Introduction to Intrastat
What information is required in a Supplementary Declaration?
Wherever possible, Intrastat requirements align with VAT requirements. For example, the value to be declared for Intrastat is normally the invoice or contract price (exclusive of VAT), as used for VAT purposes. This allows the integration of Intrastat records with normal business VAT records, thus minimising the overall burden.
However, although Excise Duty is included on the VAT Return values, it’s not included in the value declared on the SD. Intrastat requires that you declare the value of the goods only. Therefore, if the total value of your arrivals or dispatches trade, excluding Excise Duty, is below the Intrastat threshold, you’re not required to submit Intrastat supplementary declarations.
The person who is responsible for declaring a movement of goods
The legal entity responsible for declaring the goods movement in the UK is usually the one who concluded the contract (with the exception of the freight contract) giving rise to the movement of the goods in or out.
In nearly all cases the legal entity responsible is the VAT-registered business that is able to zero-rate the supply to a business in an EU member state (for dispatches) or is liable to account for VAT on the acquisition of the goods (for arrivals). Where fiscal agents are responsible for VAT declarations, they’re also responsible for the SD.
However, in cases when a business which concluded a contract giving rise to the movement of the goods is unable to provide the data required, because of the way the goods are traded, the business which actually transfers the goods across the frontier will be responsible for making the declaration.
In certain circumstances the business who physically receives the goods (rather than the business that concluded the contract) will be in a better position to provide the declarations.
An example of this is a delivery of excise goods such as fuel oils where the excise warehouse keeper might be in a better position to provide the declaration. Even though the business that concluded the contract is legally responsible, it’s acceptable for the warehouse keeper to provide the declaration provided both parties are aware and in agreement of who will provide the declaration.
In these circumstances both parties must inform HMRC of who will be providing the declaration by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the legal entity which concluded the contract is not required to be registered for VAT in the UK (for example, the goods are within the fiscal warehousing regime), then responsibility rests with the entity which arranged for the physical dispatch of the goods, or takes physical possession of goods which have arrived in the UK (for example, a warehouse keeper).
Goods that are included
You must report goods which have moved between the UK and an EU member state by way of trade.
This includes goods:
- bought and sold
- transferred within the same legal entity
- sent for or returned after processing
- supplied as part of a contract for services
- to be installed or used in construction
- supplied free of charge
- on long term hire, loan or operational lease
- lost or destroyed, if goods dispatched from the UK are lost or destroyed in transit they must be recorded on the supplementary declarations (this does not apply to arrivals)
Goods that are excluded
There are certain circumstances where movements of goods are excluded from Intrastat and must not be included on your Intrastat declaration.
These mainly concern:
- movements 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, this applies even when there are stops or temporary storage, provided that these are for transport reasons
- certain purely temporary movements where the goods are to be returned to the UK or to an original EU member state within 2 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 an EU member state or moving within the UK to an enclave of an EU 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 supplied using the Margin Schemes for second hand goods
- 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
- the supply of machine tools that remain in the UK and are used to manufacture goods that are dispatched to the EU
5.5 Reference period
Goods must be included on the SD in either:
- the calendar month during which they arrive in, or are dispatched from the UK
- the calendar month of the VAT tax point
- you can choose which method will best allow you to meet the accuracy and timeliness requirements of the Intrastat system, but you must use the same method each month
5.6 Exchange rates
You must declare the value of goods on your SD in sterling. The exchange rate used for VAT purposes is acceptable and can be the UK selling rate published in national newspapers, banks, the period rate published by HMRC in the exchange rates for 2020: monthly guide or from the VAT helpline.
If you wish to use a rate for VAT purposes which you use for commercial purposes, you must make sure that this is acceptable to HMRC by applying in writing to:
HM Revenue and Customs
VAT Written Enquiries Team
21 Victoria Avenue
The exchange rate on the date of settling a supplier’s invoice, forward rates, or rates derived from forward rates are not acceptable as they do not represent an actual verifiable exchange rate and are purely speculative.
Goods of unknown value
Due to the manner in which certain goods are traded, a value sometimes cannot be established at the time you need to submit your Intrastat declaration. In these cases, you can email: email@example.com and HMRC might be able to authorise you to use a ‘best estimate’ of value. However, you must not use such a procedure without prior written approval.
Once you know the true value you’ll need to amend the original SD, unless the amount involved is less than the thresholds for providing amendments.
Any delay caused by processing and reconciliation of invoices within your own organisation is not a valid reason for using a ‘best estimate’.
Detailed methods of establishing a value can be found in Chapter 3 (Value of goods for customs purposes) of the Union Customs Code (Council Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 Official Journal Ref No L269), which can be downloaded from Access to European Union law.
Classify your goods
Commodity codes are used to classify goods.
HMRC produces a comprehensive list of commodity codes - referred to as the Combined Nomenclature (CN) - on the UK Trade Info website.
Help on classifying your goods can be found in Notice 600: classifying your Imports and Exports.
If, after studying the CN and seeking help from other sources such as a Trade Association or a Chamber of Commerce, you remain unsure of the classification of goods, you can request additional support by sending a request by email.
To enable HMRC to deal with your enquiry, ensure that:
- only one item is shown per email
- the request includes the following information:
- what the product is
- what it’s made of, if made of more than one material please explain the breakdown
- what it’s used for
- how the product works or functions
- how it’s presented or packaged
Some additional information is required on certain products:
- footwear: include the type (for example shoe, boot or slipper), upper material detail, outer sole material detail, heel height and the purpose for men or women
- food: include precise composition details by percentage weight of all the ingredients to 100% and the method of manufacture or process undergone (for example fresh, frozen, dried, further prepared or preserved)
- chemicals: include the CAS Number, whether the product is a liquid, powder or solid and include the percentage ingredients
- textiles: include the material composition, how it is constructed (knitted or woven) and the name of fabric
- vehicles: include the age, engine type (petrol or diesel), engine size, whether the vehicle is new or used, whether the vehicle is over 30 years old, whether it’s in its original condition, is the vehicle going to be for everyday use
A classification officer will reply by email, giving you non-legally binding classification advice based on the information you’ve supplied.
Ancillary Cost Survey
The value declared on the SD is normally that used for VAT. This value will not be on a consistent basis as the delivery terms of contracts vary greatly, ranging from ex-works to fully delivered. Factors are programmed into the HMRC system to adjust individually declared values to the standard bases of value required by EU legislation for statistical purposes.
In order to produce and update these adjustment factors, HMRC need to seek information on freight, transport and insurance costs.
To help HMRC in this, you could occasionally be asked to provide details of costs incurred for a limited number of transactions, usually for no more than 6 lines of trade.
Response to the Ancillary Cost Survey is voluntary. However, your assistance in this area will enhance the integrity of the UK intra-EU trade statistics.
Once you’ve satisfactorily completed an Ancillary Costs Survey sample form, you’ll not be asked to take part again for at least 12 months.