Supplementary Declarations for imports

You must submit Supplementary Declarations when you're importing so HM Revenue and Customs can work out how much duty you owe.


Supplementary Declarations (SDs) are an essential part of the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP). SDs are electronic messages sent to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. They’re used to declare fiscal and statistical information for consignments under either the Simplified Declaration Procedure or the Entry in Declarant’s Records (EIDR).

You submit your SDs once goods have been imported. The SDs are used to calculate the duty and taxes you owe and track levels of international trade. Using CFSP minimises the time and paperwork needed to import goods into the UK.

Submitting SDs is mandatory for most CFSP imports. It can help importers manage cashflow more effectively as SDs can be completed closer to when payment for goods is received.

Simplified Frontier Declarations, Supplementary Declarations and Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

Most products imported from non-EU countries are eligible for Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSPs). This is a streamlined process for clearing imported goods, and covers:

  • authorisation
  • removal and release
  • reporting and auditing

SDs play a key part in CFSPs, and along with Simplified Frontier Declarations (SFDs) are the mechanisms for reporting under the CFSP.

The process

You must enter a SFD via CHIEF to allow imported goods through the frontier.

You must complete and submit a SD within a set deadline once the goods have either entered a customs procedure at the frontier, or when they’re removed from a temporary storage premises or Customs Warehouse and a customs procedure is declared.

In most cases the set deadline is the fourth working day of the month following the date of acceptance of the SFD. You must submit SDs for excise goods in line with excise reporting periods.

You can submit SFDs and SDs directly as an authorised importer, or agents can do so on your behalf.

You can only use SFDs and SDs for this purpose if you’re authorised to use CFSP.

Authorised CFSP users must meet a range of fiscal, regulatory, accounting, and management conditions and criteria. These are explained in section 14 of Notice 760.

Use form C&E 48 to apply for a new authorisation to use simplified procedures.

There are certain goods you can’t import under CFSP and controlled goods that can’t be imported under CFSP EIDR. Goods outside the scope of CFSP are detailed in Notice 760.

You’ll need to enter your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, or register for EORI, as part of your application.

Submitting SDs

You need to submit your SDs via CHIEF to use CFSP to declare goods.

When to submit your SDs

SDs must be submitted by the end of the fourth working day of the month following the date of acceptance of the SFD. Or if later, the date of defined key movements of the goods.

You can find out about the deadlines for sending SDs to CHIEF in Notice 760, and the different deadlines that apply to excise goods and reporting periods.

Processing SDs

SDs can be submitted individually or in batches. How you do this, and when the best time is for you to do it is dependent on your goods’ movement and the customs processes they’re in after they have passed the frontier using the SFD.

If you’re submitting SDs for goods under the Simplified Declaration Procedure or EIDR, you must submit a Supplementary Declaration Import (SDI). If you’re submitting SDs for goods coming out of a customs warehouse under the EIDR, you must submit a Supplementary Declaration Warehouse (SDW).

SDs can be submitted at any time between the acceptance of the SFD and the deadline, though you should leave some time ahead of the deadline to ensure the SD is accepted before the deadline passes.


Once your SD has been accepted, you’ll receive electronic confirmation. This will also show the amount of duty and taxes that you owe. This acceptance message is called a Customs Response Message.

Final Supplementary Declarations (FSDs)

Final Supplementary Declarations (FSDs) must also be submitted regularly. FSDs show the number of SDIs and SDWs submitted and/or due in the reporting period.

If you’re using standard customs reporting periods, these must also be submitted by the fourth working day of the month following the reporting period.

Information needed to submit Supplementary Declarations

SDs need similar information to a normal Single Administrative Document (SAD). However, for your Simplified Declarations Procedure you also need to state the date and time the SFD was accepted.

For the EIDR you need to enter the date and time the entry was made in the EIDR record to release the goods and enter this information on the SD.

Classification and the Tariff

The Tariff is the single source for all the classification you need when you’re completing your SDs.

The SD is what allows HMRC to calculate the duty and taxes payable. You have to classify your goods to complete the SD, just as you would if you were entering a full SAD declaration at the frontier.

Because you’re importing goods from outside the EU, you’ll need to use the 10-digit commodity codes.

You’ll also need to use the customs procedure codes to identify the nature and movement of the goods to ensure the correct duties and taxes are applied.

Managing Supplementary Declarations

SDs can be submitted directly by authorised importers themselves, or by agents or freight forwarders on the importer’s behalf. You must be aware of the relevant responsibilities if you use third parties to submit declarations for your goods.

If you submit your own declarations, it’s referred to as self-representation, and you’ll be responsible for all filing and payment of customs duty and tax.

If you use an agent or a freight forwarder, you must know if they’re submitting your declarations under direct or indirect representation:

  • direct representation means that you, as the importer, are still liable for any duty and taxes owed to customs
  • indirect representation means that you and the agent, or freight forwarder, are jointly liable for any duty and taxes owed

If you use a third party purely to process declarations, such as a computer service bureau, they’re usually working under direct representation which means you’re fully liable.


You don’t need to complete an individual SD for every transaction.

Instead you can use aggregation to combine SDs containing the same header and item level data into a single customs declaration. This reduces the number of SDs you would otherwise have to create.

For more information on how to reduce SD completion, go to Notice 760 or read the CFSP Information Papers.

Managing problems with SDs

If you have problems with SDs, such as errors and omissions or late submissions, it’s essential that they’re corrected as soon as possible.

If you realise you’ve made an error within 24 hours of submission, you may be able to cancel or amend the SD via CHIEF. If it’s later than that, you must contact the HMRC CFSP National Assurance Team (CNAT) via email at

You must also tell CNAT immediately if you can’t submit your SD in time to meet the deadline.

Forms and online resources for Supplementary Declarations

CFSPs are all carried out electronically.

You must be authorised by HMRC to use CFSP. Use application form C&E48 for CFSP authorisation.

Using CFSP will mean using CHIEF to file all the required declarations. You need to be sure that your systems are compatible with CHIEF. If you expect to process a large number of declarations and wish to use your own software systems, you need to understand the detailed technical requirements of the data required.

Published 2 August 2012
Last updated 5 April 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updates made to reflect changes resulting from the introduction of the Union Customs Code.
  2. Fixing references to specialist guides
  3. duplicate links removed from further information
  4. First published.