Introduction to Reporting of Trade Statistics in the European Union

This document provides a brief overview of the principles behind the reporting of different types of trade statistics within the European Union (EU). For detailed information about the specific regulations for trade statistics reporting that apply in your country, contact your national statistical office.

This document explains on a conceptual level the application of Intrastat, Extrastat and EU sales and which information is included in each type of trade statistics reporting.

You can use this information as input when configuring the M3 Trade Statistics module as described in Setup of M3 Trade Statistics.

Types of Trade Statistics

There are three types of trade statistics:

The governments use statistics on imports and exports as the foundation of the National Accounts. The statistics also serve as an economic indicator for single markets that can be used in setting overall trade policies and planning future transport infrastructure, for example. Companies use trade statistics to assess and show the developments of their markets.

What Is Intrastat?

Intrastat (Intra-European Community Trade Statistics) is the system set up by the European Union (EU) to collect statistics for exchange of movable and physical goods among the EU member states. The system requires exporters and importers to submit details of trade with companies in other EU member states to the local customs or statistical authority. The system replaces the customs declarations otherwise used for export, resulting in a reduced export delivery time since cross-border customs checks are eliminated.

Intrastat reporting is based on basic EU regulations that apply in all member states. However, the practical application, as stipulated by the national statistical offices, differs between the individual member states.

Intrastat statistics deal with two types of transactions: arrivals (goods imported from another EU member state) and dispatches (goods exported to another EU member state). Since the Intrastat report is based on the physical movements of goods, it is more of a logistics report than a financial report.

The supply of services is excluded from Intrastat reporting. However, services that are an integral part of the supply of goods such as freight and insurance charges for a particular supply may have to be Intrastat reported.

Intrastat is closely linked to the Value Added Tax (VAT) system and the authorities decide whether a company is required to report Intrastat based on the VAT report. However, there is one major difference between Intrastat and VAT: Intrastat follows the goods whereas VAT in most EU member states follows the invoice. (Note that VAT transactions must be created at goods receipt or dispatch in France.)

What Information Is Included in Intrastat?

Intrastat statistics contain general information such as:

Local regulations may require additional data to be included in the Intrastat report. Certain areas such as Finnish �land and Gibraltar that are part of the EU are not included in its VAT area. Goods sent to and from these areas are not to be included in the Intrastat report.

Who Are Considered Trading Partner Countries in Intrastat?

For arrivals, the trading partner country is the member state from which the goods are dispatched without some halt or legal formalities in another country apart from any transport reasons.

For dispatches, the trading partner country is the member state of final destination of the goods as it is known at the time of export.

Who Are Required to Report Intrastat?

The national statistical offices determine which companies are required to report Intrastat. Normally, though, all companies meeting the following requirements must report Intrastat:

Usually these requirements apply to countries outside of the EU but with subsidiaries in an EU member state.

The company can either report Intrastat itself or do so via an agent. The company who appoints the agent is legally responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the declared values. The Intrastat reporting can be done at company level or per division.

When and How Is Intrastat Reported?

In practice and in general, the reference period for Intrastat transactions is the calendar month during which VAT becomes chargeable on intra-EU acquisitions. Thus, Intrastat reports are normally created monthly as part of the financial department’s period-end routines and reported to a specified government authority, such as the customs authority or a statistical office.

The information can be provided electronically using an approved software, on the web or by paper form.

How Does the Intrastat Assimilation Threshold Work?

The Intrastat assimilation thresholds can differ for arrivals and dispatches. The thresholds are reviewed annually by the member states. Changes apply only from the beginning of a calendar year. If a company’s EU trade drops below the threshold in the calendar year, it must still continue to report Intrastat until the end of the calendar year.

If the annual trade in EU goods exceeds the threshold set for the following year, the company is required to submit Intrastat reports throughout the following year as well.

Local legislation may require that companies exceeding the threshold produce additional supplementary statistical declarations apart from the Intrastat report.

Which Types of Goods Movements Are Included in Intrastat?

Companies are required to declare goods which have physically moved between EU countries by way of trade even if no invoice has been received or any monetary transaction is involved:

Which Types of Goods Are Excluded in Intrastat?

The following movements of goods are normally exempt from Intrastat reporting:

How Are Goods Classified in Intrastat?

Goods are classified using the official commodity codes (also called CN codes) defined in the Combined Nomenclature (CN). Every type of product has its own code. Finding the correct commodity code for your goods is one of the most important parts of the Intrastat setup. For arrivals, consult with the supplier to ascertain that you use the same commodity codes; the customs authorities cross-check to verify that you use the same codes.

