3 things to remember when preparing your EC sales list

What is an EC sales list?
VAT registered businesses in the UK who make supplies of goods and services to a customer who is registered for VAT elsewhere in the EU must report them to HMRC. They do this using an EC sales list (ESL) which contains the country code (made up of two letters) the Customer’s VAT number (which is their responsibility to obtain – an ESL cannot be submitted if they don’t have this) together with the sterling value of the supply. The form also requires a number to indicate the nature of the supply.

What figures need to appear on an ESL?
The last two boxes on the VAT return are for supplies of goods (and the costs relating to them, for example freight costs) to and from the EC only. The ESL should include these figures and the supply of services. Many business owners are under the common misconception that the ESL simply includes the entries in boxes 8 & 9 on their VAT return. This is not true.

Practical points
Three important things to remember when preparing an EC sales list are:

  1. Always make sure you get the customer’s VAT number. Perhaps you could always ask for this to be included on any correspondence you have with a customer; emails, letters etc.  There is a website to check the validity of the VAT number http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/
  2. Boxes 8 and 9 of the VAT return relate to goods and their related costs whereas the ESL should include the supply of these goods together with any supplies of services.
  3. You cannot submit a nil return so if you didn’t make any sales or supplies to an EU customer, no ESL is required.

If you require any more information please do not hesitate to contact us here at Westbury.

Ella Aldworth – Audit Team

Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.