Guidance

Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil (Excise Notice 192)

Find out about the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil (RDCO) Scheme.

Detail

This notice cancels and replaces Notice 192 (January 2019). Details of any changes to the previous version are in paragraph 1.2 of this notice.

Parts of section 5 of this notice have the force of law under the Hydrocarbon Oil (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil) Regulations 2002 and The Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992. The sections of the notice that do not have the force of law are for guidance only and are (where applicable) HMRC current view of the law as at the date of the publication of this notice. These sections of the notice do not replace or amend the law.

1. Overview

1.1 Information in this notice

This notice is about the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil (RDCO) Scheme which requires anyone intending to sell or deal in controlled oils (see paragraph 1.5) to be approved to do so.

This notice will help you understand:

  • if you’re eligible for exclusion from the scheme
  • if you qualify for annual returns
  • how you should seek registration or approval
  • your obligations to take reasonable steps to make sure that the controlled oils are only supplied to entitled end-users
  • the returns that you’ll need to make to us containing certain information about your supplies
  • what records you need to keep
  • the sanctions and penalties that will be imposed for failing to comply

1.2 Changes to this notice

This notice has been amended at:

Section Details of change
4.1 Additional information to be provided in business plans at the time of application for approval
4.3 Amended to provide clarity on our application of a fit and proper test and likeliness of approving new applications
4.5 Additional text included to explain that newly approved businesses must, as a condition of their approval, commence dealing in controlled oils within 6 months.
4.6 Amended to include a requirement to tell us if any key persons are being investigated or charged in relation to any relevant offences
4.8 Additional text included to give more information about circumstances in which approval may be cancelled
5.3 New paragraph setting out an RDCO’s responsibilities when supplying controlled oil, including making displaying of a red diesel poster and statement on invoices for kerosene supplies mandatory.
5.4 New paragraph provides information on the condition of RDCO approval in respect of the storage of controlled oils. This has caused the paragraph numbers to change in section 5
5.7 Additional guidance on General Data Protection Regulation implications for RDCOs
5.16.1 Additional guidance included relating the operation of unmanned sites by RDCOs
5.20 Additional text included on supplying controlled oil with reason to believe the oil will be used for a purpose which attracts higher duty rate
5.22 Additional text included on the responsibility of RDCOs for their employees
8.3 Additional text included to give more information on warning letters
8.4 Additional guidance included relating to payment returns, rather than just information returns
Notice Changes have been made throughout the document to clearly highlight which sections have a force of law
Notice Links to HMRC addresses have been updated
Appendix A Additional text added to question 4 of the Questions and answers about the RDCO scheme. This has caused subsequent question numbers to change

1.3 Who should read this notice

You should read this notice if you’re handling, selling or dealing, or are intending to handle, sell, or deal in, controlled oils. The scheme would include, for example, oil producers (refiners’ warehouses) and main and secondary distributors supplying end-users, both commercially and to the public (including dry brokers who do not take physical possession of the oil. Physical possession means when a person holds or stores oil in tanks on their sites, or on third party sites).

Unless you qualify for exclusion from the scheme under section 3 of this notice, you’ll not be able to carry on this activity unless you’re registered and approved by us. It’s important, therefore, that you read this notice carefully.

1.4 What law covers this notice

Primary legislation
The Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 (HODA)
The Finance Act 1994
The Finance Act 2002
The Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA)
The Finance Act 2008 Schedule 41
Secondary legislation
The Revenue Traders (Accounts & Records) Regulations 1992
The Hydrocarbon Oil (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No 3057)
The Hydrocarbon Oil and Bioblend (Private Pleasure-flying and Private Pleasure Craft) (Payment of Rebate, etc) Regulations 2008

1.5 What controlled oils are

Controlled oils are some of the products given a rebated rate of duty under Section 11 of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979, these are:

  • marked rebated gas oil (red diesel) including ultra low sulphur gas oil
  • marked rebated kerosene (paraffin, burning oil, and so on)
  • aviation turbine fuel (Avtur), aviation kerosene, JetA1, ATK

These have:

  • been marked in accordance with Regulation 4 of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Marking) Regulations 2002 (as amended by SI 2007/1416 and SI 2008/753) (excluding Avtur)
  • the marker present at the time of delivery (excluding Avtur)
  • the oil delivered to the UK market for either domestic or commercial use

2. Background and general information

2.1 Who is affected by this scheme

This scheme is for anyone who sells or deals in controlled oils. It includes:

  • places of production - refiners’ warehouses
  • import warehouses who mark oil on import

It also includes the following main and secondary distributors:

(a) dry brokers, who sell or deal in controlled oil but who do not take physical possession of that oil

(b) owners of oil in warehouse

(c) distributors who supply commercial and domestic end-users

(d) operators of duty paid oils terminals which are Registered Remote Marking Premises marking their own oil

(e) waste oil dealers who obtain rebated oil (either because it is surplus to requirements or because it is waste) and:

  • clean it themselves for onward supply as rebated oil
  • deliver to another company for cleaning and onward supply
  • supply surplus oil for use as rebated oil

(f) intermediaries who deliver fuel to the tanks of commercial ships and other marine vessels excluding private pleasure craft.

2.2 Agents

The scheme does not apply to agents (including mutual co-operatives) who arrange a supply of controlled oil on behalf of someone else (a principal) where the:

  • supplier of the oil has accepted that the customer is the end-user
  • controlled oil is delivered direct by the RDCO to the person or end user on whose behalf you’re acting
  • invoice issued by the RDCO is addressed to the person or end user on whose behalf you’re acting

Unless you meet all these criteria, you’ll need to apply for approval as an RDCO. This is because the supplier of the oil will not be aware of who the customer is (that is, the agent or the end user) in order to undertake the relevant checks detailed in section 5. If you handle, sell or deal in controlled oils, you’ll need to be approved as an RDCO.

2.3 Exclusions from the scheme

See section 3 for further details of distributors of controlled oil who are excluded from the scheme. In certain circumstances suppliers of plant and equipment containing controlled oil are also excluded, see Appendix B for more information.

2.4 What to do if you think you should be included in the scheme

Unless you qualify for exclusion from the scheme, you’ll need to seek approval from us in order to carry on a business as a distributor of controlled oils. See section 4 for more guidance.

2.5 Enquiries

If you have any general queries about how the scheme works, you should contact the Excise enquiries helpline. If you have already submitted an application form and you either wish to check its progress or have a specific query relating to your application then you should contact the Mineral Oils Relief Centre (MORC) by email.

If you want to check someone else’s RDCO number before selling controlled oils to them, you can either ring the Excise: enquiries helpline, or you can use the Rebated Oils Enquiry Service.

2.6 Conditions of the scheme

As an approved RDCO, you must comply with the following general conditions:

General Condition Detail Further information
Approval You must be approved before you sell or deal in controlled oil (unless you qualify for an exclusion). You must operate within the scope of your approval - for example, you should only receive and store the types of controlled oil we have approved you to deal in, at the premises notified to you in your approval certificate and covering letter. See sections 3 and 4
Supplies Distributors must take reasonable steps to make sure that their customer is properly entitled to receive the oil that is being supplied. See section 5
Returns Distributors must submit monthly returns (or annual returns if we have approved you to do so) detailing the supplies made in the period. The level of information will depend on the nature of the supply. See section 6
Records As revenue traders, distributors must comply with the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992 (see Excise Notice 206: revenue traders’ records, and any additional record-keeping requirements specified in Section 7). See Section 7

2.7 Failing to comply with the requirement to be approved

You must not deal in controlled oils until you’ve been approved by HMRC.

If, in the course of your business, you deal in controlled oils without being approved by us to do so, you’ll be liable to a civil penalty, and forfeiture of:

  • the oil that you hold
  • anything mixed with that oil
  • any container in which that oil is kept
  • any equipment kept for dispensing that oil that you hold

This includes purchases of controlled oil for which your business has no legitimate use.

The circumstances and extent of your failure to comply with this requirement will subsequently be taken into account in assessing whether you’re a fit and proper person to be approved as a RDCO.

See paragraph 4.1 on how to apply for approval.

2.8 Failure to comply with the conditions of the scheme

If you fail to comply with any of the conditions shown in paragraph 2.6, we may apply sanctions against you. These may range from warning letters, to civil penalties and ultimately a withdrawal of your approval. In the event of the latter, the only controlled oils you may deal in are those that you receive and sell in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres.

2.9 If you have a complaint

More information about our complaints procedures is available.

3. Exclusions

3.1 Who is excluded from the scheme

The scheme does not apply to distributors who receive and sell controlled oil only in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres.

3.2 What to do if you receive controlled oil in bulk and decant into pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres for onward supply

If you do this you’ll not be excluded from the scheme and will need to seek approval (as explained in section 4). However, if you only supply in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres you’ll not be required to make returns to us (see section 6).

3.3 Records to keep of these sales

Keep records to demonstrate how you have disposed of the oil. However, we only need you to keep the normal commercial documentation required under the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992. There are no additional records for the purposes of this scheme.

3.4 If you make supplies of Avtur

If you deal in Avtur (including as a dry broker) you must register with us and be approved as a RDCO to be able to carry on this activity. The usual obligations of the scheme apply. Section 5 gives details on the RDCO’s obligations. We do not, however, require submission of returns in respect of supplies of Avtur.

You should also see Excise Notice 179a: aviation turbine fuel, in particular section 3 which provides details on the delivery and storage requirements for Avtur, and section 4 which details your obligations when dealing in Avtur.

In addition, if you’re supplying Avtur for private pleasure aircraft, you should also see Excise Notice 554: fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying.

3.5 Multi-sites

If you’re a single legal entity (that is a company, partnership or sole proprietor) it’s your total operations that will be taken into account even if some of your sites qualify for exclusion from the scheme. Therefore, even if only one site fails to qualify for exclusion, you’ll need to seek approval. You’ll not, however, be required to make returns to us of any supplies you make in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres or of Avtur.

