New registration scheme for wholesale businesses selling alcoholic drinks in the UK

January 27, 2015

To reduce fraud in the alcohol sector, businesses that wholesale alcoholic drinks in the UK will need to apply to register for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) between 1 October and 31 December 2015, or they will be at risk of trading illegally.

HMRC will assess whether applicants are approved. Businesses that cannot demonstrate they are sufficiently protected from the illicit alcohol trade may have their right to trade in alcohol removed.

From April 2017, it will become an offence for a UK retailer to buy alcohol from an unregistered wholesaler. UK retailers must check that the wholesaler is registered and HMRC will provide an online look-up register to facilitate this.

Overseas suppliers (without a UK establishment) selling to UK wholesalers should not be affected by this scheme.

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