Electronic purchasing card (ePC) policy

Information about policy in relation to our electronic purchasing card (ePC).

3. Value Added Tax, Transaction Fees & Foreign Transactions

3.1 On making a payment it is essential that you receive a Value Added Tax (VAT) invoice. You can only reclaim VAT paid when in receipt of a VAT invoice.

3.2 If you believe that the VAT on a transaction is recoverable, you must complete the necessary forms found on Saltire and submit a copy of the VAT invoice to the VAT Advisory Unit. If you do not identify recoverable VAT correctly when using your ePC, it could lead to unnecessary additional expenditure being incurred against your budget.

3.3 When using the ePC, you should ask the supplier to send the full item detail of the VAT information for the transaction - for each item being bought - or a VAT invoice. Business areas should contact the VAT Advisory Unit for further help.

3.4 Non-core government partners should seek advice on such matters from their own VAT advisors.

Transaction fees

3.5 We do not incur any transaction charges from RBS for transactions in GBP.

3.6 Suppliers reach agreement with their own service provider regarding the transaction charges that apply for using this method of payment. Cardholders should check with the supplier whether any service charge applies to a transaction being made and make judgement as to whether this is reasonable.

Foreign transactions

3.7 Overseas suppliers will normally charge and be paid for in their local currency (For example, for a transaction being carried out in the United States of America, the payment will be made in US dollars).

3.8 Once a supplier transmits their charge to RBS, the bank will convert this to GBP at the exchange rate applicable at the time. The commission charge is detailed separately on the card holder's transactions within SDoL. A percentage fee of 2.75% will apply to any foreign currency transactions.

3.9 All goods received from out with the UK will be subject to importation tax. When making a purchase from outside the UK it is important that you submit a VAT 5 form to the VAT Advisory Team (VAT forms can be found on the VAT section on Saltire).

3.10 When buying items valued at less than £135 via an online marketplace the VAT will be charged and accounted for by the seller. Where you have purchased goods from out with the UK and have provided your VAT registration number the business supplying the goods will zero rate the item, the VAT will then be charged by way of a reverse charge process on receipt of the relevant VAT 5 in the VAT Team. In cases where a service is received the place of supply of the service will decide on the VAT treatment. Instructions and guidance can be found on Saltire.

3.11 The VAT reverse charge process ensures that UK VAT registered companies are not unduly disadvantaged and as such it is important that you notify the VAT advisory Unit of any transactions carried out out with the UK VAT system. Where doubt exists contact the VAT advisory Unit for help. Further information on VAT can be found on Saltire.


Email: epc_mailbox@gov.scot

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