Introduction to Intrastat

Supplementary Declarations


The exemption threshold for:

  • arrivals is currently £1.5 million
  • dispatches is currently £250,000

The rules for submitting Supplementary Declarations (SDs)

The threshold applies on a calendar year basis, that is, January to December. Once you’ve exceeded the threshold you must continue to submit SDs until the end of the calendar year.

These provisions apply separately to arrivals and dispatches. If your business exceeds the threshold for arrivals of goods, but not for dispatches, you only have to complete SDs for arrivals. If your dispatches (and not your arrivals) exceed the threshold, you only have to include dispatches on your SDs. If both arrivals and dispatches exceed the threshold, SDs must be submitted for both.

Once you’ve established that you’ve exceeded the threshold for arrivals or dispatches you must contact the Intrastat Enquiries Team, you can email them at:, stating the month in which you exceeded the threshold and whether it was for arrivals, dispatches, or both. HMRC will confirm the start date and advise you of any special arrangements.

At the end of each year your obligation can change. This will depend on whether or not your EU trade for the calendar year just ending has exceeded the threshold set for the following year. If it has exceeded this threshold you must supply SDs throughout the following calendar year.

For example:

  • the arrivals threshold for 2014 is set at £1.2 million
  • a business exceeds the threshold in October 2014 and starts submitting arrivals SDs from 1 October 2014
  • the arrivals threshold for 2015 increases to £1.5 million
  • the businesses trade is above the new arrivals threshold set for 2015 at the end of December 2014
  • therefore the business must continue to submit arrivals SDs throughout 2015

Any change in the threshold, (usually announced towards the end of the year), does not affect your obligation to continue submitting SDs for the current year. So, if the value of your EU trade in any calendar year falls below the threshold, you must continue to supply SDs to the end of that calendar year.

If you’re not required to provide SDs at the start of the year, you must continue to monitor your trade. If, at the end of a particular month, the cumulative value of your EU trade from 1 January for either arrivals or dispatches exceeds the threshold, you must submit SDs for the rest of the calendar year. This will include the month in which you reach the threshold.

For example, a business whose cumulative total of arrivals during 2015 exceeds £1.5 million in April would need to complete arrival SDs from April to December 2015.

These rules apply equally to businesses whoseEU trade expands to exceed the threshold, to those who start to undertake EU trade for the first time and to those who are newly registered for VAT.

It’s your responsibility to monitor your EU trade to determine when you have to submit Supplementary Declarations. HMRC will also be monitoring the value of your EU trade and will write to you from time to time to check that your records are correct.

In assessing the value of your trade you must not include any Excise Duty payable.

When calculating if you’ve exceeded the Intrastat threshold, remember that the value of goods involved in processing, moving between the UK and EU member states, and the value of goods supplied to or received from private individuals, is included in EU trade totals.

When a VAT registered business is sold to a new owner the obligation to submit an SD might change, (typically where a company changes ownership), unless the person running the business remains the same after the sale as before. This is because the obligation to provide information is oriented around the particular person who concluded a relevant contract for the delivery or dispatch of goods. The SD requirement cuts in where the value of such contracts in a given 12 month period exceeds the threshold for the time being in force. So, where businesses are sold and a new owner takes on the running of the business, they’ll only have an obligation to submit an SD if they’ve exceeded the threshold in their own right.

If you have no EU trade during a particular period the law does not require you to submit a ‘nil’ return. However, HMRC encourage you to submit ‘nil’ returns because this prevents unnecessary queries.

Delivery terms information

If your trade (either arrivals or dispatches) exceeds the delivery terms threshold you must provide additional delivery terms information on your SDs.

The delivery terms threshold for both arrivals and dispatches is currently £24 million.

If you exceed the threshold for arrivals (of goods), but not for dispatches, delivery terms must be provided for arrivals only.

If you exceed the threshold for the dispatch (of goods), but not for arrivals, delivery terms must be provided for dispatches only.

Unlike the exemption threshold, if you reach this second threshold during the calendar year, you do not have to start submitting delivery terms data until 1 January of the next calendar year and only then if your arrivals and, or dispatches remain above the new threshold set for the following year.

If you fail to submit SDs or they’re inaccurate

You could be liable to penalties if your SDs are persistently late, missing, inaccurate, incomplete or where only part of a month’s EU trade is declared. HMRC can provide help on the completion of the Intrastat forms if you’re experiencing difficulties.

The penalty regime is a criminal one and could result in proceedings in a magistrate’s court. This could lead to a maximum fine of £2,500 being imposed for each offence.

However, there could be the opportunity to ‘compound’ any proceedings which involves the offer of an administrative fine in lieu of any Court proceedings.

You must pay any administrative fines electronically by Bacs or CHAPs, using

Bank Account No: 12000903
Sort Code: 08 32 00

Use IP followed by your VAT number as the reference (for example, IP 123 4567 89). If this method poses any difficulty, email:

Payment of a compound penalty does not absolve you from your legal obligation to submit the SDs for the periods covered by the penalty.