EC Sales List: how to complete and submit one box-by-box

You need to complete an EC Sales List (ESL) showing each of your customers in the EU and the value (in sterling) of the supplies you've made to them. You make a separate entry for each type of supply made to each customer.

There is no threshold for ESLs - you must list every supply, no matter how small. If you haven't made any supplies (or issued any credit notes) in the reporting period, you should not submit an ESL and the ESL Online service (ECSL) will not allow you to submit a nil declaration.

This guide explains what needs to be entered on the ESL, how to prepare the information and how to submit it.

On this page:

Preparing the information for your ESL

You will need to submit an ESL monthly or quarterly depending on whether you supply services or goods, and the value of those goods. You'll need to get together information about each customer and the supplies you've made to them.

If you: you will:

supply services only

submit an ESL for each calendar quarter but may choose to submit ESLs monthly if you prefer

supply goods and the value of those supplies has not exceeded £35,000 (exclusive of VAT) in the current or four previous quarters.

submit an ESL for each calendar quarter but may choose to submit monthly if you prefer

supply goods and the value of those supplies has exceeded £35,000 (exclusive of VAT) in the current or four previous quarters.

have to submit ESLs each calendar month

supply goods and services and the value of the supplies of goods means you have to submit monthly ESLs for goods

have to submit ESLs each calendar month for goods and can choose either to

  • report services in each calendar month
  • report services each calendar quarter - in the last month of that quarter

submit an annual VAT Return and all the following are true

  • 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
  • the supplies do not include New Means of Transport (boats, aircraft and motorised land vehicles)

be able to apply to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for approval to submit your ESL annually.

They will also agree the due date for submitting your annual ESL.

supply goods only, have a low level of EC Sales and all the following are true:

  • your total taxable turnover does not exceed £93,500
  • the annual value of your supplies to other EU countries is not more than £11,000
  • the supplies do not include New Means of Transport

you can apply to HMRC for approval to submit a simplified annual ESL

For further information about New Means of Transport, see VAT Notice 728

What information do you put on an ESL?

You must include details of 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 should include:

  • Their two letter country code. For example if the business is in France, the country code is FR. You'll need to check which code to use - it won't necessarily be the same as the one you use for Intrastat declarations - see the link below.
  • Their VAT registration number. The section below tells you how to check EU VAT numbers.
  • 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. The section below tells you how to calculate the value of your supplies.
  • 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.

Read about goods and 'triangulation' in section 13 of VAT Notice 725

Find out if the services you're supplying are subject to the reverse charge in section 18 of VAT Notice 741A

Look up your customer's country code

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. One of these conditions is that you must show a valid VAT registration number for your customer on both of these:

  • your customer invoice
  • your ESL

You won't be able to zero rate your sales if either of these is true:

  • you haven't got your customer's VAT number
  • your customer's VAT number isn't valid

Find out more about zero rating goods to EU businesses

Top

Checking EU VAT numbers

Sometimes your customer might show their VAT registration number linked to their two letter country code, but is should not be entered on your ESL in that way. You should enter the two letter country code and the VAT number separately in the boxes provided.

You'll also need to check that the VAT number itself is valid. You'll need to do this for each new customer. You may need to take the following steps:

  • Check that your customer is actually based in the EU. You should not include sales to UK customers on your ESL. You can check which territories are included in the EU VAT area at the link below.
  • Contact your customer if they haven't given you a VAT number or if you don't think the one they've given you is correct. You can use one of the ready prepared foreign-language letters to ask them for their VAT number in their own language.
  • Check that the VAT number that your customer has given you is in the right format for that country. There is a table showing VAT number formats at the link below.
  • Check the validity of the VAT number, name and address on the website provided by the European Commission at the link below. You can also obtain a certificate of 'proof of checking'. Alternatively, you can contact HMRC to check a VAT registration number and verify that the name and address belong to that number.
  • Contact HMRC to check a VAT registration number and verify that the name and address belong to that number.