3.6 Changes in your circumstances

If your circumstances change and you no longer qualify for exclusion you should apply to us to be approved as an RDCO. This process will normally take 30 working days to complete, so it’s important that you make your application in good time and provide the information detailed in section 4 of this notice that will allow us to process your application. Without this approval you’ll not be able to trade in controlled oils. If you do so without having been approved you’ll be liable to a civil penalty and, or forfeiture of the oil. The approvals system is explained in section 4.

4. Approval

4.1 Applying for approval

You’ll need to apply to us to be approved as an RDCO if you do not qualify for exclusion (see section 3). You’ll need to give us the information that we require to decide whether you should be approved. After we’ve considered that information, and carried out any checks we think necessary, we’ll let you know whether you’re approved.

Apply using form HO4. Send the completed form to the address shown on the form.

The application form must be signed, in the case of a:

  • sole proprietorship - by the sole proprietor
  • partnership - by one of the partners
  • company - by a director, company secretary or authorised signatory

Your completed form HO4, must be supported by a comprehensive business plan which:

  • describes the nature of the proposed business - what your intended trading activity is, what products you’ll deal in (with estimates of the volumes in litres of each - including Avtur and marine fuels) and whether and how your business will differ from your competitors
  • explains why the business is being set up and why you want to deal in controlled oils
  • gives the previous owner’s and or previous business name, if you’ve taken over the business from someone
  • explain what problems or issues you may encounter and what opportunities you have identified in the sector, giving details of key competitors and any available financial incentives, including government grants
  • describes the business’s sales and marketing strategy and gives details of your intended pricing policy
  • gives financial information for your business including details of capital invested, such as start-up investments, loans, or other financing arrangements, your projected sales and costs and any HMRC debts
  • gives details of all your premises and whether they have been purchased or leased - if after approval you are found to be dealing or storing oil at premises not listed in your original application, we may take action listed within section 8 of this notice
  • gives details of key persons and their roles including:
    • full name
    • date of birth
    • National Insurance number
  • gives details of key persons with any unspent criminal convictions (an unspent conviction is one that has not expired under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) in respect of any offence of dishonesty, fraud, terrorism or organised crime
  • gives details of any key persons currently under investigation for, or charged with, any offence of dishonesty, fraud, terrorism or organised crime
  • lists your important assets such as premises and equipment - you should include full details of vehicles, storage tanks and pumps used by the business
  • indicates whether or not fuel will be supplied to customers while your premises will be unattended for any period of time
  • explains how you’ll meet your obligations as an RDCO including any specific provisions and robust controls you’ll put in place if any of the sites are to be unmanned, either temporarily or permanently
  • gives details of the arrangements that you have in place to make sure the security of the stock (for example secure systems, CCTV)
  • gives details of health and safety measures that you have in place for the protection of employees, customers and visiting HMRC officers

Key persons are those who have an important role or interest in the management, operation or financing of the business to the extent that they can be seen as one if it’s guiding minds. This includes any individual or business, whether or not directly involved in the day-to-day running of the business, who:

  • provides premises or equipment for use by the business
  • has a shareholding of 5% or more

Until you’re approved you cannot deal in controlled oils. It’s therefore in your interest to make your application in good time and make sure that it’s accurate and complete and gives all the information needed.

4.2 What we’ll do with your application

When we receive your application we’ll check it has been completed correctly and in full. If it’s incomplete, or is in any way unclear, we’ll ask you to supply either the missing information or clarification, or both. We will not progress your application until that’s been done.

After that (assuming there is nothing in your application to justify refusing your approval outright) we’ll perform checks to satisfy ourselves that the information you’ve given us is full and accurate and that you’re suitable for approval. These will involve checks of our records and, in the case of a company, are likely to include checks with Companies House. They may also include checks with other government departments and agencies, and with credit rating providers.

Our checks will usually include a visit to you, during which we’ll look at your premises and everything you do there. We’ll ask you for details about (but not limited to) your suppliers, customers, business plans, accounting and stock control systems, premises suitability and security and financial viability.

If we discover that the information you’ve given us is untrue or incomplete in any important aspect, your application for approval may be denied.

If these checks do not give sufficient assurance that the business is suitable for approval, we may ask for more information. Your application will be put on hold until this information is received and checked to our satisfaction.

4.3 Fit and proper test

We’ll only approve your application if we’re satisfied that you’re fit and proper to deal in controlled oils and will do so in a way that helps us protect the tax system. This means we must be satisfied the business is genuine and that you will supply controlled oils responsibly, only to customers with a legitimate use for them, and that all persons with an important role or interest in the business are law abiding, responsible, and qualified.

a) We’ll only approve you if you satisfy us that:

  • the business is genuine and commercially viable
  • your premises will be secure and suitable for storing and dealing in controlled oil
  • appropriate control will be exercised over the product, persons and vehicles entering and leaving the premises
  • all rebated fuel supplied at or from your premises will be accurately measured and recorded
  • your accounting and stock control systems will be adequate
  • you’ll give safe and secure access for our officers to all parts of your premises
  • you’ll be able to meet the obligations described in paragraph 5.2
  • everyone employed by the business is eligible to work in the UK

b) We are very unlikely to give approval if the business, or anyone with an important role or interest in the business has:

  • an unspent criminal convictions for any offence of dishonesty or for any offence linked to terrorism or organised crime or is currently under investigation or has been charged in relation to any such offences
  • previously had their RDCO registration revoked
  • previously had their application for approval as an RDCO refused, and the reasons for the refusal remain
  • at any time had strong links with, or been involved in the running of, a previously non-compliant RDCO - this includes where we have reason to believe the business is merely a continuation or resurrection of a non-compliant RDCO business whose approval was revoked by the Commissioners or cancelled at the approval holder’s request
  • been involved in any form of fuel fraud, and we’ll consider that to be the case where they’re linked to:
    • seizures of laundering equipment
    • premises on which laundered or unlawfully mixed fuel has been found
    • premises from which laundered fuel (or rebated or other blend of fuel) has been supplied
    • deliveries of rebated fuel to places where laundering or unlawful mixing has taken place
    • smuggling of fuel from outside the UK
    • illegal mixing or extending of rebated fuel or fuel taxed at the road fuel rate
    • the misuse of rebated fuel, whether they misused the fuel themselves or in any way negligently, recklessly or knowingly assisted another person to misuse rebated fuel
  • had oil or vehicles or any other revenue goods seized from them
  • a history of fraudulent behaviour, including misrepresentation or identity theft
  • dealt in controlled oil without approval, particularly if they have continued to deal in controlled oil following notification by HMRC or if we have any other evidence they were aware of the requirement to be approved

c) In addition, we’re unlikely to approve an applicant if we have evidence that they, or any person with an important role in the business:

  • is an undischarged bankrupt
  • is the subject of an undischarged sequestration order
  • has been subject to a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • is associated with known non-compliant persons or fraudulent businesses
  • has been involved in attacks against or abuse of tax repayment systems
  • has a reckless attitude to their tax responsibilities
  • has outstanding, unmanaged, HMRC debts or a history of poor payment
  • has a poor revenue compliance record (for example poor record keeping in spite of warnings)

These lists are not exhaustive, we may refuse to approve you for reasons other than those listed, if we have justifiable reservations about your suitability to deal in controlled oils.

4.4 Granting or refusing approval

If we accept your application, we’ll issue a certificate of approval. You should check the accuracy of the details on the certificate which should be kept in a safe place and made available to our officers on request. You should report any inaccuracies immediately to the Mineral Oils Relief Centre by email.

We’ll only grant an approval for oils for which you have a genuine business need. In addition we’ll only grant approval for premises which we consider suitable to receive and store rebated fuels.

All of the oils and premises for which you’re approved will be listed on your approval certificate, plus details of any conditions that we have placed on your approval.

Refusing an approval is not a decision that is taken lightly, and is based on evidence that could be put before a tribunal. The reasons for refusal are set out in a letter to the applicant. The refusal is subject to appeal, and your rights and procedures for requesting a review of the decision will be included in the letter.

For more information on HMRC review and appeal procedures see Disagree with a tax decision.

4.5 Conditions and restrictions

This paragraph has the force of law.

You must not deal in controlled oil types and from premises not listed on your approval certificate without providing the required notice to us (see paragraph 4.6)

Where we have concerns regarding certain areas of your business we may grant approval but impose other specific conditions or restrictions in order to address these concerns. We’ll advise you of our decision and outline the conditions giving you sufficient time to put systems and processes in place to meet these conditions. Once these concerns have been addressed to our satisfaction, we’ll remove the conditions from the approval. If these concerns have not been addressed fully and to our satisfaction we may revoke your approval. You’ll be told about our decision in writing and have the right of appeal.

Where we have imposed restrictions on your approval, these will remain in place until such time your circumstances change. At this point we’ll review the restrictions applied to your approval and advise you accordingly.

You must start dealing in controlled oil within 6 months of the date of your approval. If not, we’ll consider that you do not have a genuine business need to be approved and will cancel your approval.

4.6 Changes affecting your approval

This paragraph has the force of law.

As an RDCO you must tell the Mineral Oils Relief Centre in writing within 30 days of any change to the information contained in your RDCO approval letter or provided by you in your application form or business plan.This is a legal obligation, imposed under Regulation 5(1) of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Registered Dealers in controlled Oil) Regulations 2001.

You must advise the Mineral Oil Reliefs Centre (MORC) if any information contained on your RDCO approval letter or in your application form changes.

You can do this by writing to:

HM Revenue and Customs
(Excise Processing team)
Mineral Oils Reliefs Centre
Portcullis House
21 India Street
Glasgow
G2 4PZ
United Kingdom

a) You’ll have to complete a new HO4 application form if the status of your business changes, for example where:

  • a sole proprietor becomes a partnership
  • the approved entity is transferred to a business which is not an approved RDCO
  • there is a change in VAT number for the business

b) We’ll update your records and amend your approval if there is any change to the information given in your application, for example a change in or addition of:

  • directors of the company
  • trading name
  • premises you supply from
  • controlled oils you supply

You must also tell us immediately if any key personnel are under investigation or charged in relation to any offence of dishonesty, fraud, terrorism or organised crime or receive a criminal conviction for any such offence.

