020 8429 9245 Contact Us

Business Tips

What is an EC Sales List (ESL)?

When your taxable turnover exceeds the £81,000 threshold, it becomes compulsory to register for VAT in the UK. Those companies whose turnover does not exceed this threshold can voluntarily register for VAT.


As a VAT registered business, if you decide to supply goods and services to VAT-registered businesses in other European Union (EU) countries, you will then be obliged to inform HMRC of these supplies. This is so that HMRC are able to tell if your consumers are correctly accounting for VAT on the intra-EU sales.

All this information will be filed to HMRC in an EC Sales List which will show the following:

  • Details of each of your customers in the EU,
  • The GBP value of these supplies,
  • The relevant country code to which these supplies have gone to.

[This only applies to your sales and not your imports].

You will be required to complete an EC Sales List if:

  • You filled in box 8 of your VAT return.
  • Supplied goods to a VAT registered business in another EU country.
  • Sold goods to a VAT registered customer in another EU country without actually handling the goods. This is known as triangulation.
  • Provided a credit note for goods to a VAT registered customer in another EU country.
  • Supplied services to a VAT registered EU business where the place of supply is in the customer’s country and this supply is subject to the reverse charge in that country.

Although it is possible to file an EC Sales List by either paper or online, it is encouraged that businesses file their VAT returns online as this will reduce time and trouble and also provides an additional seven days to file your ESL (filing online requires you to file within 21 days from the end of the reporting period whereas paper ESLs are required within 14 days).

If you would like more information regarding intra-EU VAT and how Wisteria can help complete your EC Sales List, then please contact our specialist VAT team on 020 8429 9245 or email info@wisteria.co.uk.