Once you have checked that the VAT registration number you have is valid, enter it on the ESL, making sure you enter it in exactly the right format. You should check the validity of your customer's VAT registration number on a regular basis, to ensure that the number has not been deregistered.

Don't include:

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

Check EU countries and territories, country codes, VAT number formats and get foreign-language letters

Check EU VAT numbers on the European Commission website (Opens new window)

How to contact HMRC

Top

Calculating the total supplies to a customer

You'll need to add up the value of all the supplies of goods or services you've made in the period to each VAT-registered customer in another EU country, entering a separate value for each customer and each type of supply made. You may need up to three lines for each customer, if you supply goods, 'triangular goods' and services.

You'll need to include:

  • The value in sterling, of supplies of goods (including related costs for example, delivery charges) made to each customer, whether you charged for them or not, minus any credit notes issued. But if the goods qualified as samples under the VAT rules you can ignore them.
  • The value of any of your own goods that are moved to your own VAT-registered branch, office or subsidiary company in another EU country.
  • The 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.
  • The value of any 'triangular' supplies of goods, on a separate line and using code '2' in the indicator box (see below for more information).

Take away the value of any credit notes you've issued from each customer's total and the relevant type of supply.

Remember not to include the value of any goods that have been sent for processing.

Supplies where you didn't handle the goods yourself

If you made any supplies where you didn't physically handle the goods yourself - because you arranged for your supplier to send the goods directly to your customer, this is known as ‘triangulation’. You'll need to enter the value of these goods separately from any goods you may have sent directly to the same customer entering the figure '2' in the indicator column.

Read about goods and 'triangulation' in section 13 of VAT Notice 725

Don't enter a zero value for any line

If you issued a credit note to a customer without making any supplies, you should include the value of the credit note, entering a minus sign (-) before the amount.

If you haven't sold any goods, supplied services, or issued any credit notes to any customers in the reporting period you don't need to submit an ESL.

If you made supplies to a customer but didn't charge for them, you'll need to enter their value - unless the items 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.

Read about what counts as a sample for VAT purposes

Find out if you can apply for permission to submit simplified ESLs

Round the amount down

There's no need to enter pence on the ESL. Before entering the total value of your supplies to each customer, round the amount down to the nearest whole pound. For example, if the total value is £1,521.92 you would round the amount down to £1,521.

Top

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

After you've registered and enrolled to use the online service you can log in, using your User ID and password.

Once you've logged in you'll see a list of services displayed. Click on the link 'ECSL' to access the service, then select the web form option.

After 15 minutes you'll be automatically logged off if you haven't entered anything - so you might lose any data that you entered prior to this. It's a good idea to prepare all the data you're going to enter before you make a start. You can check what you'll need to do to prepare the data in an earlier section of this guide. If you use the bulk upload feature you won't have this problem.

Log in for the ESL online service (ECSL)

Navigating

It's important to use the buttons on the ESL online service (ECSL) screens to navigate backwards and forwards. If you use your browser 'back' button you might lose data.

Entering data

Use one 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 facility if you regularly fill in more than 20 lines.

Don't forget to put '2' in the indicator column if you're entering a line for a customer where you didn't actually handle the goods, but instead your supplier sent them directly to your customer. This is known as triangulation.

Use indicator '3' to identify supplies of services.

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

The ESL Online service (ECSL) will not allow you to 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.

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.

If you make an error

You can correct any errors on your online form, within 21 days of submitting the original declaration. You can find more information on this, in the section Correcting errors on your ESL', later in this guide.

Contact the VAT Online Services Helpdesk if you're having trouble with the web form

Top

Log in to submit your ESL online now

If you are already a registered user of HMRC Online Services or the Government Gateway, you can log in to use the ESL online service (ECSL) to submit your ESL now.

