Supplementary Declarations for Intrastat
If you are trading goods in the EU in excess of the set thresholds then you need to submit monthly supplementary declarations.
If you trade goods within the EU and the value of either your sales or purchases exceeds the thresholds for the calendar year you must provide details on a monthly basis by returning Supplementary Declarations (SDs) to the Intrastat system.
Intrastat is a monitoring system giving essential information to the government about trade between EU member states. Any VAT registered business that has Arrivals (goods acquired from suppliers in other EU member states) or Dispatches (goods supplied to customers in other EU member states) with a value above the relevant threshold has to complete and submit SDs. Thresholds are reviewed annually and may change.
The Intrastat system only covers the movement of goods - services are not included except in very specific circumstances. This guide specifically covers SDs for Intrastat. You can also find help and advice for supplying SDs for trade with non-EU countries.
The information contained in this guide is detailed. For intermediate information, see the guide on Intrastat - reporting the value and volume of intra-EU trade and for basic information see an introduction to Intrastat.
Intrastat and the role of SDs
Intrastat is a system used to keep accurate records of the UK’s trade with other EU member states.
If you’re VAT registered and trading goods with businesses or individuals in other EU member states and either your flow of Arrivals (goods acquired from within the EU) - or your flow of Dispatches (goods dispatched to other EU member states) pass either or both annual thresholds you must submit SDs for Intrastat.
If you are trading goods with countries outside the EU you may need to complete customs declarations. See the guide on using and submitting SD.
Data supplied on SDs is used to build an accurate picture of trade between EU member states. It’s used by the government to inform and improve economic policy. The data required to complete SDs is closely aligned with the information on your VAT returns - you will already be gathering much of the information required to discharge your VAT responsibilities. See the guide Intrastat - step by step process.
Your responsibilities for making SDs
You must submit SDs if the value of the goods you either bring in from or sell on to individuals or businesses in the EU exceeds the annual threshold.
The threshold is set for the calendar year. It is reviewed annually and may be subject to change. The thresholds are £1.5 million for Arrivals (goods acquired from other EU member states) and £250,000 for Dispatches (goods you send to customers in other EU member states).
You must submit SDs if the value of either your Arrivals or Dispatches exceeds the applicable threshold in the calendar year. If both your Arrivals and Dispatches exceed the thresholds, you must submit SDs for both.
It’s important to note that SDs are only required to record the movement of goods - the supply of services is excluded. SDs are required when goods over the threshold value are:
- bought and sold
- transferred between the same legal entity - such as subsidiary companies in different EU member states
- sent or returned after processing - such as components being shipped out and finished products being returned
- installed or used in construction
- on long-term hire or lease exceeding 24 months
- supplied free of charge - excluding commercial samples and promotional material
- supplied as part of a service contract - for example industrial cleaning equipment necessary to fulfil a cleaning contract in another member state
- lost or destroyed - if goods dispatched from the UK are lost or destroyed in transit they should be recorded on the supplementary declarations - this does not apply to arrivals
When calculating the value of goods for SDs you must include any related freight or insurance charges where they form part of the invoice or contract price of the goods. You must also include any goods supplied free of charge. However, you must not include the value of any excise duty that may be payable. You must also exclude any freight and insurance costs not included in the contract price. See the guide on how to complete your Intrastat SD.
Submission deadlines and threshold calculations
You must submit SDs on a monthly basis. SDs usually cover a calendar month and you must submit your SDs by the 21st of the month ie, the SDs for March must be submitted by 21 April. If you use special VAT accounting periods, your SDs can match but please refer to Notice 60 for more information.
If your level of trade in goods with other EU member states reaches the threshold you must submit SDs from the first day of the month in which the threshold is exceeded. You must continue to submit SDs until the annual value of your trade falls below the next year’s threshold - usually announced in November each year. See the guide on how to complete your Intrastat SD.
Submitting accurate and timely SDs is a legal requirement. If you persistently file your data late or provide misleading or partial information, you may be prosecuted and fined.
Information you need to complete SDs for Intrastat
To complete SDs you will need to provide specific information.
You will need your business name and address, VAT registration number and branch identifier if required. If an agent is submitting SDs on your behalf they’ll also need to supply their own matching information. You will also need your sales or purchase ledgers, invoices, and any other commercial documentation relating to the sale or purchase of goods for the month of return.
