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.

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.

Disclaimer: The content included in this glossary is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this glossary. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.

Bookkeeping and tax tips

We are committed to keeping your information safe. Read our Privacy Policy to find out more.

Are you an accountant or bookkeeper?

Find out more about FreeAgent for your practice.