Who provides Intrastat information?
The information providers are companies involved in internal trade and subject to VAT. For each calendar year, every Member State shall define a statistical threshold limit based on the value of the annual arrivals and dispatches. This limit shall be specified by each Member State so that as many of the smallest importers and exporters as possible are exempt from submitting statistical declarations while the quality standard of the statistics still remains adequate. Data on the total value of the internal trade of those minor companies exempt from the obligation to submit declarations is included in the monthly arrivals and dispatches value statistics without specification.
The obligation to submit declarations is defined according to those total values of the intra-Community acquisitions and sales that the buyer or seller of the goods declares to the tax authorities in the tax return.
Once a month the Tax Administration provides Customs with data on the total values of company-specific sales and acquisitions within the internal trade (section 311 Sales of goods to other EU Member States and section 313 Purchase of goods from other EU Member States in the tax return), on which basis the commencement of the obligation to provide information is defined during the statistical year. This data are also used in the production of statistics for control purposes in monitoring the realization of the company's obligation to provide information.
The commencement of the obligation to provide information is specified separately for acquisitions (arrivals) and for deliveries (dispatches):
If the value of the arrivals or dispatches exceeds the statistical threshold, calculated from the beginning of the calendar year, a notification of the commencement of the obligation to provide information is sent to the company together with the required material and instructions relating to Intrastat. Thus the company need not monitor whether the thresholds are possibly exceeded. In practice, the obligation to provide information commences with the month following the notification, or the month after that. After this the obligation is in force without interruption.
The responsibility for providing Intrastat information
The parties responsible for providing the statistical data on arrivals and dispatches are specified in the Basic Regulation on internal trade within the EU No 638/2004, amendment No 222/2009 art. 7.
The primary responsibility for providing the information lies with the party having incurred the contract (transport agreement excluded) concerning the acquisition (arrivals) or delivery (dispatches) of goods (see examples 1, 2 and 3).
The secondary responsibility lies with the consignee of the goods when arrivals are concerned, and with the consignor when dispatches are concerned, or with the party retaining the goods to be delivered or dispatched (see example 4).
The Finnish company FI sells goods to the Swedish company SE, and FI also delivers the goods directly to SE.
This is so-called normal trade, in which the seller also delivers the goods directly to the buyer. FI includes these deliveries of goods in it's statistical declaration.
The Finnish company FI 1 sells (Finnish invoice including VAT) goods to another Finnish company, FI 2, and FI 2 sells (intra-Community supply) the goods further to the Danish company DK. The goods are delivered directly from FI 1's warehouse to DK in Denmark.
FI 2 includes these deliveries of goods in its Intrastat declaration, although the goods were physically sent directly from FI 1's warehouse.
The Finnish company FI 1 buys (intra-Community acquisition) goods from the Austrian company AT and sells (Finnish invoice including VAT) them further to another Finnish company, FI 2. The goods are delivered directly from Austria to FI 2 in Finland.
FI 1 includes these deliveries of goods in its Intrastat declaration, although the goods were physically sent directly to FI 2.
The Finnish company FI 1 sells “raw products'' to the Italian company IT , and the goods are delivered to another Finnish company, FI 2, for processing. After the processing FI 2 delivers the goods to IT in Italy.
In order to avoid reporting the same statistical data twice, both Finnish companies cannot include the goods in question in their statistical declaration. FI 2 includes these deliveries of goods in its Intrastat declaration since it retains the goods to be consigned.
NB! The value of the processed goods is the value of the raw product + processing costs. The value of the raw product is the price which would be invoiced for the product in the event of a normal purchase or sale.
Failure to comply with the obligation to provide information
Failure to submit data within the set time limit causes a delay in the publishing of statistics. The regulation of the European Parliament and Council on statistics on the trade between Member States calls for nationally stipulated sanctions for failure to provide statistical information (Regulation No 638/2004, art. 7).
In Finland, section 96(1) of the Customs Act No 304/2016 regulates failure to submit Intrastat declarations. A surcharge for fault is imposed if statistical data has not been submitted within the time prescribed. The surcharge for fault is imposed monthly, separately for each failure. The surcharge for fault may also be imposed if inaccurate data is submitted intentionally.
