Intrastat system - statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States
The European Parliament and the Council have adopted a new regulation on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States. This regulation makes the unprecedented system of data collection which is currently in place (the Intrastat system) more transparent and easier to understand.

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91.

Intrastat, which has been in operation since 1993, is the system for the provision of statistical information on dispatches and arrivals of Community goods. The provision of statistics is essential for the development of Community policies on the internal market and for Community enterprises to analyse their specific markets.

In order to simplify the current Intrastat system and make it easier to understand the statistics, this Regulation establishes a common framework for the systematic provision of Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States. It applies to the statistics on trade between Member States for the dispatches and arrivals of goods. Different rules may apply to specific goods or movements.

National authorities set up and manage a register of intra-Community operators made up of consignors and consignees. The parties responsible for providing information * for Intrastat are identified by the tax administration in the Member State in question and the information is passed on to the national authorities.

For the Intrastat system, the customs authorities provide the national authorities with statistics on dispatches and arrivals of goods. The national authorities collect the following data:

  • the identification number allocated to the party responsible for providing information;
  • the reference period;
  • the flow (arrival, dispatch);
  • the commodity;
  • the value of the goods;
  • the quantity of the goods;
  • the partner Member State;
  • the nature of the transaction.

The Member States decide on their own ways of supplying the Intrastat data. The task of the parties supplying this information can be simplified by the use of automatic data processing and electronic data transmission.

Each month, Member States provide Eurostat with results which cover their total trade in goods in electronic form.

This regulation simplifies the Intrastat system in order to take better account of users' needs and reduce the burden of response on the parties responsible for providing the information. The Member States define the annual thresholds for intra-Community trade and send the information on the thresholds to Eurostat. For values below these thresholds, the information providers are not obliged to provide information or may do so in a simplified format. However, when defining these thresholds, Member States must ensure that the information provided covers at least 97 % of the value of the relevant Member State's total trade.

Member States must ensure the quality of the data transmitted in accordance with the standards in force and they must send Eurostat a yearly report on this quality.

The Committee for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States is given the task of assisting the Commission in applying this regulation.

This Regulation shall apply from 1 January 2005 and repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 as of this date.

Key terms used in the act
Parties responsible for providing information: natural or legal persons registered for VAT in the Member State of dispatch or arrival of goods who are involved in the dispatch or delivery of goods.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 [adoption: codecision COD/2003/0126] 27.04.2004 - OJ L 102 of 07.04.2004

Last updated: 02.12.2005