Introduction to Intrastat

Keeping records and other Intrastat requirements


If you’re legally required to submit SDs you must:

  • keep a copy of every SD you make or which is made on your behalf
  • keep copies of all papers and documents which have been used for the purpose of compiling SDs
  • produce any of the above records to a HMRC visiting officer when required to do so
  • permit the officer to make copies or extracts or remove records for a reasonable period

You must keep your records for 6 years. This is in line with VAT requirements, and applies equally to information stored by electronic means.

HMRC’s visiting officers have the right to enter the premises of such businesses, or the premises of anyone compiling SDs on their behalf, at any reasonable time in order to carry out checks.

Computer records

You can keep your records on a computer provided they can be readily converted into a satisfactory legible form and made available to HMRC on request. If you do keep your records on a computer, you must make sure that HMRC can have access to it and can check its operation and the information stored.

HMRC can ask for help from you or anyone else having charge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of the computer or its software.

If a computer bureau is employed, you’re responsible for arranging for the bureau to make your records available when HMRC wish to see them. Normally this will be at your principal place of business.

However you decide to keep your records, you must be able to make them readily available to HMRC’s officers when they ask to see them.

The Intrastat visit

Periodic visits will be made to assure systems used to complete SDs and check the accuracy of your Intrastat declarations. The visit will be made to your premises, not to your agent. You’ll need to make sure that your agent sends you copies of declarations for your files.

With the agreement of the Intrastat officer, a visit can exceptionally be made to an agent’s premises where this is considered appropriate. These arrangements are entirely at the discretion of the officer and do not relieve the business of any of the responsibilities of the Intrastat system.

During the visit the officer will:

  • want to talk with you or the person who is in charge of your intra-EU trade, to get a complete picture of your activities and to have your system of record keeping explained
  • want to inspect your records of the SD information sent to HMRC, this will apply whether you’ve supplied the declarations yourself or have employed an agent to send the information on your behalf
  • ask you to explain any differences between the total of the values shown on your SD and the EU-trade totals shown on your VAT Return
  • need to be satisfied that declarations are complete and accurate
  • want to know what steps you take to make sure that your declarations are correct, and that they’re submitted on time
  • check the build-up of declarations, and ask you to produce the documentation to support selected items within declarations, such documentation might include orders, delivery notes, goods invoices, freight invoices or payment advices
  • select from documents and check that they’ve been correctly included in declarations
  • make cross-checks between the 2 sets of records, if your Intrastat and normal purchase or sales records are separate
  • want to examine your computer systems and computer data in order to perform checks