HMRC collects trade statistics on goods leaving and entering the UK, known as Intrastat, and also provide free online information for traders to complete their Intrastat Supplementary Declarations (SDs). The supply of services is excluded from Intrastat.
In addition to direct purchases from other European Union (EU) member states and sales to them, you should declare all intra-EU goods:
- transferred within the same legal entity
- sent for or returned after processing
- mixed supplies of goods and services
- supplied free of charge
- on long-term hire, loan or lease
- to be installed or used in construction
- lost or destroyed - if goods dispatched from the UK are lost or destroyed in transit they should be recorded on the SDs (this does not apply to arrivals)
There are certain circumstances where movements of goods are excluded:
- goods not by way of trade (for example personal goods such as travel luggage, items involved in moving house or ballast)
- goods in transit including goods which are in transit through the UK
- certain purely temporary movements where the goods are to be returned to the original EU country within two years and there is to be no change of ownership
- monetary gold
- means of payment which are legal tender and securities, including means which are payments for services such as postage, taxes, user fees
- goods moving between the UK and its territorial enclaves (for example embassies, armed forces bases) in another Member State or moving within the UK to an enclave of another Member State
- goods used as carriers of customised information, including software
- software downloaded from the internet
- commercial samples and advertising material provided free of charge
- goods sent for or returned after repair
- means of transport travelling in the course of their work, including spacecraft launchers at the time of launching
- newspapers and periodicals supplied under direct subscription
All VAT-registered businesses must enter the total value of any arrivals or dispatches, from or to other EU member states in boxes 8 and 9 of their normal VAT return.
If you are VAT-registered and supply goods and certain types of services to a VAT-registered customer in the EU, you will also need to submit their details, the country code and the value of the transaction in an EC Sales List (ESL). HMRC will send an ESL to any business completing box 8.
Who does Intrastat serve?
Information about the trade between EU member states is crucial to governments and organisations, as well as to businesses.
Trade statistics enable governments, including the UK, to monitor the health of their economies and the balance of payments. Trade figures also affect other decisions that have an impact on our daily life - eg the Bank of England's decisions regarding interest rates.
A number of UK government departments use these trade statistics to spot trends, set trade policy and find ways to help UK businesses. Outside the UK, Intrastat data is included in the trade information supplied to the European Commission, the European Central Bank and United Nations bodies such as the International Monetary Fund.
Your business can also benefit by using trade data to assess market share, look for gaps in the market and develop new markets.