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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do I get the security alert message: 'Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded' when I try to download the 'CSV Generator'?

This means the security settings on your browser may need changes. Please make sure your browser version is up to date.

Why do I get the error message 'Trader or Agent Header Missing' when I upload my csv file?

If you have created your csv file in Excel, it may have inserted some spurious characters.

  • Open the file in a text editor (such as notepad). This will display any spurious characters or formatting that Excel may have added.
  • Edit the file and save.
  • It may be easier to use the CSV Generator Tool available to download from the Main Menu of the Electronic Intrastat System, which has been pre-formatted.

When I uploaded my csv file, I got the error message: 'Bad CSV File Invalid CSV Header, Invalid Agent/Trader flag: corrupt or incomplete header'. I have checked my file and it looks OK, so why am I getting this message?

When you have browsed your csv file for uploading, please do not edit the file-path that is displayed when you select your file. If you do, you will get this error message. If you have spaces in your file path you will need to move your file to a folder that doesn't have a space in the name.

Why do I get an Invalid VAT number; '1E+08' message when uploading a CSV file?

A CSV file in a Scientific format and it changes some of the fields. (E.g. the VAT registration number changes to 1E+8', when the file was opened in Excel).
Widen the field and the VAT number will return.

Why do I get the error message 'Processing Error, file is not a csv' or similar, when I know it is a csv file?

Some browser versions truncate the filename when it is uploaded to our server and the file loses its file extension. Rename the file to contain five characters plus the file extension, (for example, jun00.csv).

Why does the confirmation screen display nil values when I upload my csv file?

Please check that you have put an 'X' in the 'declaration' field in the header details and not an 'N' (X indicates live data, while N indicates it is a nil return and it will ignore any data supplied)

I have successfully submitted my csv file, but the values on the confirmation screen are not correct. Why is this?

If you are submitting credit notes as well as other values the total does not calculate the amount for that submission, so the total value amount may not reflect the true amount. This is only displayed in the 'Confirm Submission Screen, the true calculated values will be correctly processed.

How can I correct errors on my CSV file when it was a pre-prepared Software package?

Errors can be corrected by opening the file in a Text creator (like Notepad) or opening the file in Excel and using the Text to Column wizard found in the Data menu.

Why do I get the error message 'The file format you have tried to submit is not recognised, please try another'?

You may have uploaded an Excel file (.xls) - the file needs to be a csv file.

  • Open the file in Excel, click on 'Save As', select 'Save File as Type: csv (comma delimited)';
  • click OK, a dialogue box is presented warning that the 'selected file type will only save active sheet';
  • click OK.

Why did I get a script error when I upload my CSV?

It could be that you have erroneous characters e.g. a slash (/) separating the date: (e.g. 06/05/02). Simply remove the slash.

It is a good idea to open the file in notepad to see if there are any other hidden characters.

Why has the commodity code I have always used now been rejected?

The commodity code for your goods may have changed. The system has been upgraded to match the period with the valid commodity code for that year. The correct commodity codes are available on this site on the ICN Online page.

Is it a good idea to clear my internet browser history on a regular basis?

Whenever you use your computer your browser tends to retain information which, over time, can cause problems with submitting your CSVs. It is therefore advisable to regularly clear your browser history. (Unfortunately, your saved usernames and passwords will be deleted and you’ll need to re-enter them, but your browser will work more efficiently.)

If you do not know how to clear the cache for your particular browser, there are plenty of instructions on the Internet.

Can you confirm how I should enter my branch header information if it begins with a “0” or “00”?

All IS2 traders/Agents have an assigned Branch that is linked to their login account. The branch is a 3 digit code. By default this will be 000, unless a different one is specified when the traders account is created via IS2 Admin.

If your branch is assigned a 3 digit number beginning with a 0 e.g. 012, the following applies:

  • If no branch is specified this will fail validation as 000 will be assumed, but 012 is expected (as this is recorded against your account.)
  • If anything is specified that does not exactly match 012, then this will fail validation.


Problems can arise with ‘0s’ when using Excel due to the way it displays the contents of a CSV file: Excel suppresses leading zeros when displaying a number. (Therefore Branch 012 will display as 12, branch 009 will display as 9.)

This data is unchanged and will fail validation on submission unless you resave and overwrite it.

What if I don't have a branch number?

If you know that your VAT number has not been assigned branch numbers for Intrastat purposes and you only ever use the 9 digit number, you can leave the branch field on the csv file blank. The system will automatically assume that your branch is “000” and the file will be accepted. However if the branch field is formatted to supress leading zeros and you type in three zeros and this defaults to a single zero, this will fail validation as a Header Error. You can change the format for the single branch cell, by changing to “Text” in formatting, allowing the cell to then display as “000” branch or as previously mentioned, just leave it blank.

What is the difference between the ‘back’ button and the ‘cancel’ button?

The ‘back’ button situated at the top left of the screen) should be used to amend errors made on previous pages of your submission.

If, however, you click on either of the two cancel buttons you will lose all keyed data and be returned to the start page.

Should I enter my company name in upper or lower case?

We would advise entering your company name in lower case (as we used lower case characters when setting your account up).

Does it matter where I leave the cursor when I have finished typing my returns?

Yes – Please ensure the cursor is at the end of the last line of data entered before saving, otherwise the system will save blank lines of data which will generate multiple errors.

Can I use commas or full stops ion the value field?

No – please round any values up or down to the nearest whole number. Full stops, commas or any special characters should not be used in any field.

Why do I get the error message 'Trader or Agent Header Missing' when I upload my csv file?

This message appears if you have saved your file in Unicode Text rather than a CSV comma delimited file.

Why do I get the error message ‘We are processing your request. This screen will refresh every 15 seconds…’ ?

You can get this message if you have submitted a large file which will take time to upload. If, however this message is showing after 2-3 minutes, your file may have become ‘stuck’ in our system. Please contact us (by telephone or email) if this happens so that we can release it, then re-submit.

Can't find the answer to your question?

If you cannot solve your problem here, please email our Customer Services with your query. If you wish to be contacted by phone, please don’t forget to provide us with your phone number.