Business tax – guidance

VAT: how to report your EU sales

How VAT registered businesses should use the EC Sales List (ESL) and the ESL online service.

Overview

If you’re a VAT-registered business in the UK supplying goods and services to VAT-registered customers in another EU country, you must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about those supplies. Use an EC Sales List (ESL) to show:

  • details of each of your EU customers
  • the sterling value of the supplies you’ve made to them
  • the customer’s country code

When to complete an ESL

You’ll need to complete an ESL if you’ve:

  • filled in Box 8 of your VAT Return; HMRC will automatically send you an ESL to complete
  • supplied any goods to a VAT-registered business in another EU country (this applies even if you didn’t invoice for them, unless they count as samples for VAT purposes)
  • moved any of your own goods to a VAT-registered branch, office or subsidiary company that you own in another EU country
  • given a VAT-registered customer in another EU country a credit note for goods, even if you didn’t supply them with any goods in this period
  • sold goods to a VAT-registered customer in another EU country and arranged for your supplier, who’s located in one EU country, to send the goods directly to your customer (this is triangulation)
  • supplied services to a VAT-registered EU businesses and that business accounts for the VAT (this is the reverse charge)

If you haven’t supplied goods or services to VAT-registered customers in another EU country (or issued any credit notes) you don’t need to complete an ESL.

The simplified ESL

If your business only makes low level supplies of goods to VAT-registered customers in another EU country you may not need to fill in the full ESL. You can contact HMRC to ask if you can send a simplified annual ESL, if:

  • the value of your total taxable turnover in a year isn’t more than the VAT registration threshold plus £25,500
  • your supplies to customers in other EU countries aren’t more than £11,000 a year
  • your sales don’t include New Means of Transport

If HMRC agrees that you can use the simplified ESL you:

  • never need to fill in the actual value of your supplies to each customer, instead you enter a nominal value of £1
  • complete the form once a year by a date agreed with HMRC

Sending separate ESLs for different parts of your business

You can choose to send separate ESLs on paper or online if you have:

  • individual branches of your business
  • individual companies within a group VAT registration
  • self-accounting branches within a group VAT registration contact HMRC to arrange this, you will be given a 3 digit code for each branch or company in your business, you must use this as an identifier when you complete the separate ESLs

To send data online for individual branches you must register each one separately with HMRC’s Online Services.

If the total value of goods supplied from all the branches of your business is more than £35,000 (excluding VAT), in the current or previous 4 quarters, each branch must send a monthly ESL.

How to send your ESL to HMRC

You can send your completed ESL electronically or on paper.

Sending your ESL electronically

You can choose from:

  • ECSL - this is an on-screen form, similar to the paper ESL
  • ECSL ‘bulk upload’ feature as a CSV (Comma Separated Variable) or XML (Extensible Markup Language) file
  • ECSL via an XML Channel
  • UN-EDIFACT format submissions

If you’re already a registered user of HMRC Online Services, you can enrol for ESL online.

Sending your ESL on paper

You can choose from:

If you’re completing a form VAT 101(A) it must always be accompanied by a signed form VAT 101.

If you’re using the downloadable forms, you must complete them on screen before printing (single sided) and posting to HMRC. If you want to complete the form by hand, you must use a paper VAT101 available from the VAT Helpline.

How often to submit your ESL

The following table covers supplies to VAT-registered customers in other EU countries

Your business supplies: The value of your supplies: Send your ESL every:
Goods is over the £35,000 threshold in the current or 4 previous quarters. month
Goods is under the £35,000 threshold in the current or 4 previous quarters. quarter
Services that are subject to the reverse charge in the customer’s country Not applicable quarter (but you can choose to send them every month)
Goods and services where you are required to send monthly lists for your goods Not applicable month for all supplies or goods, and quarter for services

If you make annual VAT Returns you can contact HMRC to apply for approval to submit your ESL once a year provided you meet all of the following conditions:

  • your total annual taxable turnover does not exceed £145,000
  • the annual value of your supplies to other EU countries is not more than £11,000
  • your sales don’t include New Means of Transport

If you only supply goods (not services) valued at £11,000 or less, the supplies don’t include New Means of Transport and your total taxable turnover does not exceed £93,500 you can also apply to submit an annual ESL.

Deadlines for sending your ESL

You must send your ESLs:

  • within 14 days for paper submissions
  • within 21 days for online submissions

If you send the ESL in late, you may have to pay a penalty.

How to complete an ESL

Information that goes on an ESL

Record all the VAT-registered EU businesses you’ve supplied in the reporting period, entering a line for each customer, for each type of supply.