However, we’ll not automatically approve the new applicant or amend your approval until we have carried out the checks set out in paragraph 4.2 and are satisfied that the changes do not affect your status under our fit and proper test as detailed in paragraph 4.3.

We’ll notify you of our decision in writing as per paragraph 4.4.

If you’re uncertain whether the change needs a new approval or an amendment you should contact the MORC.

If you do not tell us about changes affecting your approval within 30 days, we’ll consider you’ve failed to meet your obligations as an RDCO and may take action against you. We’ll take the nature and date of the changes and the extent of any risk to tax revenue into account when deciding the appropriate action to take.

4.7 Time limits on your approval

The approval is open-ended until it is cancelled by you, if for example you stop trading or stop dealing in controlled oil, or revoked by us.

4.8 Approvals cancelled

Approvals can be cancelled either at your request, because you stop dealing in or selling controlled oil, or because we think it’s necessary, see section 8 for more details.

If you stop dealing trade in controlled oil, you must inform us immediately (within 7 days), telling us how you plan to dispose of your stocks of controlled oil within 30 days, see paragraph 4.9.

Revocation of approval

We may revoke your approval if you persistently fail to meet the requirements of the scheme. For example, if you fail to meet your obligations or fail to submit HO5 returns on time. In most cases, this is likely to be the final step in a sequence of warning letters and civil penalties. We’ll tell you in writing that we intend to revoke your approval, giving our reasons and giving you an opportunity to respond. See paragraph 6.5 and section 8.

We’ll also cancel your approval if:

  • you tell us, or we find out that, you’ve stopped dealing in controlled oils
  • you have not started dealing in controlled oils within 6 months from the date of your approval - see paragraph 4.5
  • we consider you no longer have a legitimate business need to be approved as an RDCO

We’ll tell you in writing of our intention to cancel your approval. You will not be allowed to receive or distribute controlled oils after your approval has been cancelled, except in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres.

Immediate revocation of approval

We may revoke your approval with immediate effect where we consider it’s necessary to protect tax revenue, for example if:

  • we have reason to believe your business represents an immediate, significant risk because you’ve neglected or ignored your obligations when supplying controlled oils - this may be as a result of a serious breach or a continued disregard for your obligations
  • we have evidence that you’ve been involved in or have facilitated the misuse of controlled oil or any other tax fraud - in such cases, we may also prosecute you; or as a result of any new information that comes to our attention, or that you tell us, we’re no longer satisfied that you’re fit and proper to hold an RDCO approval - see paragraph 4.3

4.9 How to dispose of controlled oil stock if your approval is cancelled

Where your approval has been cancelled at your request because you’ve stopped dealing in controlled oils, you should complete form HO83.

You can complete the form online, request one by email or by phone from the Excise: enquiries helpline.

You’ll need to give details of how you intend to dispose of any controlled oils you have in stock when you stopped trading. We need to agree how these should be disposed of.

Where HMRC has revoked or cancelled your approval you should follow the instructions in your letter informing you of our decision. You must dispose of your stock no later than 30 days after your RDCO approval is cancelled.

5. Supplying or selling controlled oil

The RDCO Scheme was introduced to support the UK Oils Strategy with the aim of identifying and tackling commercial oils fraud. Our aim under the scheme is to work in partnership with honest distributors to improve our control of the supply chain for controlled oils and to protect the legitimate trade.

Missing or incorrect data inhibits our risk analysis of supplies and our ability to target potential fraudsters so it’s essential that the detailed information required from RDCOs about the types and quantity of oil supplied is timely and accurate. We also encourage distributors to take sensible and reasonable steps to minimise the chance of controlled oil being obtained by those intent on commercial scale laundering or misuse. The key to the success of the scheme to date is good communication and co-operation between HMRC and business.

5.1 Important information

Paragraph 5.2 has the force of law under either the:

  • Revenue Traders (Accounts & Records) Regulations 1992
  • Regulation 8 (2) of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil) Regulations 2002

5.2 RDCO obligations when supplying controlled oil

This paragraph has the force of law.

As an RDCO, you must take every reasonable precaution to make sure that your supplies of controlled oil (as defined in paragraph 1.5) are only to persons who will use that oil as permitted by the law. This is a legal obligation, imposed under Regulation 8 (2) of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil) Regulations 2002.

If HMRC considers that you have failed in that obligation, they can take enforcement action against you, ranging from a variation of the conditions of your approval to a warning letter and, in more serious cases, withdrawal of your approval, civil penalties and even prosecution.

5.3 Your responsibility to supply controlled oil only for legitimate purposes

Controlled oil may only be used for purposes allowed by law for the type of oil. It’s illegal to use any controlled oils as fuel for a road vehicle, and only vehicles which are specifically excluded from the legal definition of ‘road vehicle’ may be fuelled with red diesel.

Marked rebated kerosene may only be used for heating.

You must take all reasonable precautions to supply controlled oils only for legitimate uses or to other approved dealers(RDCOs) and not to supply:

  • any type of controlled oil for use as fuel in a road vehicle
  • marked rebated kerosene or Avtur for use in an excepted vehicle or as fuel in an engine (other than to provide heating)
  • Avtur (unmarked rebated kerosene) for use other than in an aircraft
  • controlled oil to be mixed with any oil on which no rebate has been allowed
  • controlled oils with different duty rates to be mixed with each other
  • marked controlled oils for the designated chemical markers or dye to be removed
  • marked controlled oils for other substances to be added to try to prevent the chemical marker being identified

We’ll take action against you and may decide to revoke your approval if we consider you have either:

a) failed to take all reasonable precautions in making a supply or supplies

b) supplied controlled oil in circumstances where you knew, or should have known, that the buyer intended to put it to any of these illegal uses

For more information about the supply of marked rebated oils including eligible uses, see Excise Notice 75: fuels for use in vehicles and Excise Notice 179: motor and heating fuels - general information and accounting for Excise Duty and VAT. You should make sure that you’re aware of the requirements in these notices.

The following is what HMRC regards as reasonable precautions.

Your processes and systems

Your management, marketing, business processes and systems (for example, ISO 9000), operating, training procedures and practices must be robust.

You must make it clear to your customers what kind of controlled oil they’re buying and the restrictions which apply to the use of these fuels, for example:

  • partially rebated marked gas oil (red diesel) must not be used in a road vehicle
  • fully rebated marked kerosene must not be used in a road vehicle - if supplied other than for heating fuel, kerosene is liable to duty at the gas oil rate
  • aviation kerosene (Avtur) must only be delivered for use in aircraft engines

Your labelling and marketing of these products must be perfectly clear on these points. Kerosene-based products have been marketed as ‘gas oil’ which could lead to illegal motor fuel use. These products should be marked in accordance with the marking requirements for kerosene. For all supplies of fully rebated marked kerosene, your invoices must bear the statement:

Not to be used as road fuel or as fuel for any other engine, motor or machinery

For supplies of kerosene in excess of 250 litres, you must also give your customer a delivery note bearing the mandatory statement - see paragraph 5.6.

If you deal in rebated marked gas oil, you must display a red diesel poster in a prominent place on your business premises where it is clearly visible and easy to read for anyone intending to buy red diesel

The poster must be a minimum of A3 size (297mm x 420mm) and must bear the following information:

Fuelling and using red diesel in a road vehicle is illegal. If you’re caught you could lose your vehicle and face a heavy penalty. If you have information or encounter a crime involving the illegal use of red diesel, call the Customs helpline on Telephone: 0800 788 887.

If you do not display the poster to our satisfaction, we’ll treat this as failing to meet your obligations as an RDCO.

Checks on your customers

You must carry out appropriate checks on all of your customers and be accountable for all of your supplies to them. Your checks must be sufficient to satisfy you of a customer’s integrity and that they intend to use the oil supplied to them for a lawful purpose or that they are approved by us to deal in controlled oils.

In addition to the standard checks described in paragraph 5.16, you must consider the following particulars and assess whether they are lawful and consistent with each other:

  • the nature of the customer’s business
  • the nature of the controlled oil being supplied, or example, aviation kerosene (Avtur) may only be delivered for use as fuel in aircraft engines (see Excise Notice 179a: aviation turbine fuel)
  • the duty status of the controlled oil being supplied - in the case of partially or fully rebated fuels, you must be satisfied that your customer’s intended use of the fuel is permitted, for example kerosene is liable to duty at the gas oil rate unless supplied for heating fuel
  • the volumes and frequency of your supplies to them
  • the details of the movement, including the means of transport or collection, the route and the place of delivery
  • the payment arrangements and conditions

You must make sure your staff are sufficiently trained to recognise and report suspicious matters to us.

If you suspect fraud, you must report your suspicions to the HMRC Fraud Hotline.

5.4 Storage of controlled oils

It is a condition of your approval as an RDCO that you must keep all controlled oil in secure storage at the premises listed in your approval and be able, on request, to satisfactorily account for all oil that you buy and sell.

We’ll take action against you and may decide to revoke your approval if we consider you’ve not complied with any of these requirements.

In addition, you must:

  • tell us if you want to store oil at any other sites, as explained in paragraph 4.6
  • keep supplies of fully duty-paid fuels apart from controlled oils
  • store different controlled oils separately
  • take all reasonable steps to avoid mixing fuels taxed at different duty rates
  • display an indelible notice on any drum, storage tank or other container, or any delivery pump for red diesel, kerosene or Avtur stating clearly that the oil must not be used as road fuel

5.5 Delivery systems

There are 2 main delivery systems employed when delivering fuel from a tanker - dry line and wet line. Wet line delivery systems have been around for many years but the nature of the delivery system causes an issue of potential fuel contamination. Wet line contamination involves the cross contamination of road fuel with rebated fuels, which will either be red diesel or kerosene. The wet line contamination guidance covers the wet line metering system in use for trade and how to avoid contamination.

5.6 Delivery note statements

For all supplies of red diesel and Avtur, and supplies of more than 250 litres of marked kerosene, you must give your customer a delivery note, which must show the appropriate statement, as follows:

Controlled oil Delivery note statement
Marked gas oil (red diesel) This oil is not to be used as road fuel
Aviation kerosene (Avtur) Delivered duty-free as fuel for aircraft engines only. Customs’ permission must be obtained before diversion to alternative use
Marked kerosene This oil is not to be used as road fuel

See paragraph 5.3 for the statement you should put on your delivery notes for supplies of rebated, marked kerosene.

