14/01/16: HMRC Provide Further Guidance on the Scope of the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

HMRC have today advised that microbreweries and small-scale wine producers must apply for the new Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (‘AWRS’). The deadline for businesses seeking approval is 31st March 2016. HMRC state that they are working hard with trade associations and industry representatives to ensure that relevant businesses are aware of their responsibility to apply but have found that some smaller alcohol producers believe that they do not need to register. HMRC encourage alcohol traders not to assume that AWRS does not apply to them and to check the guidance to ensure that they are compliant.

HMRC will assess applicants to ensure they are ‘fit and proper’, which involves considering factors such as connections to convicted alcohol fraudsters, failure to conduct sufficient checks by way of due diligence to protect themselves from receiving illegal supplies and poor record keeping. Wholesalers that are deemed not to be ‘fit and proper’ cannot trade in alcohol and will face hefty fines if they continue to do so.

Businesses applying under AWRS will need to provide information such as types of customer, products sold, premises used and details of their main suppliers.

Please contact us if you consider that we can be of assistance to you in any issue arising with HMRC.