You must include:

  • their 2 letter country code
  • their VAT registration number
  • the value of the goods and related costs - entering code ‘0’ (zero) in the indicator column - even if you haven’t invoiced them or been paid yet
  • code ‘2’ in the indicator column if you didn’t handle the goods yourself and instead, your supplier sent them directly to your customer; this is known as triangulation
  • the value of the services you have provided where the place of supply is the customer’s country and the services are subject to a reverse charge. Enter code ‘3’ in the indicator column

Zero rating supplies of goods

As long as you meet certain conditions you can zero rate your supplies of goods to VAT-registered customers in other EU countries. You must show a valid VAT registration number for your customer on both your customer invoice and your ESL

You won’t be able to zero rate your sales if you haven’t got your customer’s valid VAT number

Checking EU VAT numbers

Enter your customer’s 2 letter country code and the VAT number separately in the appropriate boxes.

Check that your customer’s VAT number is valid and that they are actually based in the EU. You’ll need to do this for each new customer.

You can:

When you have confirmed that the VAT registration number is valid, enter it on the ESL. Don’t include:

  • spaces, dashes, commas or slashes
  • the 2 letter country code as part of the VAT number

Calculating the total supplies to a customer

Add up the value of all the supplies of goods or services you’ve made in the period rounding down to the nearest whole pound. Enter a separate value for each customer and each type of supply made. You may need up to 3 lines for each customer to show the value of:

  • goods supplied
  • triangular goods supplied
  • services supplied

Include the:

  • value in sterling, of goods supplied (including related costs, for example, delivery charges) made to each customer, whether you charged for them or not, minus any credit notes issued
  • value of any of your own goods that are moved to your own VAT-registered branch, office or subsidiary company in another EU country
  • value of any services supplied that are subject to the reverse charge in another EU country, on a separate line and using code 3 in the indicator box
  • value of any triangular supplies of goods, on a separate line and using code 2 in the indicator box
  • value of credit notes issued without making any supplies by entering a minus sign (-) before the amount

Deduct the value of any credit notes you’ve issued from each customer’s total and the relevant type of supply.

Don’t include the value of:

  • any goods that have been sent for processing
  • any goods that qualify as samples under the VAT rules

HMRC might have agreed that you only need to complete a simplified ESL because you make low levels of sales to EU customers. If so, you don’t need to include the value of the sales you make. Just enter £1 in the value column, not zero.

How to complete your ESL using the online form

If you submit your ESL online you must do so within 21 days of the end of the reporting period.

Logging in

To use ESL you must register and enrol for HMRC online services.

When you registered and enrolled, log in to ESL using your User ID and password.

Choose ECSL from the list of services displayed, then select the web form option.

If you don’t enter any information for 15 minutes you will be automatically logged off.

It’s important to use the buttons on the ECSL screens to navigate backwards and forwards. If you use your browser ‘back’ button you might lose data.

Entering data

Use 1 line for each customer and for each type of supply. You can get extra lines by selecting the ‘More lines’ button. You might find it’s more convenient to use the bulk upload service if you regularly fill in more than 20 lines.

Entering negative values online

You might need to enter a negative (minus) value for your supplies to a customer, for example because you issued a credit note for goods they returned. Type a minus sign ‘-’ before the amount to show a negative value.

Nil returns

ECSL won’t let you submit a nil return. So if you haven’t made any supplies (or issued any credit notes) in the reporting period, don’t submit an ESL.

How to submit your form

After you’ve entered all the information for the reporting period, select the ‘Submit’ button. You’ll be shown a ‘Review and submit screen’ next so you can check over your figures before you finally submit them. The form will be checked automatically on submission and if any errors are found they’ll be highlighted by an ‘X’ on this screen. You will have an opportunity to correct the errors before resubmitting.

Your submission reference number

After you’ve submitted your form you’ll see an acknowledgement screen. This gives you a unique ‘Submission Reference Number’. Print this and keep it for your records. If you don’t get this number you can’t be certain that your form has been received and accepted by HMRC.

Correcting errors

You can correct any errors on your online form, within 21 days of submitting the original declaration.

Logging in and submitting your ESL using bulk upload

Log in to the online service, using your User ID and password. From the list of services choose ECSL, then select the bulk upload option.

If you don’t enter any information for 15 minutes you will be automatically logged off.

How to complete your paper ESL

HMRC must receive your paper ESL within 14 days of the end of the reporting period.

If you’ve filled in box 8 of your VAT Return HMRC will automatically send you a paper ESL to complete. If you don’t expect to make any more supplies to VAT-registered customers in the EU, contact HMRC to stop receiving ESLs.