In M3, the customs statistical numbers also serve as commodity codes. A customs statistical number is selected for each combination of item and facility.

What Constitutes the Statistical Value in Intrastat?

For Intrastat, the statistical value of the goods is in most cases the taxable amount determined for VAT purposes. The statistical value is the fiscal value (which in most cases is equal to the invoiced amount) plus any additional freight cost for the transport to the border.

Intrastat requirements normally align with VAT requirements. For example, the Intrastat value is most often the invoice or contract price as is used for VAT purposes. Therefore, the declared VAT return for EU supplies and acquisitions of goods usually agree with the totals of the values that are Intrastat reported.

Situations in Which Statistical Value Differs from VAT Value

However, since there are different reporting requirements for Intrastat and VAT, there are situations in which the numbers can differ. Examples of such differences are:

Which Quantity Measurements Apply in Intrastat?

The quantity of goods, defined as the weight of the goods without any packing, is primarily documented in kilograms. For certain types of goods, a supplementary unit of measure can be used, as defined in the Combined Nomenclature.

Intrastat Considered Sources

The description of the general Intrastat regulations in this document is primarily based on the Intrastat General Guide, February 2005 (United Kingdom) and the Intrastat Handbook 2007 (Statistics Sweden).

What Is Extrastat?

Extrastat (Extra-European Community Trade Statistics) is the system set up by the EU to collect statistics for cross-border trading of movable and physical goods between EU member states and third countries (non-member states). Extrastat reporting is currently (2008) only a requirement in Germany and the Netherlands in the EU.

The main source of these foreign trade statistics are in general customs declarations (single administrative documents, SADs) that accompany the goods when crossing a state border. Extrastat is dependent on customs rules and presents an approximate total coverage. It has no links to the VAT system.

Extrastat is required for a common policy for trade and customs within the EU.

What Information Is Included in Extrastat?

Extrastat statistics contain general information such as:

Who Reports Extrastat?

Customs provide monthly Extrastat declarations to the national statistical administration based on the customs declarations of individuals and companies.

The reporting country is the member state where the goods are placed under the relevant customs procedure.

When Is Extrastat Reported?

In practice and in general, the reference period for information on Extrastat transactions is the calendar month during which the customs declaration is accepted by the national authorities.

What Is Considered Exports and Imports in Extrastat?

Exports refer to goods that leave the statistical territory (corresponding to the customs territory) of a member state for final export as well as goods destined to be processed, transformed or repaired for subsequent re-import.

Imports refer to goods that enter the statistical territory of an EU member state to be either consumed in the importing EU member state or dispatched to another EU member state, or to be processed, transformed or repaired for subsequent re-export.

Services are exempt from Extrastat reporting.

Who Are Considered Trading Partner Countries in Extrastat?

For imports, the trading partner country is the country of origin. Usually goods that are obtained entirely from a specific country originate in that country. Goods that are produced in more than one country are considered to originate in the country where the last transformation or substantial processing took place. In some cases such as returned goods or goods which have been processed in a non-member state, the trading partner country is the country in which the export formalities have been carried out.

For exports, the trading partner country is the non-member state of final destination of the goods as it is known at the time of export.

How Are Goods Classified in Extrastat?

As with Intrastat, goods are classified using the official commodity codes (also called CN codes) defined in the Combined Nomenclature (CN).

What Constitutes the Statistical Value in Extrastat?

For Extrastat, the statistical value of the goods is based on the value determined for customs purposes.

Extrastat Considered Sources

The principal source of information about Extrastat in this document is information materials from Eurostat, Statistical Office of the European Communities.

EU Sales Report

The EU sales report, also called recapitulative report, is a quarterly or monthly report of the total value of goods sold to customers in other EU member states who have a VAT registration number in that country. The customer is identified by the country and the VAT registration number.

The EU sales statistics differs from Intrastat and Extrastat in that it refers to sales – or to be more precise: invoicing – within the EU, and not the physical movement of goods. If a company sends goods which it does not invoice to a customer in another EU member state, the value of the goods must be Intrastat reported but it is not included in the EU sales report.

The EU sales report simply lists the customers and the total sales value; it does not incorporate details of the items sold or how they were delivered. EU sales transactions are to be created in the selling division whenever an invoice is made to a payer in a different EU member state and no VAT is charged on the invoice because the payer’s VAT registration number has been quoted.

Triangular trade (triangulation) is usually reported separately in the EU sales report.

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