CHIEF facilitates the movement of international goods in to and out of the UK, making it a business critical system for the taxman.
It also allows importers, exporters and forwarders to meet Customs obligations with minimal manual effort.
However, the technology that powers CHIEF is aging and must be adapted to meet changing EU requirements for international trade processes.
It is currently managed by tech outsourcing firm Capgemini after it took over from BT in 2010 as part of its “Aspire” contract with HMRC.
A prior information notice that explained the tax organisation is seeking to update CHIEF was released in October 2013 in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and the HMRC has been discussing what the new system needs to look like since.
The notice claims that the body is expecting to start inviting bids from summer this year, but HMRC have noted the redesign process is likely to take some time, even after a supplier has been chosen.
It says this is because care needs to be taken to build an effective service that also meets government digital strategy standards – therefore, a 2017 date is expected for the new service to be available.
HMRC says it is hoping to add a number of new functions to the service, including an increase in automated processes, while maintaining high levels of quality.