What is an EC Sales List (ESL)?

Definition of EC Sales List (ESL)

An EC Sales List (ESL) is a report that has to be sent to HMRC by VAT-registered businesses who sell goods and services to other businesses in the wider EU.

A business filling in an EC Sales List needs to add up how much they have sold to each customer within a given time period (usually a quarter), then add that to the EC Sales List with a line for each customer.

The business must also include their customer’s local VAT number, if they know it, plus a designatory number to show whether goods or services were sold; 0 for goods, 3 for services.

It's the end of the tax return as we know it! Find out about HMRC’s Making Tax Digital plan and how it will affect you with our free guide.

If you're sending goods to the EU, you only have to report with an EC Sales List if the receiving businesses are VAT registered. All sales of services to other businesses in the EU however, whether the business is VAT registered or not, must be reported on an EC Sales List.

Sending the EC Sales List

The EC Sales List can then either be sent on paper to HMRC, or uploaded on a .csv file. Find out more about how to send the report on their website.

Got questions? Ask Emily!

FreeAgent's Chief Accountant Emily Coltman is available to answer your questions in the comments.

Bookkeeping and tax tips

We'll keep your email safe · Read our privacy policy