Points to consider
At the request of the company, Customs Statistics may also provide reporting unit codes (INT codes) to be used in the internal trade. These codes are added after the VAT number. This method is most often used in cases where the company has offices in different locations and each office wants to submit a statistical declaration of their own, due to practical reasons. Removals and additions of the obligation to provide information, however, are always based on the arrivals or dispatches of the whole company.
The party obliged to provide information may partly or completely have the statistical declaration done by an agent. The agent's tasks may also be split up between several agents. The responsibility for sending the data and for the accuracy of the data, however, always remains with the party obliged to provide information (the Basic Regulation on internal trade within the EU, No 638/2004, art. 7). If the company uses an agent for making the declaration, details relating to the agent must be given to Customs Statistics via e-mail: intrastat(at)tulli.fi (name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, contact person, VAT code).
The agent may also supply this information personally to Customs Statistics.
Distance selling means mail order sales and other sales in which the seller takes care of sending the goods to private persons or persons comparable to them in the country of destination. In Finland, a foreign company engaged in distance selling must register for tax in Finland, if the value of the annual sales to private persons exceeds EUR 35 000.
The obligation of a company engaged in distance selling to provide information on internal sales within the EU is defined according to the same general principles that apply to others subject to the obligation to provide information, i.e. when the threshold value set for the respective calendar year is exceeded.
If a company's VAT number is modified due to a change of ownership, name, locality, legal status or any similar change, the company is still subject to the same statistical obligations as before the change. Changes of the VAT number or other changes relating to the obligation to provide information, e.g. the cessation of activity, must be reported to Customs Statistics by e-mail: intrastat(at)tulli.fi. The Changes Report Form can also be used for reporting such changes. The form is available on the Customs website at http://tulli.fi/en/intrastat/the-changes-report-form.
If there is a change of address and/or contact person in the company, this should be reported to Customs Statistics by e-mail: intrastat(at)tulli.fi. The Changes Report Form can also be used for reporting such changes. The form is available on the Customs website at http://tulli.fi/en/intrastat/the-changes-report-form.
In order to be able to respond to possible enquiries on statistics, the data in the statistical declarations should be preserved for at least two years after the end of the year of compilation. Due to practical reasons Customs Statistics recommends that both the statistical data of the current year and the data from the two previous whole calendar years are preserved.
Customs Statistics may send the party obliged to submit declarations or the agent that this party uses an enquiry concerning the accuracy of the declared data. As a rule, the enquiries are sent within two months after the expiry of the statistical period, but enquiries may also be sent until 15 August of the year following the year of compilation. In special cases, enquiries may be made within a period of two years after the expiry of the year of compilation (for example the Eurostat enquiry).
Customs Statistics monitors whether the companies comply with their obligation to provide information by comparing value data on VAT obtained from the tax authorities with the value data of the statistical declarations. The comparison is made every month and quarterly, separately for arrivals and dispatches. If the declared total values diverge significantly, Customs sends a request for clarification to the company.
Certain deliveries of goods are not entered as intra-Community supplies or acquisitions in the VAT return. These include goods delivered for processing under contract (transaction codes 41, 42, 51 and 52) and repair (code 60), which are returned after the activity in question. These deliveries shall, however, be included in the Intrastat declaration. This way there is a difference between the Intrastat declaration and the VAT return. The transaction code, however, indicates that this difference is acceptable, and no request for clarification will be sent.
Removals from the register on information providers are implemented every spring on the basis of the VAT and statistical data on the whole previous year. In this process, the obligations of those companies falling below the threshold to report on arrivals and dispatches are discontinued. The companies concerned shall be informed of this in writing. If a company’s VAT and statistical values for the whole year remain under the threshold values, but the obligation to provide information started in the middle of the year, the company will not be removed from the register the following year.
If the company's activities change, for example if there is a total termination of business, the obligation to provide information may be discontinued even outside the yearly removals. In such cases the company is advised to contact Customs Statistics by e-mail: intrastat(at)tulli.fi.