Monday 8 October 2012

EC Sales List - Reporting EU Sales to HMRC

If your business is registered for VAT in the UK and you sell goods or services to VAT registered customers in other EU countries you are required to submit an EC sales list (known as ECSL or form VAT 101) to HMRC.

Why HMRC needs EC Sales Lists

The information you give on the ESL is used by the tax authorities in other EU countries. They use it to check that the businesses you've supplied your goods and/or services to are dealing with the VAT correctly.

The details are also used to build up anonymous statistics showing how goods are traded in the EU.

The same thing happens if your business receives goods from a supplier in another EU country. Your supplier also completes a similar sales list showing the value of the goods and/or services they've supplied to you.

EC Sales Lists - the basics

All VAT-registered businesses in the UK that supply goods to a VAT-registered customer in another EU country must provide HMRC with information about the supplies.

There is no threshold for ESLs - you must list every supply, no matter how small.
  • You submit the details on what's known as an ESL.
  • This contains details of:
  • Your customer
  • The relevant country code
  • The value of the goods and/or services

An EC Sales Declaration


The ECSL is generally submitted quarterly, but businesses that export goods totalling more than £35,000 (excluding VAT) per quarter must complete an ECSL every month.

When you completes box 8 on their VAT return because you have sold goods to a VAT registered business in another EU country, the Tax Office will automatically send you an ECSL form to complete.

If you move your own goods to a branch or subsidiary of your business in another EU country, this movement is treated the same as if to a third party and will also have to be entered on the ECSL for that period.

The paper ECSL form must be submitted within 14 days of the end of the reporting period. You can also complete the ECSL online, and have 21 days from the end of the period to submit the form. Note that this deadline is well before the deadline for your regular quarterly VAT return


If your business only sells services to other EU countries you can continue to submit a quarterly ECSL, but they can opt to submit monthly ECSL forms.  You will not have entered this sale in box 8 of the VAT return so there is no reminder that you have to complete an ECSL.

If your client moves their own goods to a branch or subsidiary of their business in another EU country, they may also have to complete an ECSL for that period.

Ann Hughes


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