Help with completing an Intrastat declaration

This section is Guidance

Find guidance about how to prepare and submit an Intrastat declaration if you are a business trading in goods with member states of the EU.

General guide to Intrastat

You can find guidance about what you need to complete a declaration in the Notice 60 guide to Intrastat. The guide includes:

  • who needs to submit declarations
  • the rules for submitting declarations
  • types of goods to include and exclude
  • goods that need special treatment
  • how to fill in the fields in the declaration
  • what happens if you do not submit declarations on time

Read Notice 60: Intrastat general guide (opens in new tab)

You can also download specialist guides to help you with specific issues relating to completing Intrastat declarations.

How to submit a declaration

You will need to register before you can submit a declaration.

Check when you must register.

Allow 48 hours for HMRC to process your registration and send your login details to you.  These are different to the login details you use to submit your EC Sales List and VAT Returns.

You must submit your declaration within 21 days of the end of the reporting period.

If you have no trade to report, you should submit a nil return.

You can submit as many declarations as you like each month. You can do this by:

Commodity codes

You will need to enter a commodity code in your declaration for each item you trade. This is a numeric description that classifies your goods.

You can search UK Trade Info to find the right commodity code.

You can also use the Trade Tariff tool (opens in new tab) to search for import and export commodity codes as well as the tax, duty and licenses that apply to goods.

If you are not sure how to classify a good, you can find out more about ways to help you to find a commodity code (opens in new tab). This includes getting advice from HMRC to find the right code.

Get help

If you need help with submitting your declaration, email intrastratenquiries@hmrc.gov.uk.

Submit using the online form

If you only need to enter a few lines of data, using the online form is a good option.

You will need to register to get your username and password. 

You will need to fill in separate forms for:

  • arrivals (goods entering the UK)
  • dispatches (goods sent to EU countries)

The online form will check the data you enter for errors before you submit your declaration.

For your security, we will sign you out of the service after 30 minutes. If you are timed out, you will need to enter the data again.

You can enter up to 20 lines of data using the form. If you need to submit more lines, submit another form for the same period.

If you need to submit over 20 lines of data, consider using the option to upload a CSV file that you can prepare offline.

If you need to enter over 20,000 lines of data, consider using Electronic Data Interchange.

Read guidance on how to submit an amendment.

Submit using a CSV file

A CSV file is a file where data is separated by a comma rather than columns.

You can submit your declaration using a CSV file that you have prepared offline.

Download a guide to using a CSV file (PDF: 307KB)

Format to use for CSV files

Each file can contain up to 20,000 lines of data. If you need to enter more than 20,000 lines, consider using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to submit your data.

For trader CSV files:

  • the first line is the header details
  • subsequent lines are for data

For agent CSV files:

  • the first line is the agent header details
  • the second line is the trader header details
  • subsequent lines are for data

Check the technical specification for CSV files (PDF: 40KB) to find the format required for the file. 

Create a CSV file

You can produce your CSV file with most spreadsheet software, or use our prepared spreadsheets (also known as the 'CSV generator tool').

The file name must be no more than 5 characters plus the file extension (for example, 12345.csv).

Using the prepared spreadsheets ('CSV generator tool')

Replace the example data in the spreadsheet with your own, and then save it as a CSV file.  

Download the Trader spreadsheet (XLS: 21KB)

Download the Agent spreadsheet (XLS: 21KB)

How to submit the file

If you have registered, you can upload the CSV file using the Intrastat online service.

Before you upload, you should check the file for errors to make sure it is formatted properly, as we only accept files without errors.

Problems uploading your file

When you upload your file, the online service will check the data in the file and highlight any errors for you.

If there is an error, you will need to fix this and upload the file again.

Data formatting rejections

If your upload is rejected, you can correct it by either:

  • amending the file in a text editor
  • formatting the spreadsheet as text

Amend the file in a text editor

Amend the file by opening a text editor such as Notepad on your computer.

You will then be able to open the file, make any changes and save them.

Data formatting rejections

Properly formatted cells saved as CSV can lose their formatting once the file has been re-opened in Excel.

If you are using spreadsheet software, make sure the relevant cells are formatted to show leading zeros.

To change a cell containing numbers to a text cell, you should:

  1. Right-click the cell.
  2. Select ‘Format cells’.
  3. Go to the ‘number’ screen, highlight ‘Text’ and select ‘OK’.
  4. Retype the data.
  5. Save the file again.

This will also correct VAT Registration Numbers where the leading zeros have been dropped, or where Excel has converted the number to scientific format (for example, 123456789012 converted to 1.23457E+11).

Submit using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

You can submit your declaration via email attachment.

To do this, you must convert the data to the Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) Standard.

You can convert the data using HMRC's EDIFACT Technical Interface Specification (TIS).

Read the TIS and appendices (opens in new tab) for details of the technical specifications. You will also find details of how to arrange a test transmission before you submit your declaration using EDIFACT.

For more information on EDIFACT contact:

HM Revenue and Customs
Trade Statistics and Customs Analysis, ECU
3rd floor Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
Essex SS99 1AA

Telephone: 03000 592879
Email: ecu@hmrc.gov.uk

How to correct data you have submitted

Correct existing data

You need to correct a declaration if both of the following apply:

  • the error relates to commodity code, value, country, or goods declared in an incorrect period
  • the value of the error on a single data line in the declaration is more than £10,000

Fill in an amendment form to correct the information on your declaration.

Add omitted trade entries

If you need to add a new trade entry to a previous declaration, you must submit a new declaration.

Withdraw a declaration or change its period

You cannot withdraw a full declaration or change its period online.

Send your request to intrastatenquiries@hmrc.gov.uk with details of the changes you need to make.