United KingdomManual

The UK has a standard VAT rate and one reduced VAT rate. In addition, a number of items are zero rated

EC Sales List UK (ESL returns)

As of 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer a part of the European Union due to Brexit. Therefore, there are no more intra-Community movements between the EU Member States and the UK. These transactions are regarded as imports and exports. However, Northern Ireland is subject to a special VAT regime, and ESL returns are still applicable for the movements of goods between this territory and the EU.

Due date and frequency of filing of NI ESL returns

The supplies of goods B2B from Northern Ireland to an EU country must be included in the European Sales List (or ESL) return. This also includes triangular transactions or movement of own stock to an EU country. 

The ESL return must contain the following information: details of the EU customers, the value of the goods in GBP, the customer's country code. 

  • Frequency of filing
    Value of the supplies
  • Monthly
    The value of the supplies exceeds GBP 35,000 in the current or 4 previous quarters
  • Quarterly
    The value of the supplies is below the GBP 35,000 threshold in the current or 4 previous quarters
  • Annual (upon request)
    When the total annual taxable turnover does not exceed GBP 145,000, the annual value of the supplies to the EU is below the GBP 11,000 threshold, and your sales do not include new means of transport.

ESL returns may be submitted in paper form, or online. The deadline for paper ESL return submission is 14 days following the reporting period, while the online ESL returns must be submitted within 21 days following the reporting period.

Nil and corrective NI ESL returns

Nil ESL returns are not due.

You need to correct your ESL return when:

  • the error exceeds the amount of GBP 100
  • you have included an incorrect VAT number
  • you have included an incorrect type of transaction

If you need to correct an error in your online ESL return, you can do so within 21 days of submitting the original declaration. After that time frame, HRMC might send you a VAT104 form, this is, an ESL error report.

If you need to correct an error in your paper ESL return, you can do so by sending a VAT101B form to the indicated address.

Penalties for late NI ESL return

Penalties may apply in case of late submission of an ESL return. This is also the case of ESL returns submitted containing a material inacuracy. Here you can check the daily rate civil penalty applicable. 

Before imposing a penalty, a penalty liability notice must have been issued within the previous 12 months. 

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