Log in for the ESL online service (ECSL)

Top

How to submit your ESL using bulk upload or messaging software

In addition to completing the ESL form online, you can also submit your ESL electronically in the following ways:

  • Using the ESL online service (ECSL) bulk upload feature. This is of particular use to businesses that regularly supply goods or services to more than 20 VAT-registered customers. You can upload your files in either XML (extensible markup language) or CSV (Comma Separated Variable) format.
  • Using the ESL online service (ECSL) via an XML channel, tailored to larger businesses and agent organisations willing to invest in messaging software.
  • Using UN-EDIFACT format.

Logging in and submitting your ESL using bulk upload

After you've registered and enrolled for the online service you can log in, using your User ID and password.

Once you've logged in you'll see a list of services to choose from. Click on the link 'ECSL' to access the service, then select the bulk upload option. You'll be automatically logged off after 15 minutes if you don't use the service.

Log in for the ESL online service (ECSL)

Find out how to send your ESL in a CSV file

Information on sorting out problems with your CSV files (PDF 1.8MB)

Find out how to send your ESL in XML files

Top

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 let them know and they will stop sending you ESLs.

If you need to obtain a paper ESL you can either:

  • download a form VAT 101 from the HMRC website
  • contact HMRC to request another

Get form VAT 101 EC Sales List

Contact HMRC to ask for another ESL

Completing the header

You will need to 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 - please don't strike through them. Do not write 'none'.

If your details are already printed on the form, and any of the information is incorrect, don't correct it yourself as this will result in your form being rejected. Instead call the VAT Helpline and advise them of the correct details.

Contact the VAT Helpline

You'll need to enter all the following on the ESL:

  • Your name and address.
  • Your nine-digit VAT registration number.
  • If you've got one, your three-digit Branch/Subsidiary Identifier number. If you don't have one, leave this box empty.
  • The period the list relates to. You show this as a four digit number - the first two digits are the month and the last two digits are the year. For example you'd show quarter one, 2012 as '03 12'. The table below gives some examples.
Examples of calendar quarter four digit codes

Dates

Four-digit codes

1 Oct 2011 to 31 Dec 2011

12 11

1 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2012

03 12

1 Apr 2012 to 30 Jun 2012

06 12

1 Jul 2012 to 30 Sept 2012

09 12

1 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2012

12 12

For monthly submissions you should show the number of the month 01 - 12 followed by the last two digits of the year: for example January 2012 would be shown as 01 12.

Completing the totals and the declaration

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

At the end of form VAT 101 you will need to 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.

Download form VAT 101A EC Sales List Continuation Sheet

Entering the data

For each customer, enter their country code and their VAT number. You may need up to three lines for each customer. This is because the total value of each type of sale needs to be entered for example, if you have supplied goods direct and as a result of a triangulated sale and have supplied a service, you must complete three lines for that customer.

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

You should send the completed and signed form (VAT 101) and any continuation sheets (VAT 101A) to:

HM Revenue & Customs
ECSL
Comben House
Farriers Way
Liverpool
L75 1AY

Top

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 your ESL online using the ECSL service, any errors are highlighted as you complete the form, which allows you to correct them before sending it. If you submit the ESL with errors on it, you will be able to correct these errors 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

Whether you submit your ESL online or by paper, HMRC may send you a form VAT 104 notifying you of any errors they find. This form is sent to you with a copy of a ‘Helpful Hints’ document,showing the error lines and the reasons for the errors .The form should be returned to HMRC showing the corrected information .

Correcting 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. You can download the form from the HMRC website and can make up to five changes on each sheet. Send the completed and signed VAT 101B to the address shown on the form.

Download form VAT 101B EC Sales List (Correction sheet)

To delete a line

Form VAT 101B has two lines for each entry, one called 'old' and one called 'new'. If you want to delete a line, enter the details of that line in the old section. Leave the new section empty. You'll need to 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

If you want to insert a new line, enter the details in the new section - leave the old section empty. Use the guidance on how to fill in your ESL form to make sure you enter everything correctly and in the right format. 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 you've already declared

If you just want to amend a line on your ESL 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

If you wish to delete a whole ESL submission, please contact HMRC in writing to request deletion. Write to:

HMRC
DMB 613
BX5 5AB

Top