5.7 Retaining records of supplies of controlled oil

Regulation 6 of The Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992 requires information to be recorded.

The records you must keep will be determined by the nature of the supply.

This information, as shown in the table, should be retained in the normal business records, but you’re not expected to keep it in a central or dedicated file.

Supply Information to be retained in your records
Supplies made in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres. No additional records beyond those held for the purpose of conducting the business.
Supplies made directly to commercial ships and other marine vessels, excluding private pleasure craft - see paragraphs 5.9 and 5.10. No additional records beyond those held for the purpose of conducting the business. Delivery notes complying with the requirements of Excise Notice 263: marine voyages - relief from fuel duty
Supplies made to another approved RDCO. name of customer
delivery, invoice address
customer’s RDCO approval number, and
quantity by type of oil supplied
Supplies made to domestic end-users, for example, for use in heating private dwellings. name of customer
delivery address
quantity of oil or kerosene supplied, and
whatever information is already retained to identify that the customer is domestic
Marina supplies, forecourt supplies and RDCO or distributor yard supplies.  
(i) Supplies of any quantity made directly into the tank of a boat. No additional records beyond those held for the purpose of conducting the business, but see (iv).

Delivery notes must comply with Regulation 13 of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Marking) Regulations 2002.
(ii) Other supplies not exceeding 100 litres. No additional records beyond those held for the purpose of conducting the business.

Delivery notes must comply with Regulation 13 of the Hydrocarbon Oil (Marking) Regulations 2002.
(iii) Supplies exceeding 100 litres. The following information is mandatory:

name of customer
customer’s address
terms of payment
quantity by type of oil supplied
customer’s stated use
customer’s VAT number if VAT registered - see paragraph 5.11.
controlled oil is collected rather than delivered directly into the tank of a boat; you should record the customer’s vehicle registration number.
(iv) Supplies to private pleasure craft See Excise Notice 554: fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying.
All other (bulk) supplies (delivered other than in portable containers, an example being a tanker-load). name of customer
customer’s address
invoice address
customer’s phone number see paragraph 5.11
customer’s VAT number if VAT registered - see paragraph 5.10
terms of payment
if appropriate, delivery address - see paragraph 5.10
if collected, customer’s vehicle registration number; or bunkering or fuel card details
quantity by type of oil supplied; and customer’s stated use.

There are some additional record-keeping requirements in respect of supplies of Avtur. See Excise Notice 179a: aviation turbine fuel, paragraph 4.6 for more information on these.

Where we identify areas of non-compliance such as poor record keeping, we may impose conditions on your approval. We may need you to keep and provide additional information to us. We’ll write to you about any such conditions, and the date we’ll review them. You will need this information to complete your returns - see section 6. You must make your records available to our officers on request.

There may be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implications for RCDO’s because of the obligation to record and keep customer information. For advice on how GDPR affects your business, contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

5.8 Definition of ‘domestic supplies’

Supplies are for domestic use only if they’re for use in a dwelling or certain types of residential accommodation (excluding hospitals, prisons or similar institutions, hotels or inns or similar establishments). Examples are:

(a) armed forces residential accommodation

(b) caravans

(c) children’s homes

(d) homes providing care for:

  • the elderly or disabled
  • people with a past or present dependence on alcohol or drugs
  • people with a past or present mental disorder

(e) houseboats

(f) houses, flats or other dwellings

(g) hospices

(h) institutions that are the sole or main residence of at least 90% of their residents

(i) monasteries, nunneries and similar religious communities

(j) school and university residential accommodation for students or pupils, and

(k) self catering holiday accommodation

The following are treated as part of the same residential unit:

  • buildings such as garages used with houses
  • subsidiary buildings situated a short distance away, such as a garage in a block located away from a house
  • corridors, lifts, hallways and stairways in a residential unit

5.9 Definition of ‘commercial ships and other marine vessels’

Commercial ships and other marine vessels include:

  • foreign-going commercial vessels
  • coasting vessels
  • UK fishing boats
  • foreign-owned fishing boats refuelling in the UK
  • ferries, lighters, pilot boats, tugs, tenders and other similar vessels
  • certain safety, rescue vessels
  • vessels undergoing trials
  • hovercraft
  • passenger vessels used for pleasure trips

You can find more information about supplies made to ships other than private pleasure craft in Excise Notice 263: marine voyages - relief from fuel duty.

5.10 Definition of ‘private pleasure craft’

Private pleasure craft is defined as ‘any craft used by its owner or the natural or legal person who enjoys its use, either through hire or through any other means, for other than commercial purposes’.

For information about supplies to private pleasure craft see Excise Notice 554: fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying.

5.11 Definition of a ‘road vehicle’

A road vehicle is defined in Section 27(1) of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 as ’a vehicle constructed or adapted for use on roads, but does not include any vehicle which is an excepted vehicle’. Section 27(1) defines an excepted vehicle as ‘an excepted vehicle within the meaning of Schedule 1 of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act’. Schedule 1 contains the categories of excepted vehicles and how they qualify to use marked rebated gas oil (red diesel). A list of these categories can be found in Section 8 of Excise Notice 75: fuels for use in vehicles.

5.12 Information to be obtained from your customers

We recognise that some information will not be relevant to certain customers and, therefore, you’ll not be able to give it. There may also be instances where your customer is unable to readily provide certain information.

Information Action taken
VAT registration number If your customer is not VAT registered, simply note the fact.

If you’re dealing with a new customer who does not have their VAT number readily available, we’ll not need you to insist upon the customer producing it at that time. You should ask the customer to supply it as soon as possible.

For new customers, we expect you to hold this information by the time of the third delivery. But where deliveries are few and far between we would expect the information to be held earlier than this. If you do not get the customer’s VAT number within a reasonable period, this may result in a penalty for failure to meet your obligations, particularly if you continue to supply them.
Phone number If you do not hold a customer’s phone number as part of your normal business practice, we will not insist that you get it for our purposes. However, if a customer only gives a mobile phone number, you should consider this along with other indicators under paragraph 5.17 in deciding whether to make a supply.
Postcode of delivery If your customer does not have a postcode, for example, because the address is a building site, you should note your records accordingly.

If you’re dealing with a new customer who does not have their postcode readily available, you do not have to insist upon the customer producing it at that time. You should ask the customer to supply it as soon as possible.

For new customers, we expect you to hold this information by the time of the third delivery. But where deliveries are few and far between we would expect the information to be held earlier than this. If you do not get this information within a reasonable period, this may result in a penalty for failure to meet your obligations, particularly if you continue to supply them.

Special provisions apply to supplies to private pleasure craft; see Excise Notice 554: fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying.

5.13 Incorrect or false VAT numbers

We’ll check the validity of VAT numbers. You’ll have no responsibility for making sure that VAT numbers are correct. However, if it’s incorrect or false we’ll need to contact you to get other details about the customer from your records.

5.14 Customers who refuse to supply information

As a RDCO, you have an obligation when selling or delivering controlled oil and must therefore take all reasonable precautions and exercise reasonable care to make sure that you only make supplies to customers who have a legitimate use for that oil. The RDCOs obligations are covered in more detail from paragraph 5.2.

The failure of customers to give requested information could be an indication that the customer intends to misuse the oil. Although it’s your decision whether you make the supply, you should bear in mind that without this information you’ll not be able to comply with your obligations to us, nor will you be able to undertake checks to satisfy yourself that the customer will not misuse the oil. You may, therefore, leave yourself open to penalties. We have produced a leaflet for the benefit of end-users explaining that they will need to provide you with certain information in order to obtain controlled oils. A copy of this leaflet is reproduced at section 9.

5.15 Discharging your obligations

Merely recording this information does not discharge your obligations.

Although gathering the information will provide some of the material necessary upon which to make a judgement about the integrity of the supply, you’ll still need to make that judgement.

This means that under Regulation 8 (2) of the RDCO Regulations 2002 you must carry out the checks in paragraph 5.16 appropriate to your supply to satisfy yourself that the customer, and stated use of the oil, is legitimate.

5.16 Standard checks to be made on your customers

There are a number of checks that you probably already undertake in line with good commercial practice, such as credit checks and checks on whether the customer is a business or domestic user.

However, you must perform the following checks in order to satisfy us that you have taken reasonable steps to make sure the legitimacy of the supply. You should read this in conjunction with paragraph 5.17, which gives identifiers of suspicious end use.

The standard checks

Nature of supply Standard checks Frequency
Supplies made in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres. None. Not applicable.
Supplies made directly to commercial ships and other marine vessels, excluding private pleasure craft. Delivery driver’s written confirmation on delivery note that fuel supplied direct to the vessels.

This check does not apply where oil is delivered into a storage tank for later transfer to vessels. These supplies are to be treated in accordance with the instructions in ‘All other bulk supplies’.
Not applicable.
Supplies made to another approved RDCO. Interrogate our secure internet site rebated oils excise services to confirm customer details or call the Excise: enquiries helpline. You may also wish to record details of the call.

