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HMRC internal manual

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures

Processing the application: traders' records

Article 163 of the Union Customs Code allows traders to retain supporting documents instead of presenting them at the frontier. However, officers must be assured before granting the authorisation that all supporting documents (ie licences, preference certificates, surveillance documents, CEDs etc) relating to the release of goods to free circulation or another customs procedures will be held by the trader and made available to Customs on request, prior to the release of the goods.

Please ensure that the supporting documents referred to in Art 163(2) of the Code have been provided to HMRC prior to release of the goods.

In addition UCC 167(1) and IA Art 147 concerns documents which must be provided with the supplementary declaration

These records must be documented and enable officers to verify that the particulars included on any CFSP declarations are complete, accurate and timely. The trader’s records should enable HMRC officers to be satisfied that:

  • the trader has complied with the terms of their authorisation
  • all goods released from the frontier using CFSP have been accurately declared on a SD
  • the trader has complied with any import prohibitions or restrictions
  • the trader has complied with all provisions relating to the release of goods to free circulation or other customs procedure and
  • any relevant border admissibility controls have been properly adhered to.
  • The special procedures records in according to DA Art 178 are adhered to.

The data held within these records must therefore be fully auditable. The trader’s system must provide a cross-reference (via the DUCR) from the supporting documentation to the SFDs and SDs.

The commercial records should be held at the trader’s registered premises, as specified in their authorisation. If the trader wishes to maintain these records at an alternative location, details must be provided on their C&E48 application form. The records must be presented/made available to Customs on request.

These records should include:


order books and purchase invoices and purchase ledgers money transfers, bank letters of credit or credit notes
delivery and despatch notes bank statements, records of payments made and received, cash books
stock lists bills of lading or airway bills
sales books and sales invoices import entry forms
sales ledgers, private ledgers and nominal ledgers Contracts
insurance and freight documentation over/under shipment reports
technical specifications management forecasts
computer logs fax records
procedure manuals and seat instructions licences, preference certificates, documentary proof of origin or other supporting evidence.


Pre-authorisation checks on the trader’s records
Transfer of information

Pre-authorisation checks on the trader’s records

The applicant will have indicated that they have documented procedures in place by completing Section 3 of the C&E48 application form. The officer may wish to satisfy themselves that this statement is accurate before booking the pre-authorisation visit.

The documented procedures and records must be maintained in accordance with the criteria in the AEO Guidelines found in the AEO Public Folder in Outlook (All Public Folders - CITEX - AEO). The level of detail that we expect the CFSP trader to maintain is in the completion notes that accompany the C&E48 form. These documented procedures should be examined during the pre-authorisation visit. Walkthroughs and testing should be carried out to ensure procedures followed are as documented.

Authorising officers must discuss and agree methods for maintaining the supporting records prior to issuing the CFSP authorisation. The officer must document within the visiting officers report which records will be maintained, for how long, where they will be kept and by whom. It is especially important to agree the maintenance of supporting records with the trader when a Direct Representative (DR) is being employed. The officer must ensure that answers to the following questions are documented in the trader’s procedures and within the visiting officer’s report prior to authorising the trader:

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  • What records and supporting documentation will the trader be required to maintain?
  • How will these records/documents, entries be cross-referenced?
  • How and where will the copy entries, CUSRES, supporting documents and records be maintained/made available to Customs? (This should be an easily accessible place for audit purposes)
  • How much notice will an officer need to give the trader to gain access to these records?
  • How much time will the trader be allowed to present or surrender any necessary supporting documents, copy entries or ‘CUSRES’ to:


    • National Clearance Hub or
    • Defra -for surrender of conformity certificates (SDP only)
    • CFSP UoE for un-used, exhausted or out of date paper licences EIDR only)
    • HMRC for assurance purposes

These may need to be agreed on an individual basis for the type of document.

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  • Who will be responsible for maintaining these records (for storage, completion, cross-referencing, etc)?
  • How will they control the records for accuracy, completeness, timeliness, auditability and data integrity (ie cannot be later amended/ deleted)?
  • What management checks will be carried out by the company?
  • What access will an assurance officer have and how easy will it be to search within the traders system.
  • How will they write-off any documents connected to the declarations (eg annotating preference documents with DUCR)
  • In what format will data be retained:


    • as original transmissions/responses
    • as downloaded data
    • as hard copy documents (Note: preference documents must be kept as original hard copies)
    • as electronic copies (ie burnt onto CD, microfiche, etc)?


  • How will the trader provide systems assurance that no data has been deleted, amended or ‘lost’?
  • How long will the trader be required to maintain supporting documents/records/declarations?

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Transfer of information

  • How will the trader transfer/transmit their information to Customs eg via DTI, email etc?
  • How will the accuracy of the information be assured? (eg automatic download from stock system, management checks, etc)?
  • How will information be cross-referenced or linked within the trader’s system, via DUCR, automatic systems link or manual records?
  • If information will be submitted via a third party DR:
    1. how will the information be provided to the third party
    2. how will the authorised trader ensure the information is passed on:
    • in its entirety
    • timely
    • accurately
    • securely
    1. what information will be provided to the third party to allow the completion of the records/declarations
    2. how will the third party return information to the authorised trader
    3. what information will be returned to the authorised trader
    4. how will any errors be dealt with:
    • by the third party autonomously (this is not recommended)
    • by the third party in liaison with the authorised trader
    • by the authorised trader?

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  • How will the trader ensure that all declarations are finalised by the required deadlines?
  • How will the trader ensure that all records are completed on time (For example, prior notification of removals, request to release, EIDR  records, licences, etc)?
  • How will they assure the accuracy of standing data? What procedures will they have in place for checking/updating anti-dumping duties, commodity codes, currency rate changes (where appropriate) etc?
  • How will records, supporting documentation and declarations be cross-referenced?
  • Will their cross-referencing allow full auditability?
  • Will the cross referencing allow officers to perform completeness checks (ie all frontier releases accounted for on SDs):
  • How will they assure the completeness of SFDs or entry in records to:


    • invoices
    • transit documents (declarations and end of transit notifications)
    • TS records
    • stock accounts (Warehousing, FZ, etc)
    • notifications of arrival/release and
    • SDs


  • How will they ensure the completeness of SDs to:


    • frontier releases
    • EIDR records
    • stock accounts
    • notifications of arrival/release
    • licences, preference certificates and other supporting documentations’ exhaustion and
    • FSDs


  • What are the trader’s procedures for monitoring/correcting any discrepancies?
  • What management controls will be implemented, how frequently, by whom?
  • How will managers complete control checks on their own staff or any representatives?
  • How have they provided systems (computerised or manual) assurance that data cannot be altered once the SD is finalised?
  • What assurance checks will be made by the trader on cancellation/amendments of entries eg what records will be kept of any cancellations/amendments and who will monitor to ensure they were legitimate? Who will ensure that replacement declarations were sent where necessary?
  • What systems checks can be made by IT staff on:


    • data integrity
    • data accuracy
    • data completeness
    • data archiving
    • systems back-up
    • systems security
    • cancellations
    • amendments

If the authorising officer fails to examine these points and to ensure that the information has been considered and correctly documented by the trader, problems may arise at a later date.