Customs Training and IT Grants Scheme

IT Solutions


Available to existing SME intermediaries

IT improvement funding is available to existing customs intermediaries who currently complete customs declarations on behalf of importers and exporters, have 250 employees or less and annual turnover of €50 million or less.

The IT improvement grant will provide funding toward purchasing the first year licence of a packaged software solution to increase the automation or productivity of your business in completing customs declarations.

The funding can also be used:

  • To buy hardware that’s needed for the software to run

  • To install and configure the software and hardware

  • For related software training.

We cannot fund bespoke software or unrelated hardware and networking costs.

According to the European Commission, SMEs are the enterprises that meet the following definition of staff headcount and either the turnover or balance sheet total definitions:

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Am I eligible?



An establishment or branch in the UK, at the moment of payment of the grant:

i.        UK based individuals, micro businesses & SMEs: who act as customs intermediaries and which have an establishment or branch in the UK, at the moment of payment of the grant.

ii.        A customs intermediary is defined as: an enterprise in which the nature of its trade facilitates other businesses to use import and/or export procedures and/or completes customs declarations on behalf of that business. This includes facilitating trade by colleagues within the same organisation (e.g. an intermediaries section of a large haulage firm) or providing services to an external enterprise.

iii.   The tax affairs of applicants, be they individuals in the case of sole traders or corporate entities, must be up to date and they (including their directors or officers in the case of corporate entities) must not be convicted tax avoiders or evaders.    




Grant eligible costs:

i.      The grant is explicitly not to be provided towards existing costs of current activities. The expenditure must be directly related to increasing capacity or productivity within the customs brokerage function relative to preparations regarding the UK leaving the EU.

ii.      Commercial off the shelf (COTS) customs software designed or utilised to increase productivity in completing customs declarations.

iii.      COTS definition: packaged solutions which either run unmodified or can be adapted to satisfy the needs of the business rather than the commissioning of custom-made, or bespoke, solutions.

iv.      Set up costs: to include installation of hardware and COTS products, configuration, training and first year license costs.

v.      Network costs are specifically excluded.

vi.       Costs relating purely to IT expenditure to facilitate the transition from interfacing with the CHIEF system to the new CDS system are specifically excluded.

vii.      Hardware: IT devices to run the software on, and related hardware, for example cabling.

viii.      All expenditure must be at normal commercial rates.

ix.     All claims are subject to the requirement that the beneficiary can confirm this would not increase the amount of de-minimis state aid they have received in the last 3 years, to an amount which is in excess of €200,000. De-minimis aid is defined in the EU Commissions Regulation No 1407/2013.


How do I apply?


Register online

The easiest and preferred method is by registering online. This method sees you through the following steps:

1) Registering via the Registration tab. Once you have completed this step you will receive a confirmation email that we have received your registration email

2) Once we have verified your registration information, you will be invited to our online applicant portal. You will receive an email outlining your username and password

3) Log on to your applicant account in the portal and begin the application phase (Guidance document available in Registration tab)



Paper form

There is a paper form that applicants can choose to fill in, which can be completed and scanned to, along with all the relevant supporting documentation.

The paper version of the registration and application forms can be found in the Registration tab.