If supplies are picked up: mark the vehicle registration number on the copy load ticket.
If new customer, always check before making supply.
If a confirmed RDCO and supplies continue, check regularly to confirm approval has not been withdrawn.
It is for you to decide how frequently to check your customers approval. However, as described in paragraph 5.3, if you supply controlled oil to someone who is not approved by us, we may take action against you if we consider you have not taken all reasonable precautions when making the supply. We therefore recommend you carry out this type of check at least quarterly.
Every time delivery is made.
Supplies made to domestic end-users for supplies not exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres over a 12-month period. Report to manager if driver suspects property is not domestic. See paragraph 5.21 for further information about checks to be carried out by your staff. Every time delivery is made to a site that appears to be misdescribing itself as a domestic location.
Supplies to domestic end-users exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres over a 12-month rolling period. Report to manager if driver suspects property is not domestic. Every time a delivery is made to a site that appears to be misdescribed as a domestic location.
Marina supplies, of any quantity made directly into the tank of a boat. Check and provide written confirmation in records that the oil is delivered directly into the tank of a vessel. Every time delivery is made.
Forecourt, distributor yard or other supplies made through pump or similar dispenser not exceeding 100 litres. Make sure the customer does not put the oil directly into a road vehicle. Every time delivery, supply is made.
Forecourt, distributor yard or other supplies made through pump or similar dispenser exceeding 100 litres. Make sure the customer does not put the oil directly into a road vehicle.
Vehicle registration number.
For record-keeping requirements, see below this box.
Every time delivery, supply is made.
Bulk supplies to local authorities and public bodies. No checks required. Not applicable.
All other supplies exceeding 100 litres. Check the oil is not put directly into a road vehicle. Tell us of any suspicions immediately.
See also record-keeping requirements below this box.
Every time delivery is made.

Special provisions apply to supplies to private pleasure craft, see Excise Notice 554: fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying.

This paragraph has the force of law.

For forecourt or distributor yard supplies made by pump or similar dispenser in excess of 100 litres, under Regulation 6 of the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992, you must record the customer’s name, name of person entering the details (if different), contact details, transaction date, vehicle registration number, usage of the oil and date the last usage was checked. For all other supplies exceeding 100 litres you must record the customer name, contact details, transaction date and usage of the oil.

5.16.1 Unmanned sites

If you operate one or more unmanned sites, including a fuel card system from unmanned sites, you must be approved as an RDCO and able to meet your obligations as detailed in paragraph 5.2. All RDCOs must be able to satisfy us that they have effective controls in place to make sure only people with legitimate use for rebated fuel are able to obtain it.

In the case of unmanned sites - the person who makes the final supply of controlled oil to the end user and receives payment, including by debiting a pre-paid fuel card balance, is responsible for undertaking the required checks on their customers and their intended use of rebated fuel or for ensuring that they are effectively carried out.

In the case of fuel card operated sites - the RDCO operating the site is responsible for undertaking the necessary checks to make sure that fuel cards are only issued to, and used by, people who have a legitimate reason to buy rebated fuel. Where fuel cards are issued by a third party, the RDCO site operator should satisfy themselves that their fuel card provider issues fuel cards only to persons with a legitimate need.

These checks include but are not restricted to the standard checks at paragraph 5.15, you must be able to satisfy yourself that the customer and stated use of oil is legitimate before fuel is removed from an unmanned site.

If an operator of an unmanned site is unable to meet their obligations to our satisfaction, we may refuse their application for removal. We may also apply conditions to a new or existing approval, or consider revoking an approval where our guidance and sanctions have failed to resolve the situation. We’ll advise you of our decision in writing.

5.17 Indicators to identify suspicious end use

This paragraph has the force of law

There are circumstances, especially in combination, which could give rise to suspicion that a customer for rebated fuel may be misusing the product. These circumstances, which have been identified by the industry, are detailed below. If any of these indicators are present at the point of ordering or delivery, you should report the facts to HMRC in accordance with Regulation 9 (2) of the RDCO Regulations 2002 - see paragraph 5.24.

Checklist of suspicious supplies

The following indicators of suspicious supplies have been identified by the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and endorsed by the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association, the Downstream Fuel Association and the United Kingdom Oil Industry Taxation Committee.

If you’re a RDCO, to meet your obligations under the scheme you should make your staff aware of these indicators before they take orders or make deliveries.

Concerns at the point of ordering include:

  • mobile phone number given as the only point for contact
  • new customer with an apparent lack of concern with product price
  • full payment offered in advance of delivery as an incentive to supply
  • payment to be made in cash, by bankers draft, by fuel card or with a cheque from someone else
  • request for an unusually large volume of rebated fuel to a domestic address or other non-industrial site
  • request for gas oil and kerosene to be delivered into the same tank and the customer cannot confirm that this will not be used to power an off-road (or on-road) engine
  • sudden large increase in volumes purchased by an established customer
  • volumes that appear to be excessive for the claimed legitimate use, for example, large or frequent orders of kerosene during summer months
  • frequency of repeat orders which are not consistent with claimed legitimate use, for example, repeat order placed when volume previously delivered could not realistically have been used for the stated purpose
  • delivery required into a road tanker, or other temporary storage, or to a number of seemingly unconnected delivery points
  • large quantities of rebated fuel ordered by a transport company
  • aggressive or evasive responses to requests for details

You must pass on any suspicions to delivery staff, through management, for them to confirm or otherwise to you after delivery (but only with caution).

Concerns at the point of delivery include:

(a) either chemical or filtration plant, or both, evident, possibly with traces of solid or liquid residues noticeable at, or around, the site

(b) inappropriate product for the apparent site requirements, such as, but not restricted to:

  • gas oil to domestic premises without an appropriate heating system
  • kerosene to a haulage company or garage apparently not requiring it for heating purposes
  • Avtur to a buyer with no apparent need to use it in an aircraft

(c) site occupied by the operator of a fleet of diesel-powered road vehicles, such as taxis, coaches, and so on, or subject to frequent visits by such vehicles

(d) delivery site is a plant or scrap yard, possibly with adjacent ‘empty’ premises

(e) delivery required into a tank not normally used or into a mobile or temporary tank, including a static road tanker, an unmarked tanker or a tanker with poor quality or out-of date livery

(f) nervous or unusual behaviour by people on site, possibly with excessive site security for the type of business

(g) location known to several drivers (especially those of other companies) or other indications of frequent or multiple deliveries

(h) delivery of rebated and non-rebated fuels required into adjacent and, or interconnected tanks

(i) yard sale into one or more large drums or Intermediate Bulk Containers, and

(j) delivery required into a tank with a draw-off point at the bottom.

Suspicions, or confirmed suspicions, must be reported back to management for action; under no circumstances should they be made apparent to the customer.

5.18 What you should do if you have suspicions about a customer

The standard checks necessary to discharge your obligations in the supply of controlled oil are set out in paragraph 5.16. However, despite the precaution of standard checks being followed, there will be some occasions where circumstances arise (especially in combination) which could give rise to suspicion that a customer may be misusing the product. These circumstances, which have been identified by the industry, are detailed in paragraph 5.17.

If you have any suspicions about a customer to whom you have supplied oil you should tell us as soon as possible. You can do this by phoning our dedicated 24 hour HMRC fraud hotline.

5.19 Recording checks

If any of the indicators in paragraph 5.17 are identified after making a supply, report the facts to HMRC (see paragraphs 5.18 and 5.24) and make records of the suspicious circumstances and the action you have taken.

This paragraph has the force of law.

Under Regulation 6 of the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992, you must record details of all your checks in order to satisfy us that you have carried them out.

Based on the checks you have made and the existence of any indicators as detailed in paragraph 5.17, you should tell HMRC about the information that you have gathered and the reason for your decision if you decide not to supply.

5.20 Customers not entitled to receive controlled oil or using it for an improper purpose

This paragraph has the force of law

If you have either a suspicion based on the standard checks (see paragraph 5.16) or you have evidence that the customer is making improper use of the controlled oil by using it as road fuel, you have a duty as an RDCO to tell us immediately under Regulation 9 (2) of the RDCO Regulations 2002.

You’re advised not to supply a customer if you suspect that they do not have a legitimate use for the oil, under conditions imposed under Regulation 8 (2) of the RDCO Regulations 2002.

You must not supply a customer if you have reason to believe the oil will be put to a use which attracts a higher rate of duty. You should not make any further supplies to that customer until you have carried out the additional checks and have sufficient information to show that your cause for concern was groundless.

HMRC will take action against you if you supply a customer while having reason to believe the fuel will be misused. This includes where we consider there were sufficient indicators for you to have had reason to believe the fuel was going to be misused. This may include financial penalty up to 100% of the duty evaded and revocation of your RDCO approval.

5.21 Cause for concern after supply

When considering whether you have contravened the RDCO Regulations 2002 or failed to comply with conditions, restrictions or requirements (including any obligations imposed on you in paragraph 5.2), HMRC will take into account the extent to which you have followed the guidance set out in paragraph 5.16.

You will not be liable for any penalties, or other sanctions, provided that this is not a regular occurrence and you:

  • tell us immediately
  • obtained the information set out in paragraph 5.7
  • undertook the checks set out in paragraph 5.16
  • made the supply in good faith

We may, however, ask you to review your procedures.

5.22 Checks carried out by your staff

You’re responsible for your staff and you’ll need to make sure that they’re aware of the restrictions that apply to the use of rebated fuels and the checks that they must carry out before supplying them. As an added precaution you should consider introducing your own management checks to make sure that your staff are making these checks and are exercising proper judgement when making supplies.

Similarly, in cases where employees are found to have been in collusion with a fraudulent customer, you’re ultimately responsible for your employees. However, providing you tell us immediately you become aware of the situation we’ll take into account the action that you take against the employee, which may include dismissing the employee and reporting the matter to the police.

5.23 Notifying HMRC

This paragraph has the force of law

Under Regulation 9 (2) of the RDCO Regulations 2002 you should tell us immediately of the customer’s name, address, VAT number and postcode and of the quantity and type of oil ordered when making the decision not to supply, or receiving information after supply, which casts doubt on the customer’s legitimacy.

See paragraph 5.18 for ways of telling us about this information.

For urgent notification phone the HMRC fraud hotline.

We’ll confirm receipt of the information and give you a unique reference number, which you should note in your records.

5.24 Decisions on liability

It’s not the intention of the scheme to penalise you for genuine mistakes. In considering whether any action against you is appropriate we’ll take into account your overall compliance with the scheme, the nature of the failing which led to you making the supply and any other mitigating circumstances.

Where your failings resulted from non-compliance with the scheme, for example, failure to get any of the information at paragraph 5.7 and, or failure to undertake any of the checks set out in paragraph 5.16, we’ll investigate the cause to establish any reasonable excuse. If, however, there are no mitigating circumstances or your failings persist it is likely that we will take escalating action such as the issue of warning letters followed by civil penalties. In the most serious cases we may also consider revocation of your RDCO approval.

