Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Supplementary Declaration?

Supplementary Declaration is the system for collecting data on the trade in goods between the countries of the European Union (EU). This system, known as Intrastat in most Member States, has been operating since the 1 January 1993 and, replaced customs declarations as the source of trade statistics within the EU. The requirements of Supplementary Declaration are similar in all Member States of the EU.

Trade statistics are an essential part Malta’s system of economic statistics. These are an essential part of the country’s balance of payments account and are regarded as an important economic indicator of the performance of Malta’s economy. As a very open economy, Malta is heavily dependent on international trade. Both import and export data are used as indicators of the state of health of the Maltese economy and in particular of the country’s manufacturing sector.

Trade statistics are used by Government to help set overall trade policy and generate initiatives on new trade areas. The commercial world uses statistics to assess markets internally (e.g. to gauge import penetration) and externally (e.g. to establish new markets for their goods).

In addition to the above, Malta contributes statistical information to European and international bodies such as Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities), the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

As a system, Supplementary Declaration forms an integral part of the national statistical system and it is therefore important that the data submitted is reliable and of high quality.

The supply of services is excluded from Supplementary Declaration.

Only movements that represent trade in goods are covered by Supplementary Declaration although there are some exceptions.

Why is Supplementary Declaration necessary?

The completion of the Single Market on the 1 January 1993 brought considerable benefits in terms of the freer movement of goods and less complex official requirements. Customs declarations with the EU had previously been required for all imports and exports on the SAD and in most cases goods could not continue their journey until the declarations had been accepted by Customs.

Before the 1 January 1993, the statistics outlined above were taken from these customs declarations even within the EU. In Malta, the National Statistics Office (NSO) still compiles its statistics on the basis of customs declarations. However, since these declarations shall cease to exist as from the 1 May 2004, the NSO is making the necessary arrangements with the VAT Department in order to adopt the Supplementary Declaration as the source for such statistics.

How does Supplementary Declaration work?

Import and export enterprises shall be required to submit a Supplementary Declaration to the VAT Department in respect of their consignments