If you need to obtain a paper ESL you can either download form VAT 101 or contact HMRC to request one.

The ESL header field

Fill in details of your business at the top of the form. You should write inside the boxes, using black ink and capital letters.

Leave blank any boxes that don’t apply to you. Don’t strike through them. Don’t write none.

If your details already printed on the form are wrong don’t correct it yourself. Call the VAT Helpline to tell HMRC the correct details.

Enter all the following on the ESL:

  • your name and address
  • our 9 digit VAT registration number
  • your 3 digit Branch/Subsidiary Identifier number if you have one.
  • the period the list relates to shown as a 4 digit number (the first 2 digits are the month and the last 2 digits are the year, for example, show quarter 1, 2012 as 03 12
  • for monthly submissions show the number of the month from 01 to 12 followed by the last 2 digits of the year, for example, January 2015 would be shown as 01 15

Totals and declaration

The paper ESL - form VAT 101 EC Sales List - has 8 lines. If you need to enter more lines download a form VAT 101A EC Sales List Continuation Sheet. The format for entering the information is the same on both forms.

At the end of form VAT 101 enter the total number of pages used. If you also complete form VAT 101A you will need to complete the total number of lines completed.

Complete the declaration at the end of form VAT 101, and sign and date it. Please include a name and phone number in case HMRC needs to contact you.

Data entry

For each customer, enter their country code and their VAT number.

If you supplied goods, enter the value (including related costs) of all the goods supplied to that customer (deducting credit notes where appropriate). Leave the indicator column blank.

Related costs include services which form part of the goods, such as freight and insurance costs.

If you were an intermediate supplier in a triangulated sale, enter the total value of the supplies to each customer on a separate line from any other supplies made to that customer. Enter 2 in the indicator column.

If you supplied services which were subject to the reverse charge in another EU country, enter the total value of these supplies on a separate line. Enter ‘3’ in the indicator column.

Entering the value of supplies

When you enter the value of the supplies you’ve made to each customer, you:

  • don’t include the £ symbol, decimal points or commas
  • round the pence down to the nearest pound
  • enter the value so it ends next to the pence column
  • show a negative figure by entering a minus sign before the amount

Where to send the form

Send the completed and signed form (VAT 101) and any continuation sheets (VAT 101A) to:

HMRC ECSL

Comben House
Farriers Way

Liverpool
L75 1AY

Correcting errors on your ESL

You must tell HMRC about any errors and omissions on your ESL where:

  • the error exceeds £100
  • you have quoted an incorrect VAT registration number
  • you have incorrectly stated the type of transaction for example, goods instead of services

Correcting your ESL online

If you submit the ESL with errors you can correct them online up to 21 days from the date you originally sent it.

If you submit your ESL by CSV or XML you can still use the online service to correct errors identified at the time of submission. Alternatively, if you decide to submit a new file, you must delete the error lines from your original submission within 21 days, using the ‘Correct declaration errors’ page on the ECSL online service.

In both cases, after 21 days:

  • you will not be able to correct your ESL online
  • HMRC may send you a form VAT 104 (ESL Error Report)
  • you can also use form VAT 101B EC Sales List (Correction Sheet) to correct your ESL

If you receive a form VAT 104

HMRC will send you a form VAT 104 if any errors are found on your submission. It must be returned to HMRC showing the correct information.

Correct your ESL using form VAT 101B

If you realise you’ve made a mistake on your paper ESL after you’ve sent it to HMRC, you can amend, delete, or add to the information you’ve already entered using form VAT 101B. Send the completed and signed VAT 101B to the address shown on the form.

To delete a line

Form VAT 101B has 2 lines for each entry, one called ‘old’ and one called ‘new’. To delete a line, enter the details of that line in the old section. Leave the new section empty. Enter the following exactly as they appeared on your original ESL:

  • reporting period
  • country code
  • customer’s VAT number
  • value of supplies
  • indicator

To insert a line left off your original ESL

To insert a new line, enter the details in the new section - leave the old section empty. Enter details of:

  • the reporting period
  • your customer’s country code
  • your customer’s VAT number
  • the value of the supplies you made
  • whether your supplier shipped the goods directly to your customer - enter ‘2’ in the indicator column if they did, or enter ‘3’ for services

To amend a line

To amend a line that you’ve already declared, enter the original details in the old section. Put the new details in the new section. In the old section, make sure you enter the following details exactly as they appeared on your original ESL:

  • reporting period
  • country code
  • customer’s VAT number
  • value of supplies
  • indicator

To delete a complete ESL submission contact HMRC in writing at:

HMRC
DMB 613
BX5 5AB