Section 8 sets out the penalties, sanctions and guarantees.

We may, in exceptional cases, take legal proceedings against you. For example, if you were knowingly involved in the supply and misuse of controlled oil we’ll take action against you. Such action is necessarily dependent on us having obtained sufficient evidence against you to support a prosecution.

5.26 Customer violence

Although it is a matter for your judgement whether or not to supply, we would not want you to put yourself or your staff at risk. Therefore, if you do decide to supply to a customer who has threatened violence we will not hold you liable providing you tell us immediately.

Contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline to report a customer who has threatened to use violence.

5.27 Supplying a suspicious or fraudulent customer

The (exceptional) circumstances under which we may ask you to make a supply to a suspicious or fraudulent customer to assist HMRC in enforcement action are governed by strict rules. We’ll not routinely ask you to continue making such supplies, nor should you act upon any request from our staff to do so unless you’re in possession of a written agreement.

6. Returns

6.1 The need to submit returns

You need to submit returns. However, you do not need to make returns detailing:

If you have stated in your application form that you only supply in any of these ways we will not send you return forms. Returns are needed for all other supplies, including nil returns where appropriate.

6.2 Return periods and submission dates

The return period will be a calendar month or, if you have received approval, 12 months. In each case the return must be submitted by the 21st day of the following month.

6.2.1 How you qualify to submit annual returns

Once you’ve been registered as an RDCO for 12 months (having submitted 12 consecutive returns) and your total throughput of controlled oils has remained at less than 10,000 litres, then you may want to apply for approval to submit returns annually rather than monthly.

You must make an application for approval using form HO4 supplement. If you want to start your annual return in a specific month then you should make sure that your application is with us by the 15th day of the previous month. For example, if you want your annual return to start in March, then your application needs to be with us by 15 February in order for us to process it in time.

6.3 Information you must supply

You’ll need to give certain information about your supplies, the level of which will depend upon their nature, as follows:

(a) domestic supplies - for supplies not exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres in a year, we’ll need an aggregated entry as follows:

Total quantity supplied in the period (litres) Number of customers supplied
Gas oil    
Kerosene    

Supplies exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres in a year should be reported at item (d).

(b) supplies made through pump or similar dispenser (includes forecourts, marinas, yard sales, fuel card supplies, and so on) - an aggregated entry:

Total quantity supplied in the period (litres) Number of individual supplies made
Gas oil    
Kerosene    

(c) supplies to other RDCOs - a one line aggregated entry per customer:

RDCO no Total quantity supplied in the period (litres)
Gas oil Kerosene

(d) bulk commercial supplies and domestic supplies exceeding the de minima - an aggregated total for each customer but, different delivery addresses, per delivery address, use the Excise Notice 192: table (PDF, 55.5KB, 1 page)

6.3.1 Annual returns

If you’ve been approved to submit annual returns, then you’ll have to supply cumulative figures for the full 12-month period covered by your return.

You’ll need to give certain information about your supplies, the level of which will depend upon their nature, as follows:

(a) domestic supplies - for supplies not exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres in a year, we’ll need an aggregated entry as follows:

Total quantity supplied in the period (litres) Number of customers supplied
Gas oil    
Kerosene    

Supplies exceeding 3,500 litres individually or 10,000 litres in a year should be reported at item (d).

(b) supplies made through pump or similar dispenser (including forecourts, marinas, yard sales, fuel card supplies, and so on) - an aggregated entry:

Total quantity supplied in the period (litres) Number of individual supplies made
Gas oil    
Kerosene    

(c) supplies to other RDCOs - a one line aggregated entry per customer:

RDCO No Total quantity supplied in the period (litres)
Gas oil Kerosene

(d) bulk commercial supplies and domestic supplies exceeding the de minima - an aggregated total for each customer or, where same customer but different delivery addresses, per delivery address, use the Excise Notice 192: table (PDF, 55.5KB, 1 page)

6.4 How to make the returns

6.4.1 Information returns

You may make information returns either manually or electronically. If you submit the return electronically, we’ll still send you a manual return which will serve as a reminder that the return is due.

6.4.2 Payment returns

If you supply controlled oil to private pleasure craft, payment returns should be submitted manually. We will send you a return in good time for you to file it by your accounting date.

6.5 What happens if you submit inaccurate or late returns

There are civil penalties for failure to render returns on time and also for making false or incorrect declarations. If your return has not been received by the due date, we’ll remind you by letter. We can allow further time for submission of the return if we are satisfied there is a good reason for the delay.

Where possible, will try to resolve any errors in your return with you.

Persistent lateness or non-submission of returns may, however, result in the withdrawal of your RDCO approval.

We recommend that you get and keep proof of postage when submitting your return.

These sanctions are subject to the appeal provisions contained in the Finance Act 1994. If we impose any of these sanctions we’ll offer you a review and tell you about your right of appeal.

If you disagree with the decision, you may either accept the review offer or appeal to the independent tribunal. If you accept the review offer, but do not agree with the review conclusion you’ll still be able to appeal to the independent tribunal. More information is available on HMRC’s review and appeal procedures at Complaints and Appeals (Indirect taxes).

You should also read Excise Notice 209: civil penalties - fixed, geared and daily, and Section 8 of this notice which gives details about the sanctions we may impose.

6.6 Problems sending returns electronically

If you attempt to send your return electronically but our systems are down you’ll not be in breach of the 21 day time limit for submitting the return. We’ll tell you when the system comes back on line so that you can submit the return.

7. Revenue accounts and records

7.1 General

RDCOs must keep revenue records and accounts of controlled oil that they have received and supplied. Excise Notice 206: revenue traders’ records contains the law and records that you must keep.

7.2 Units of quantity you must use

You must declare the quantities in ordinary (ambient) litres to the whole number.

7.3 Records you must keep

You’ll need to keep the information referred to in section 5, in particular the details of the customers you have supplied (paragraph 5.5) and the checks that you have carried out (paragraph 5.14).

7.4 How long you must keep records

You must normally keep your relevant business records for 6 years. If, however, this causes problems contact the Excise enquiries helpline. You must get our agreement before destroying any of your relevant business records that are less than 6 years old.

8. Action taken if you fail to meet your obligations as an RDCO

8.1 General

Our priority is that you understand your obligations and are able to comply with them and wherever appropriate we’ll assist you to do so. However, we’ll take all circumstances into account in determining the appropriate response to non-compliance and have the power to take action against you as explained in paragraph 8.3, 8.4 and 8.5. The actions described have the force of law. The sanctions and penalties in paragraphs 8.3, 8.4, and 8.5, will normally be applied in an escalating scale of action against you, depending on the nature of the contravention. In the majority of cases we would expect that the lesser sanctions will have the effect of improving compliance, and that withdrawal of approval would be the exception rather than the rule. The scale of action we’ll take is as follows:

Stage Action
1. Warning letters
2. Civil penalties (if appropriate) and assessment for duty due
3. Withdrawal of approval

All of these stages will be well documented and you’ll be given written notification at each stage. If you feel that you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for any particular failing you should make your case in writing and we’ll take it into account in deciding whether the sanction should be maintained.

See paragraph 6.5 on submission of HO5 returns and the sanctions applicable.

8.2 Advice and guidance

For minor irregularities, we usually offer advice to help you get things right before we consider taking any further action over a failure to comply with our requirements.

8.3 Warning letters

These will be issued where our advice and guidance has failed to resolve non-compliance or if we consider that the circumstances warrant an immediate warning. A warning letter will advise you that should there be further non-compliance with any of your obligations, we may proceed to civil penalties and, ultimately, withdrawal of approval.

8.4 Civil penalties

The penalties available to us are civil penalties of £250 for each contravention including, where appropriate, daily penalties of £20. Daily penalties will be applied from the 46th day after the original penalty was imposed if it remains unpaid.

Situations where such penalties may be imposed include failure to:

  • submit returns by the due date
  • make complete and accurate returns
  • where applicable make payment of any duty due by the due date (for private pleasure craft supplies)

There is also a penalty for wrongdoing - such as knowingly supplying rebated fuel for road use, or putting controlled oil into a road vehicle.

This can be up to 100% of the duty due.

8.4.1 Private pleasure craft

Where a business has failed to submit a return and duty payment by the required date, they will be issued with a warning to submit both the return and payment either within 20 days or they will be issued with a civil penalty of £250 or 5% of the duty due, or both, whichever is the greater amount. This could also result in an assessment being raised to recover the duty due. We’ll also consider changing the return period to monthly or quarterly, and if appropriate, revocation of your RDCO approval.

8.5 Revocation of approval

This situation is likely to arise where we’re no longer satisfied that you are a suitable person to be approved - see paragraph 4.3. Any decision to revoke an approval will not be taken lightly and will be fully supported by written evidence. In such cases, we’ll set out our reasons for refusing or revoking your approval in a letter.

8.6 Financial guarantees

We have the power to require financial security for amounts that may become due from the RDCO (by way of repayment of rebate). However, it will not be a routine requirement and will only be imposed in exceptional cases, as an additional condition, that is, where we have justified concerns about the conduct of the RDCO to the extent that we consider the revenue to be at risk.

8.7 Appeals

The penalties and sanctions are subject to the appeal provisions contained in the Finance Act 1994. If we impose any of these sanctions we’ll offer you a review and tell you about your right of appeal.

If you disagree with the decision, you may either accept the review offer or appeal to the independent Tribunal. If you accept the review offer, but do not agree with the review conclusion you’ll still be able to appeal to the independent tribunal. More information on HMRC’s review and appeal procedures is available.

8.8 Assessments to the repayment of rebate

We have the power to issue a revenue assessment to any person who:

  • uses controlled oil in a road vehicle
  • is the person liable for the oil being taken into a road vehicle

Providing you, as a distributor, are not involved in the fraudulent misuse of the controlled oil, you’ll not be liable for the duty involved. Consequently, we would not seek recovery of duty from you. This applies even where you may have failed to carry out any checks, although in cases of such negligence you may be liable to other sanctions such as a civil penalty or ultimately withdrawal of approval. This will be established by reference to your compliance with section 5.

