Penalties ― EC Sales List ― failure to file and inaccuracies

Produced by Tolley

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

  • Penalties ― EC Sales List ― failure to file and inaccuracies
  • When will a penalty be levied?
  • Failure to submit an ESL
  • Submitting a materially inaccurate ESL
  • Can the penalty be reduced or mitigated?
  • Issuing the Penalty liability notice (PLN)
  • Failure to submit an ESL
  • ESL has a material inaccuracy
  • Is there a deadline for assessing the penalty?
  • Levying the penalty
  • More...

Penalties ― EC Sales List ― failure to file and inaccuracies

This guidance note provides an overview of the penalties that can be imposed on a business that either fails to submit an EC Sales List (ESL) or submits a materially inaccurate ESL. UK VAT registered businesses that make supplies of goods or services to customers who are VAT registered in other EU member states are required to complete and submit an ESL.

Note: EC Sales Lists were only required whilst the UK was a member of the EU and during the transaction period ending on 31 December 2020. UK businesses are not required to file EC Sales lists for supplies made from 1 January 2021.

When will a penalty be levied?

The business could be liable to a penalty in respect of the following.

Failure to submit an ESL

A penalty can only be applied on a business that has an obligation to submit an ESL and has failed to do so. Businesses are not required to submit nil ESL and therefore will not be liable to a penalty where no ESL was actually due.

If HMRC has granted permission for individual group members to submit separate ESLs, and one of those members fails to submit a statement when required to do so, the default is not a failure to submit an ESL, it is treated as a material inaccuracy.

The date the ESL must reach HMRC depends on whether a paper or electronic submission is being made:

  1. paper ESL ― within 14 days of the end of the return period

  2. online ESL ― within 21 days of the end of the return period

VCP10900; SI 1995/2518, reg 22; VATA 1994, Sch 11, paras 2–3, VATA 1994, s 66

Businesses that fail to submit their ESL by the due date can be liable to a penalty under these provisions, unless HMRC uses its discretion not to impose a penalty or because the business has a reasonable excuse.

Submitting a materially inaccurate ESL

HMRC can

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