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Business Tips

What is Intrastat

VAT registered businesses that supply goods and services may have to complete an EC Sales List (ESLs). Another system for collecting statistics on the trade of goods between EU member states is called Intrastat. The movement of goods between member states are called either arrivals or dispatches. The main difference between ESLs and Intrastat reporting is that the former looks at both goods and services whereas the latter solely looks at movement of goods with services being excluded.


Although Intrastat reporting is very similar to EC Sales Lists, it is important that businesses complete these accurately as most EU governments will use the data collected to monitor the health of the economy.

For the purpose of Intrastat reporting, there are certain items that should not be included. These include:

  • Commission, legal and financial services,
  • Labour,
  • Insurance, freight and/or carriage,
  • Goods bought and sold within the EU but which do not actually enter or leave the UK,
  • Maintenance costs,
  • Repairs.

Although every VAT registered business is obliged to declare certain information (through boxes 8 and 9 in the standard return. Those businesses that exceed the thresholds will have to file an Intrastat report. These thresholds are £1.2 million for arrivals and £250,000 for dispatches. For those that exceed either or both of these, further Supplementary Declarations (SDs) must also be included.

As Intrastat reporting deals with the movements of goods, for the purpose of an SD, goods should be declared if they are:

  • Bought or sold
  • Sent for process
  • Sent as part of a contract for services
  • Transferred within the same legal entity
  • To be installed or used in construction
  • On long-term hire, loan or lease
  • Supplied free of charge.

It is useful to seek the advice of VAT experts to understand whether you need to complete either the EC Sales List or Intrastat reports. Wisteria’s dedicated VAT team will be more than happy to assist you on 020 8429 9245 or email info@wisteria.co.uk.