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The future of Intrastat

Amendment status of EU regulations on Intrastat

In order to reduce the burden on PSIs, the EU Commission’s EEA committee and Committee for Foreign Trade Statistics approved the initiation of planning a SIMSTAT project (Single Market Statistics) in 2012. Its proposition was that all member states collect EU internal export data but that the internal import data is constructed based on the export data collected by the other countries. The export data collected would be expanded to at least include information about the trading partner, but in the future, the member states would be able to make decisions on a national level about the collection of import data (member states are still responsible for their statistics).

The SIMSTAT project was carried out during 2012 - 2016. Finland coordinated a pilot project including 17 member states from September 2013 to September 2014. France coordinated a test project including 21 member states from November 2014 to December 2015. The projects were successful and showed that the microdata of the country of export can be used as an alternative information source about the country of import. The multilateral data exchange agreements included in the SIMSTAT project ended at the end of 2017, and in accordance with the agreements, all member states have destroyed the export microdata received during the project, in which the Statistics Director of Finnish Customs acted as agreement coordinator.

As a result of the SIMSTAT project, two new variables will be added to the Intrastat data collection on intra-Community exports: “VAT number of trading partner” and “country of origin”. The exchange of microdata on EU exports would be mandatory, but it would be optional to use the microdata in EU import statistics. The timetable for the collection of export data is to be observed by all PSIs in all member states, and the quality requirements are to be harmonised. As of April 2016, the working title for the reform in the Commission has been ”Intrastat Modernisation”.

Business Statistics (EBS) in which the current EU regulations on business statistics are merged was in preparation for several years. One of its modules is statistics on EU-internal goods trade, the so-called Intrastat module, in which the amendments referred to in the “Intrastat Modernisation” are included. The EBS Basic Regulation (BA) proceeded from the Commission to the Council at the end of 2016 and the Council’s Statistics Working Group reached a compromise the end of 2018. The EBS entered into force in 1.1.2021, but the mandatory Intrastat micro data exchange entered into force one year after the basic regulation, that was as of 1.1.2022. The EBS basic regulation (EU 2019/2152) has been published in Official Journal at 17 December 2019.

Intrastat's upcoming changes in Finland

For Finland’s part, the change means that the publication timetable for the international trade in goods statistics would remain unchanged. The biggest risks are that some member states do not comply with the agreed timetables and that the data collection of the new variables is of poor quality. Through the modernisation of Intrastat, the aim of Finnish Customs is to mainly end Intrastat declarations of EU internal imports per company during a transitional period of a few years, when microdata received from other countries replaces it. There would be more than 2,000 companies left as Intrastat export declarants, in addition to which there are also same amount Intrastat import declarants (sentence updated on June 7, 2024).

In 2022, any member state have yet used export microdata collected by other member countries. In 2023, Denmark was the first member state to start using export microdata collected by other member states in the statistics of EU imports by SMEs (=small and medium size enterprises). Finland does not yet use export data collected by other member states for statistics on EU imports, because qualitatively sufficient company-specific substitutability has proven to be very small in Finland.

A new statistical method is being developed in Finnish customs statistics, which adapts to the method used by Denmark. From December 2023, the necessary VIES data have been available from the Finnish Tax Administration for this purpose faster than before. The goal is to get the new method into use beginning the year 2025, when some companies would be removed from reporting obligations for Intrastat imports (paragraph updated on June 7, 2024). Finnish customs will inform about this on this website and directly to the companies in question.

The EU member states have also agreed on standard data security requirements in connection with processing statistical data on specific companies, and therefore data security audits (ISO27001, ISO27002) will be carried out in all member states. In Finland, data security audits has been passed.

Amendment status of data to be declared in Intrastat

In the monthly summary declaration, the value of Community acquisitions and sales is declared to the tax authorities. Customs uses this data as a framework for EU internal trade in goods. At the year 2023, there were 6 034 PSIs in Finland, whereas the number of companies practicing EU internal trade that have submitted a VAT declaration to the tax authorities was 87 770. Without Intrastat declarations, it is impossible to create specific statistical data on goods in EU internal trade. The declarants feel that the declaring of CN headings is the most straining. In Finland, only the minimum amount of data allowed by the EU regulations is collected through Intrastat. The amount of data to be declared in Intrastat declarations has been reduced, for example as follows:

  • In 2008, the field Statistical value was considered as the fifth most time-consuming to fill in. From the declarations for January 2010 onward, declaring the statistical value has been optional for all businesses. Despite this, according to the 2014 burden measurement, the way the declarants felt about filling in this field had not changed. Customs would like to remind Intrastat declarants that it is not mandatory to declare the statistical value.
  • In 2008, the field Net mass was considered the third most time-consuming. From the declarations for January 2011 onward, declaring the net mass (kg) has been optional for commodity codes with a supplementary unit. According to the 2014 burden measurement, however, the declarants’ perception of the difficulty of declaring net mass increased by eight percentage points, and net mass became the second most time-consuming field to fill in.

Amendment status of ways to submit Intrastat declarations

There are several ways to submit Intrastat declarations:

Intrastat Declaration Service has also the amendment notifications function, which can announce corrections and deletions to declarations previously made to the declaration service.

Finnish Customs have stopped supporting operator-based message exchange in the Intrastat system (EDIFACT)at September 2021.

More information about the future of Intrastat:
Statistics Director Olli-Pekka Penttilä, Tel.: 040 332 1862.