agricultural products.

Electrical Appliances: Household appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens.

Office Supplies: Stationery, office furniture, and other office-related products.

Musical Instruments: Including pianos, guitars, and other musical equipment.

Cosmetics and Beauty Products: Personal care items and cosmetics.

This list is not exhaustive, and specific regulations and eligibility criteria may apply to individual products within these categories. Some goods may have restrictions or require special permits, licences, or documentation. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses to thoroughly research and confirm the eligibility of their specific products with HMRC or consult with customs experts.

Additionally, businesses should stay informed about changes in customs regulations and guidelines, as these may impact the eligibility of goods for CFSP. Keeping up-to-date with the latest information is essential to ensure compliance and take full advantage of CFSP benefits.

What Goods Does CFSP Prohibit?

While CFSP itself does not inherently prohibit goods, there are certain categories of goods that may be subject to restrictions, prohibitions, or additional regulatory requirements regardless of whether CFSP is used.

These restrictions and prohibitions typically align with international and national regulations for safety, security, health, and environmental reasons.

Illegal Goods: Goods that are illegal to import or export under local or international law, including counterfeit products, illegal drugs, and prohibited weapons.

Endangered Species: Items made from endangered plants or animals protected by international agreements such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Hazardous Materials: Hazardous chemicals, explosives, flammable substances, and radioactive materials may require special permits and handling procedures.

Pharmaceuticals and Medications: Some pharmaceuticals may require specific licences or approvals to ensure they meet safety and quality standards.

Tobacco and Alcohol: Import and export of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and related products may be subject to excise taxes and licensing requirements.

Agricultural Products: Certain agricultural items, including plants, seeds, and live animals, may require permits to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

Cultural and Historical Artefacts: Antiquities, cultural heritage items, and artworks may be subject to export restrictions to protect national heritage.

Precious Metals and Stones: Precious metals, gemstones, and jewellery may have strict regulations due to their high value and potential for smuggling.

Narcotics and Controlled Substances: Controlled substances, including prescription drugs and narcotics, are subject to stringent regulations.

Weapons and Firearms: Import and export of firearms and weapons are highly regulated and may require specific licences.

Human and Animal Products: Items derived from humans or animals, such as human organs, animal hides, and certain animal products, may have restrictions.

Radioactive Materials: Import and export of radioactive materials are subject to strict controls to prevent environmental contamination and health hazards.

It’s essential for businesses engaged in international trade to thoroughly research and understand the specific regulations and requirements applicable to their products. Compliance with these regulations is critical, and non-compliance can result in legal consequences, including fines, seizures, and delays in customs clearance.

How to Apply for CFSP Authorisation

Obtaining CFSP authorisation involves a formal application process. Here’s a simplified overview of the steps:

1. Register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number: If you haven’t already, you’ll need an EORI number for customs purposes.

2. Assess eligibility: Determine which type of CFSP authorisation (SDP or EIDR) suits your business needs.

3. Complete the application: Submit the required documents and information to HMRC, following their guidelines.

4. HMRC review: HMRC will assess your application and may request additional information.

5. Receive authorisation: Once approved, you’ll receive CFSP authorisation, and you can start using the procedures.

A woman in a shipping yard signing a piece of paper on a clip board

Benefits of CFSP Authorisation

CFSP authorisation offers several significant advantages for businesses:

Faster Customs Clearance: CFSP allows for simplified customs declarations, which translates to faster processing times at the border.

Cash Flow Improvement: Businesses can delay the payment of import duties and taxes, providing better control over their cash flow.

Reduced Administrative Burden: By streamlining customs processes, CFSP minimises paperwork and simplifies compliance requirements.

Greater Flexibility: Authorised traders have the flexibility to choose when and where to make their customs declarations.

Competitive Edge: Faster customs clearance can give your business a competitive edge by reducing delivery lead times.

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) offer a valuable opportunity for businesses in the UK to streamline their customs operations, save time, and improve cash flow. To enjoy the benefits of CFSP, consider applying for authorisation and consult with customs experts or relevant authorities to ensure compliance with all regulations.

If you’re ready to simplify your customs processes and want to explore CFSP further, get in touch with us today. Our experienced team is here to assist you every step of the way. Start simplifying your customs procedures today, and for all of the latest AGI news, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook!