MPs criticise HMRC efforts over Brexit customs IT systems

Public Accounts Committee alarmed over lack of information on business preparations

Brexit

MPs have castigated HMRC over more delays in its attempts to replace its customs systems in readiness for Brexit. MPs were also worried over the tax collector's approach to preparing traders for a 'no deal' situation.

HMRC was already planning the replacement of its customs IT system, known as CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) with a new system called CDS (Customs Declaration System). The plans were underway before the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee, wrote to Jon Thompson, permanent secretary at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to say that she was disappointed over the "slip in the timing" of the programme. She was also "concerned" that over the last two months little progress has been made.

She added in the letter that HMRC has not yet identified 100,000 small traders who would be affected by a new post-Brexit customs system. The number of businesses declaring customs to HMRC at the border is expected to increase from 150,000 to 295,000. While the number of declarations could grow from 55m to 255m after Brexit.

Hillier asked in the letter why tax official had not told businesses how they could prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

"I am both concerned and disappointed that nearly two months on you have made little progress. You gave us no assurance that HMRC has a plan to ensure that businesses are aware of what they will need to do," Hillier said.

"We are particularly concerned about the 100,000 small traders that HMRC can not engage directly with, as you do not know who they are."

She added that the committee was "disappointed that despite your previous and repeated assurances about the progress of the CDS there has yet again been a slip in the timing just weeks after we last took evidence on the subject".

There are concerns that failure to have systems in place prior to Brexit could lead to long delays at ports and airports in the days and weeks after Brexit.

In a media statement, HMRC said that it has "well-developed plans to ensure that there will be a functioning customs, VAT and excise system in the unlikely event of a no deal".

"We have engaged with business representative bodies who will be key partners in reaching businesses to ensure that they understand any implications for them."

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Most Popular

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021