This is the calendar month - or the month most covered by the period if you’re using special VAT accounting periods. The period is the month and year (mmyy) to which the declaration refers - eg, 0112 for January 2012.
You must classify your goods using the Intrastat Classification Nomenclature (ICN) codes. See the guide on how to complete your Intrastat SD.
It’s essential that you use the right classification codes.
The value of the goods covered by the SD must be included, rounded up to the nearest pound in the same way as your VAT return. You must not include duty or service charges that may have been included on the invoice.
Nature of Transaction Codes
Special codes are used to signify what type of transaction you’re reporting. For example, a straightforward sale is signified by Nature of Transaction Code (NoTC) 10 while credit notes are denoted by using NoTC 16.
Weight or supplementary units
You must record the weight (net mass in kilograms) or a supplementary unit for each data line of goods. The required unit of measurement is defined by the commodity code. Only one measure is required.
To and from codes
On SDs for Arrivals you must use the country code indicating the member state from where the goods have come. On the SD for Dispatches you must use the code for the member state to which you have sent the goods.
If the value of the goods you acquire or supply exceeds £16 million annually you will also have to record the delivery terms on your SDs. See the guide on how to complete your Intrastat SD.
Classifying your goods for SDs
When reporting your Arrivals and Dispatches on SDs you must use the ICN - a set of commodity codes that specifies the type of goods in which you’re trading.
Commodity codes comprise of 8 digits, with each pair of digits added from left to right adding more detail to the description. The first 2 digits signify a broad product category, the second pair of digits are a subdivision of that category, and so on.
Getting the right codes
There are a number of methods you can use to find your goods’ commodity codes. You can use the ICN Online service from uktradeinfo. You can browse or search the database of codes and keep a list of ‘favourites’ for regularly used codes. The service is free.
Help and advice on classification
While the ICN system is detailed, there may be circumstances when it’s not easy to achieve a perfect match for your goods to a particular classification. You can request additional support by sending a request by email.
To enable HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to deal with your enquiry, ensure:
- only one item is shown per email
the request includes the following information:
- what the product is
- what it is made of - if made of more than one material, explain the breakdown
- what it is used for
- how the product works/functions
- how it is presented/packaged
Some additional information is required on certain products:
- footwear: include the type (shoe, boot, slipper etc), 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 (fresh, frozen, dried, further prepared/preserved etc)
- chemicals: include the CAS Number, whether the product is a liquid/powder/solid and include the percentage ingredients
- textiles: include the material composition, how it is constructed (knitted/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 is 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 have supplied.
There are 2 types of SD - ‘Arrivals’ and ‘Dispatches’. If the value of your Arrivals (goods coming into the UK) or your Dispatches (goods leaving the UK) exceeds the Intrastat threshold you need to submit an Arrivals or Dispatches SD, as appropriate. If both Arrivals and Dispatches exceed the threshold you need to submit both an Arrivals and a Dispatches SD.
You will need to classify your goods according to the ICN in order to complete your SDs.
Calculating the value
The calculation of the value of your goods is an essential step in preparing your SD. Using International Commercial Contracts (Incoterms) to describe the basis of the transaction will help define the value you need to declare.
For example, if you’re supplying goods free on board you should only declare the value of the goods and the cost of transport to the port of departure. If you’re supplying goods delivered duty paid, you should include the value of the goods and the costs incurred in delivering the goods to the specified destination.
Find out more about using Incoterms in the guide on International Commercial Terms - Incoterms.
If the annual value of your flow of Dispatches or Arrivals exceeds £24 million you will also have to report the delivery terms on your SDs for that section of the flow which exceeds £24 million.
It’s essential to remember that you must not include any excise duty in your value calculations.
You will also need to have an NoTC ready to complete your SD. A NoTC defines what type of transaction you’re reporting. NOTCs are also used to reconcile returns following replacements of goods or credit notes being issued. The most common NoTCs are:
- 10: denoting a sale or purchase
- 30: denoting a change of ownership of the goods at no charge
- 40: denoting goods sent for processing
- 50: denotes goods returned from processing
NoTC 40 and 50 can only be used when the goods sent for processing from the UK are returned to the UK (not necessarily to the company which originally dispatched the goods).
Weight or supplementary unit
You will need to record either the weight (net mass) or a supplementary unit for the consignment. The ICN commodity code you use will define which measurement is required for your goods.
