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HMRC internal manual

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

Introduction to Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP): basic principles of CFSP


All traders wishing to operate CFSP must be authorised. The trader will be issued with an authorisation letter (C&E58) which will specify the legislation under which they are authorised, the type of procedures they are authorised to use (eg SDP warehousing, LCP removals etc) and the conditions which apply to the operation of those procedures. The authorisation will also specify the means by which the declarations must be submitted, the documentation that must be retained by the trader and the means by which an audit trail will be established. It will also specify the operational procedures that the trader must follow. The trader must hold separate authorisations for associated procedures to be used with CFSP, eg Customs Warehousing, Inward Processing, etc

Authorisation criteria

All traders who apply for CFSP will undergo stringent pre-authorisation checks to ensure that they have a good compliance history, are financially solvent and are capable of operating CFSP within departmental guidelines. See CFSP13000 - CFSP18000 for details.


Traders must have a computer system capable of communicating with the department or employ the services of a third party. These messaging links must be thoroughly tested by both the trader and departmental staff before any authorisation is granted to ensure that the software meets our requirements. It is recommended that traders use their own live data to test these communication links as it will highlight any anomalies within their own systems more effectively than the use of the CFSP test-kit on its own.

Traders must submit statistical and fiscal details of the goods to CHIEF electronically using a SD within a defined timescale. A Final Supplementary Declaration (FSD) is required at the end of each reporting period, stating the number of SDs due, the number actually submitted successfully and any late declarations from previous periods. Nil returns are required.


It is a requirement of using CFSP that traders must allow Customs to undertake audits of their commercial systems and records. In order to gain authorisation to use CFSP they must therefore have a robust audit trail that will enable departmental staff to perform post-clearance checks, verifications and full system audits. The trader must maintain fully documented procedures that accurately describe the operation of the business.

Security for duty

As CFSP allows the goods to be cleared from customs control prior to the payment of any duties, traders wishing to operate CFSP must provide full security for the duties due. In the case of third party operators they must secure the goods being released in their own right and on behalf of their clients. This may be through the use of their clients deferment account.

Accelerated removal/release

Traders may remove goods from the frontier using either SDP or EIDR.

Clearance is achieved either via the submission of a SFD at the frontier under SDP or by making an entry in their commercial records by EIDR. This initial declaration (in either format) contains the minimum amount of information required to effect release of the goods. The full statistical and fiscal information is then provided on an electronic SD at a later date.

The use of this two stage declaration procedure enables the trader to gain release of their goods without being required to provide a full entry and supporting documentation to Customs at the time/point of entry. This means that formalities at the frontier are kept to a minimum thereby allowing accelerated release of the goods.