8.9 Criminal proceedings

If you’re involved in fraudulent activity in contravention of any of the relevant legislation, we’ll seek to prosecute. The extent of the evidence available will determine such action. Such proceedings may also seek to recover from you repayment of rebate. There are severe penalties for fraud including unlimited fines and up to 7 years’ imprisonment.

9. Leaflet for customers

Buying red diesel or rebated kerosene/paraffin for your own use.

Your rights and obligations

Read Your Charter to find out what you can expect from HMRC and what we expect from you.

Your comments or suggestions

If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, write to the Fuel Duty Policy Team at:

HM Revenue and Customs
Excise Fuel Duty Policy
3rd Floor West
Ralli Quays
3 Stanley Street
Salford
M60 9LA

This address is not for general enquiries.

For your general enquiries phone the Excise enquiries helpline.

Putting things right

If you’re unhappy with HMRC’s service, contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They’ll try to put things right.

If you’re still unhappy, find out how to complain to HMRC.

How we use your information

Find out how HMRC uses the information we hold about you.

Appendix A - questions and answers about the RDCO Scheme

1. Approval for plant-hire firms who supply controlled oil

Read along with Appendix B.

Approval for plant-hire firms who supply controlled oil will depend on how the fuel is supplied by them.

If fuel is supplied in the vehicle or machinery as part of the hire contract, this fuel is considered to have been put to a legitimate use by the hire firm. In this case, the supply is of the machinery, not the fuel. The invoice or hire contract should confirm that the vehicle or machinery is supplied with fuel for its use. However the important point is how the fuel is supplied as opposed to the way the way the fuel is invoiced.

If the hire firm offers a service of supplying fuel separately, that is, not within the machinery, whether or not with a hired vehicle or machinery, the firm will need to obtain approval. This includes subsequent supplies of fuel in addition to fuel supplied in the vehicle or machinery, or supplies that exceed the capacity of the vehicle or machinery’s fuel tank. In these cases, the supply is of the fuel, and the hire firm is not the end-user of the oil.

However, if the hire includes the services of a driver or operator of the vehicle or machinery who will be in attendance for the duration of its use, the hire firm will not need to obtain approval. This is because the hire firm is the ‘end-user’ and the supply to the customer is a service, not a supply of oil. Any surplus fuel not used in the operation of the vehicle or machinery must not be supplied to the customer or any other persons, even if they have a legitimate use for rebated fuel.

2. Approval if person hiring the plant returns it to the plant-hire company with a full tank of oil sourced from their own stocks

A person will not need approval for this. The final fill of the tank in hire vehicles or machinery for return to the hire company is considered to be part of their use of the oil and not a supply.

3. Plant-hire companies dealing with oil returned in the tanks of hired-out plant

We would not expect the plant-hire company to account for the receipt of the oil in their records. When the plant is hired out again, even if to the same person, they would account for the oil supplied in the vehicle or machinery on the invoice.

4. Approval for companies who hire out aircraft with fuel to other persons or business

Companies will need to be approved. This is to make sure that the excise duty on Avtur used in private pleasure flying is correctly accounted for. See Notice 554 Paragraph 12.1. Fuel used in corporate aircraft to transport a business’s own staff, directors or equipment is defined as private pleasure flying unless there is consideration for the transportation provided.

RDCO’s have an obligation to make sure they only make supplies to customers who have a legitimate use for the oil that is supplied, considering the rate of duty paid on it. This includes an obligation to collect a declaration from the purchaser if the fuel is to be used for private pleasure flying, and to inform them of the requirement to pay duty to HMRC.

5. Approval for farmers who allow contractors working on their land to fill up their vehicles from the farmer’s own stocks

If the farmer is buying the oil for their own use and occasionally allows contractors to fill up their vehicles whilst working on their land, they do not need to be approved, but they should only supply sufficient fuel for the operations being carried out on their behalf and only allow fuel to be put into vehicles that are eligible to use it. See Appendix C for further guidance.

6. Approval for farmers who occasionally hire out their tractors to other farmers including a tank of controlled oil

If the oil in the tank was supplied to the farmer for his own use then the onward supply of that oil in the tank of a tractor when it is occasionally hired or loaned out can be disregarded as an onward supply for the purposes of the RDCO Scheme. The farmer should make sure that the tractor will be used only for purposes for which rebated fuel may be used.

However, this does not apply if the farmer is actually running a tractor hire business, in which case the requirement to be approved would follow the same rules as those for plant-hire companies.

7. Separate approval for individual petrol stations who supply controlled oil through a dispensing pump

If they’re owned by the same legal entity, then the approval will cover all their sites. It is important that all the sites are listed in the application form.

If they’re separately owned by individuals for example Mr (X) trading as (X) Service Station, they will need an individual approval.

8. Registered Remote Markers (RRMs) and their premises

The scheme only applies to RRMs who mark their own oil and supply on to others. If they mark on behalf of the owner of the oil they do not need to be approved as all they’re providing is a service. The owner of the oil will be the person who needs to obtain approval. In his application he will need to include the marking premises as a site at which oil is stored.

9. Approval for buying groups, machinery rings who arrange a supply of oil on behalf of their members

approval is not needed providing they fulfil the conditions set out in paragraph 2.2. They have an obligation to make checks on their customers before making a supply and it is for their protection that they should know who their customer is. We suggest that buying groups discuss with their suppliers the nature of the transactions to make sure that both parties are in agreement on who the end-user is. (See Appendix D for further information).

10. Return forms for an agent arranging a supply of controlled oil from another RDCO who delivers directly to commercial ships

The RDCO supplying the oil accounts for the transaction as a supply to another RDCO. The receiving RDCO (for example, agent) does not need to include these transactions on his return, see paragraph 6.1.

11. Supplies to domestic premises and storing controlled oil in a central storage tank situated near to the premises I supply

These must be included on the list of premises as we need to know of any sites where controlled oil is stored.

12. Approval if supplies of controlled oil are below a certain level in a 12-month period

Approval is needed. The only de minimis level for approval is for suppliers who buy and sell controlled oil in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres.

13. Approval to deal in controlled oils if you already have approval for Tied Oils.

If you are approved to deal in Tied Oils this does not mean you are covered for controlled oils as well.

The RDCO Scheme is separate from the Tied Oils scheme and, as such, you’ll have to obtain a separate approval number. This is because these schemes are dealing with two different types of oil: marked rebated gas oil and kerosene (including Avtur) under the RDCO scheme and duty relieved oils used in industrial processes under the Tied Oils Scheme.

14. Treatment of supplies made through a fuel card

These are supplies where the fuel card allows the purchaser access to a pump on sites owned by the oil company. The supply is then logged similar to a credit card sale.

There are 2 possible scenarios:

a) The oil company owns the card and supplies the oil. The card company merely handles the administration: the oil company records these sales as an aggregated total (providing they are all made by pump) in box 2 of the return.

b) If the oil is supplied to the card company who then supply the end-user, the card company will have to be approved and report these supplies to us as at a).

In both cases, the card company records, print-outs showing individual supplies are sufficient records for the purposes of the scheme.

See paragraph 5.16.1 regarding arrangements for and unmanned sites.

15. Approval for main contractors who supply controlled oil to their sub-contractors for use on the main contractor’s site

We would view the supply between the main contractor and sub-contractor as part of the main contractor’s use of the oil providing it remains on the site where it was originally delivered. If it’s subsequently delivered ‘off site’ then we’ll regard the main contractor as being a distributor and he will, therefore, have to seek approval as a RDCO and declare these supplies accordingly.

16. Treatment for supplying controlled oil to train companies

If the oil is delivered directly into the tanks of the train, this is a pump supply and would be included in box 2 of the return. Other bulk supplies would be included in box 4.

17. Treatment for supplying controlled oil from a tank on a barge

This is no different to a forecourt supply and should be included in box 2 of the return.

18. The RDCO Scheme and treatment of supplies of oil below 2,300 litres as domestic supplies for VAT purposes including commercial use

Under the RDCO Scheme you’ll have to split all supplies between domestic and commercial irrespective of the quantity delivered.

19. Hardware stores selling small quantities of paraffin and how they are affected by the scheme

Owners of hardware stores may have to be approved as RDCOs depending on the nature of their supplies:

They’re excluded from the scheme if they only buy and sell controlled oil in pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres.

If they buy controlled oil in bulk and decant it into pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres prior to sale, providing they only supply in this way they will have to be approved but do not need to make returns.

If they fill up a container with controlled oil at their customer’s request, this is treated as a pump supply and should be recorded in box 2 of the HO5 return.

If they decant the contents of sealed containers into a customer’s storage tank, this is treated as a bulk delivery and should be recorded in box 4 of the HO5 return.

20. Approval for hauliers contracted to transport controlled oil from an RDCO to their customers

Approval is not needed, providing they’re contracted only to transport the fuel which is invoiced from the RDCO to the customer. If the contract is with the supplying RDCO, it’s the responsibility of the supplier to make sure that the controlled oil is delivered to another RDCO or a legitimate user.

21. Approval for air ambulance operators supplying fuel to other air ambulance operators

Approval is needed. If fuel purchased for the company’s own use may be occasionally supplied to other air ambulance services, the supplying operator has to be approved as a dealer in controlled oil.

If any supplies would be limited only to other air ambulance services on an ad hoc basis, this should be explained in a covering letter with your application for approval on form H04. In these circumstances, you do not need to submit a business plan.

However, if the supply of fuel will be offered as an additional commercial activity of the business, or will include supplies to other aircraft or helicopter operators, the supplying operator will have to follow fully the process in paragraph 4.1 to obtain approval as an RDCO before making these supplies.

Appendix B - Plant-hire businesses

1. Plant-hire businesses

This information note sets out the position of plant-hire businesses in relation to the RDCO scheme, as agreed with the Construction Plant-hire Association, the Hire Association Europe, the Construction Confederation and the Forklift Truck Association.