See the guide on how to complete your Intrastat SD.
Destination or origin
You will also need to indicate which EU member state the goods have come from or are going to in the form of a 2-letter code.
Submitting SDs for Intrastat
SDs are submitted electronically.
Submitting SDs online
You can use the internet to submit your SDs using one of two systems. You can either fill in the online form or upload the data from a CSV file you have prepared or use the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
You can find out about completing the online form, uploading data files for SDs and using EDI to submit your SDs in the information on Intrastat - technology and technicalities.
Advice on complex transactions under the Intrastat system
While the reporting requirements for Intrastat are simple there are occasions where the nature of your business may mean your responsibilities are more complex - such as when your VAT accounting periods don’t align with calendar months or goods have been returned.
Location of goods
The movement of your goods is the most important element in completing your SDs correctly. For example, if you buy goods from a customer in Spain but the goods are dispatched from Germany you should record those Arrivals as coming from Germany rather than Spain. This is known as triangulation.
Errors, credit notes and retrospective discounts
Sometimes you will have to issue credit notes or discounts after your SD for the period has been submitted. When this happens you need to add a balancing entry to your next return covering the credit. To do so using the electronic service you must use the first digit of the NoTC followed by a ‘6’. This will indicate to the system that it’s a minus value and will balance your records accordingly.
A similar principle is followed if an adjustment needs to be made as a result of a change in trading terms or goods being returned, such as goods shipped and not paid for or the receipt of stage payments. Further information on this can be found in section 7.2 of Notice 60.
You must not use NoTCs to amend errors on your SDs. If you find an error, you must supply an additional declaration for that period.
If your goods are entered into customs processes this will have an impact on your SD reporting.
If your goods move into customs warehouses do not record them for Intrastat. If the goods are brought into free circulation and then move to another EU member state an Intrastat report will be required. This also applies to goods moved between excise warehouses in different member states. Goods moving between excise warehouses within the UK should not be reported for Intrastat.
For goods going into an excise warehouse in the UK from another member state there are different rules depending on whether the goods are for retail distribution or are to be further processed.
If your goods are covered by Inward Processing and have been declared on a Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight declaration, do not include on your Intrastat SD.
You can find further information about the arrangements for goods in customs processes in section 17 of Notice 60.
Other detailed information
The uktradeinfo website has detailed information for other special situations, such as the position for leasing and hire of goods, progress and stage payments and goods on sale or return.
If your query isn’t covered, other detailed information is available in Notice 60 which provides detail about all your Intrastat obligations.
SD record keeping and the Intrastat
You must keep specific paperwork when completing and filing SDs.
You must retain a copy of every SD you submit - or an agent submits on your behalf - and all papers and documents used to compile your SDs for at least 6 years.
You can keep these documents in an electronic format, provided it can be read by HMRC.
HMRC carries out inspections from time to time to ensure that businesses are complying with their Intrastat obligations. The visit is almost always to your premises even if you use an agent. When the HMRC representative visits they’ll need access to all your SD-related paperwork, so it’s advisable to keep your records organised.
In most cases, managing your Intrastat responsibilities will be comparatively simple. It’s prudent to check your SDs against your VAT return to see if the figures tally.
Any differences between your VAT returns and SDs may be queried by HMRC, although HMRC understands that circumstances - such as credit notes - may create a discrepancy between the SDs and the VAT return.
Check Notice 60 for more detailed guidance on inspections and day-to-day management of your Intrastat responsibilities.
Where to get help and advice on Intrastat and SDs
Contact HMRC’s VAT helpline which can help with most queries.
You can contact the Intrastat helpline for help with queries about the Intrastat system.
You can get more detailed information on Intrastat and SDs from Notice 60 which covers the processes in greater depth.
Additional guidance on common specific queries is also available on the uktradeinfo website.
If your query is complex, you can check with HMRC’s Trade Statistics unit. You can write to them at:
3rd Floor Central
21 Victoria Avenue
You can also contact the Excise Helpline or send an email.
Published: 23 August 2012
Updated: 1 September 2015
- Guidance on help and advice on classification has been updated.
- Contact details for Intrastat system added.
- Intrastat threshold raised to 1.5 million
- Intrastat exemption threshold for Arrivals, annual value of your flow of Dispatches and Arrivals changed with effect from 1 January 2014.
- First published.