EC Sales List (ESL)

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • EC Sales List (ESL)
  • When do you need to file an ESL?
  • Frequency of submission
  • What methods can be used to file the ESL return?
  • How to complete the boxes on an ESL
  • Header information
  • Data fields
  • Filing deadline
  • Failure to file a return or inaccurate returns

When do you need to file an ESL?

VAT registered business in the UK that supply goods and certain services to VAT registered customers in other EU member states are required to complete an ESL showing details of each of the EU customers and the value (in sterling) of the supplies made to the customer during a certain period (see below).

Notice 725, para 17 ; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V16.821 (subscription sensitive); Value Added Tax Regulations 1995, SI 1995/2518, Reg 22A(2)(a)

This note should be read in conjunction with EU movements of goods ― reporting requirements guidance note which provides details of when an ESL is required and what value should be used for specific transactions.

Frequency of submission

Businesses will need to submit an ESL monthly or quarterly depending on whether it supplies services or goods and the associated value of the goods supplied to other EU customers.

The table below will assist with determining the number of ESLs that will need to be prepared and submitted each year:

Business activities undertakenESL return frequency
Supplies services onlyRequired to submit an ESL for each calendar quarter. However the business can submit a monthly ESL if preferable.
Supplies goods and the value of the goods supplied has not exceeded

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