2. Background

The RDCO Scheme requires that with the exception of those businesses receiving and selling controlled oil in closed pre-packaged containers not exceeding 20 litres, and certain sales made by end-users, anyone dealing in controlled oil must be approved and registered to do so by HMRC. These rules apply equally to secondary distributors, which may include those whose main business activity is not necessarily that of oil distribution, such as plant-hirers. Approval and registration for the RDCO scheme does not apply to end-users of controlled oil.

3. Applying for approval

Hire or sale of plant containing controlled oil necessary for its operation - if you only ever hire out or sell plant containing an amount of controlled oil to be consumed as part of the hire or sale agreement, you’ll not need to apply for approval to be an RDCO. This is because, as owner of the plant, you’re considered to be the end-user of the oil. The supply you’re making to your customer is a service, not the supply of oil. This includes subsequent supplies of fuel made by you directly into the vehicle or machinery for its continued use. When you order oil from your supplier you should make clear that you are the end-user. The supplier will ask you for certain information such as your name, address, VAT number and your intended use of the oil. For ‘use of oil’, you should identify the relevant use from the following:

  • other commercial use - for example, fork lift trucks, and other plant
  • agricultural use (for example, tractors) including forestry
  • transport (railways, maritime including naval establishments, docks, ports and ferry terminals, and inland waterways)
  • local authority including council depots
  • auxiliary engines (refrigerated transport, cleansing lorries, fairground showmen’s generators and so on)

If the hire firm supplies fuel separately, not within the machinery, whether or not at the same time as a hired vehicle or machinery, the firm will need to obtain approval. In these cases, the supply is of the oil, and the hire firm is not considered to be the end-user of the oil. The exception to this is where the hire includes the services of a driver or operator of the equipment, who will be present for the duration of the hire. In this case, the hire firm will not need to obtain approval to supply oil that will be used in the vehicle or machinery, even where the fuel is supplied separately, providing the fuel will be put to use only by the hire firm’s operator. This is because the hire firm remains the ‘end-user’ and the supply to the customer is part of a service, not a supply of oil.

In these circumstances, any surplus fuel not used in the operation of the equipment must not be supplied to the customer or any other persons, even if they have a legitimate use for rebated fuel.

4. Supplying oil

There are several ways in which you may supply oil. This table shows the approval requirements for each:

Type of supply RDCO approval needed Conditions
1. Plant supplied with an operator for duration of the hire No Fuel may be provided in the plant and additional supplies may also be made for it’s continued use by the operator.
Surplus fuel must not be supplied to any persons.
2. Plant supplied without an operator, with sufficient fuel in tank for it’s operation. No Invoice or hire contract should show that the machinery has been supplied with fuel, whether or not the price of the fuel is included in the hire charge.
3. Oil supplied to fill or top up the plant’s running tank during the hire No The fuel must be directly supplied into the plant by the hire firm.
4. Oil supplied to your customer in an ancillary tank attached to the plant. No If you supply oil to an ancillary tank, that is, to fuel a generator, we will regard it as being the same as supplying oil in the main tank. The approval, reporting and checking requirements will be the same as those for supplies in the running tank of the plant.
5. Oil supplied in addition to fuel supplied in the plant’s running tank, but not supplied directly into plant. Yes This is considered to be a supply of the oil, not of the plant.
This includes an additional supply where plant is supplied with a full tank of fuel and any supply where the fuel is collected by the hirer.
6. Other supplies of controlled oil (outside of a plant hire agreement.) Yes This is a supply of controlled oil.

If your company hires in plant from another hire company for use by one of your customers, the rules relating to the supply of fuel equally apply, for example, if the plant will be supplied with fuel contained in the running tank.

5. Requirements

5.1 Supplies of oil

For supplies of oil made either:

a) with a piece of plant including a full time operator b) directly in the running tank of the plant

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Records to be kept - we do not require you to keep any additional records beyond those that you currently keep for the purpose of running your business. As a user of controlled oil, we may ask you to account for the use of volumes you have purchased from an RDCO.

Checks to be carried out on your customers - we do not need you to do any checks, although if you do have suspicions that your customer may be decanting and misusing or onward supplying the oil we would expect you to inform us.

Oil contained in the running tank when the plant is returned - we do not require you to carry out any accounting arrangements or to record the return of any oil contained in running tanks. Oil returned to you in running tanks will simply become your oil in the same way as if you obtained it from a RDCO. When you next hire out the plant, and even though it may contain oil that was ‘supplied’ by the person to whom you previously hired it, you should still treat the oil as an onward supply by yourself and declare it in exactly the same way, without the need to make any allowance for the returned oil.

5.2 Other supplies of oils

For supplies of oil made either:

a) in addition to the oil contained within the running tank of the plant b) outside of a plant hire agreement

These supplies should be included in box 2 of the RDCO Return. These are aggregated totals of quantities supplied and the number of supplies made in the month. Unless these supplies are either by pump or to another RDCO, then they’re bulk supplies and, as such, you’ll need to comply with the rules set down in section 5, and paragraph 6.3.

If your system has already been set up to complete boxes 3 and 4, you may do so providing you are consistent when completing subsequent returns. Nevertheless, you may want to consider changing your system so that you are only providing the minimum information required.

If your customer is picking up oil from your depot - just the oil without the plant, then you must treat this as above, as a supply outside of the plant-hire contract or agreement

Appendix C - RDCO information note - farmers

1. Farmers

This information note sets out the position of farmers in relation to the RDCO Scheme as agreed with the National Farmers Union.

2. Background

The RDCO Scheme requires anyone supplying or dealing in marked rebated gas oil (red diesel) and kerosene (commonly known as burning oil or paraffin) to be approved by HMRC. However, the scheme does not apply to those who get these oils for their own use but occasionally supply on quantities to others outside of their primary business activities. Exclusion of these transactions from the scheme is specifically provided for in the legislation. However, to assist farmers to determine whether such transactions are indeed of an occasional, non-primary business nature and, therefore, outside the scheme, we have come up with the following guidelines.

3. Occasional hire

If a farmer obtains controlled oil as an end-user for his farming activities but occasionally hires out, or loans, plant (for example, a tractor) containing oil in the running tank either to other members of a machinery ring or buying group or to their farming neighbours, then they do not need to be approved if:

  • the majority use of controlled oil is for their own farming activities and not for use within the hired machinery
  • they’re not clearly running a machinery-hire business
  • their main income is not from hiring out vehicles
  • they do not actively strive to increase this side of their business activities, for example, by advertising outside the machinery ring, buying group or current hires
  • their hiring activities have no recognisable continuity, they should not occur with such frequency that they become a recognisable and identifiable activity of the farmer - basically, if a farmer is known outside his current circle of hirees as someone who has plant for hire, then they will have to be approved

If a farmer can fulfil these conditions then HMRC will regard them as the end-user of all the oil they obtain and they will not, therefore, need to seek approval. The farmer should make sure the tractor or machinery will be used only for purposes for which rebated fuel may be used. If they do not fulfil these conditions, then they’ll be regarded in the same way as any other plant-hire business and will have to seek approval. If a farmer does not seek approval and their circumstances should change in any way, they must seek further clarification as to how this affects their position.

4. Returns of controlled oil in hired vehicles

If a farmer needs to be approved as a RDCO, we would not require them to carry out any accounting arrangements or to record the return of any oil contained in running tanks. Oil returned in running tanks will simply become the farmer’s oil again in the same way as if they had obtained it from their normal supplier. When they next hire out the machinery, and even though it may contain oil that was ‘supplied’ by the person to whom they previously hired it, it should still be treated as an onward supply without any allowance made for the returned oil.

Appendix D - Buying groups and machinery rings

Not all buying groups or machinery rings operate in exactly the same way. How they carry out their business will determine whether or not they’re required to be registered for the RDCO Scheme.

A buying group or machinery ring that deals as a principal in controlled oil is required to register for the scheme. However, it need not register if it acts as an agent in the transactions.

Establishing who takes title to (in this instance, ownership of) the oil will resolve any doubts that may exist. If the person taking title is the buying group or machinery ring, they will need to register for the scheme. This is because they’re not the end-user of the oil and without an RDCO approval they will not be able to obtain oil from their supplier. The end-user of the oil is the buying group or machinery ring member (for example, a farmer).

It will be the responsibility of the buying group or machinery ring to comply with the requirements of the scheme - obtaining and keeping information about the member, making checks and including the member’s details on their return.

However, if the buying group or machinery ring is not taking title to the oil at any stage in the transaction, then they do not need to register for the scheme. In such cases, the RDCO supplying the oil (albeit at the request of the buying group, machinery ring) will be doing so directly to the member. It will be the responsibility of the supplying RDCO to comply with all the requirements of the scheme - obtaining and keeping information about the member (not the buying group, machinery ring), making checks and including the member’s details on their return.

Arrangements between distributors and buying groups, machinery rings - we’re aware that a number of buying groups, machinery rings have entered into arrangements with their supplying RDCOs which override the above guidance. Some of these arrangements allow for the scheme obligations (obtaining information, carrying out checks on end-user members, and so on) to be undertaken by the supplying RDCO even though the buying group or machinery ring is acting as a principal in the transaction and should be registered and be responsible for the scheme obligations.

Other arrangements allow for the scheme obligations to be undertaken by the buying group or machinery ring even though they’re acting as an agent in the transactions and there would be no need for them to register. Provided both the supplying RDCO and the buying group or machinery ring are content with and adhere to these arrangements, HMRC will not insist on the need to follow the guidance in the previous paragraphs.

However, all parties should be aware, that whoever agrees to be responsible for the scheme obligations will require the other party to provide information about the end-users of the oil in order to allow them to discharge those obligations fully under the scheme. In particular:

a) unapproved buying groups, machinery rings should provide the supplier of the oil with all the relevant information necessary to allow the supplying RDCO to discharge their ‘duty of care’ obligations, for example, their member’s name and address, VAT number and stated use of the oil and so on.

b) RDCOs supplying oil through an approved buying group or machinery ring should pass on any concerns they may have at the delivery point to the buying group. Any party refusing to provide this information will affect any previous arrangement entered into with the result that HMRC will insist that the guidance regarding approval in the previous paragraphs will have to be followed.

Published 17 December 2015