The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

News from HM Revenue & Customs affecting all licensed businesses……

This affects you:

  1. if you are a wholesaler, for example, a cash and carry which does not have an alcohol licence;

2. if you are a licensed retailer whether you are a corner shop, supermarket, brewery, distillery, alcohol importer etc and you know that you sell alcohol products to other licensed businesses/persons who sell or supply alcohol to the public for business purposes, for example, to restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels, and event organisers, but please note that there may be other business affected, and you should check with Janet Hood or Tony Dawson (contact details below) for advice.

Wholesalers/Persons who sell alcohol to others for onward sale to the public – need to register by 1 April 2017

The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme requires wholesalers to be registered with HMRC.  Wholesales arise where any sale of alcohol is made to another person for trade purposes. Any retailer (shop or other business) licensed to sell alcohol who knowingly sells alcohol products to other businesses needs to register as an alcohol wholesaler under this scheme before 1 April 2017 or they will be committing an offence.

The application for registration is free and can be done online – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-alcohol-wholesaler-registration-scheme-awrs

Retailers – persons who buy alcohol from others for onward sale to the public must check the person(s) from whom they buy alcohol for these purposes is/are registered under The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

From 1 April 2017, alcohol retailers must ensure they only purchase alcohol from registered wholesalers.  If alcohol is purchased from a non-registered wholesaler, the non-registered wholesaler and the trade purchaser may be prosecuted unless it is an incidental sale – for example, a one off purchase is made for a corner shop because, say, a restaurateur has run out of a particular alcohol product.

You need to ask to see the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration document issued by HMRC under the scheme and you might want to ask for a copy of the registration document to keep with your files/accounts to ensure proper due diligence.

The registration process is open and HMRC are taking applications.

If you sell to trade you should register now.

If you buy alcohol for onward sale to the public you should ask to see registration documents from persons selling you alcohol now.

You have till 1 April 2017 to do this but best advice is to apply early, to check early, to ensure you are compliant by 1 April 2017.

It is a criminal offence if you sell alcohol to trade and are not registered by that date and a criminal offence if you have not checked the registration of the person supplying alcohol to you by that date.

IF YOU NEED ADVICE OR ASSISTANCE with any of the issues raised in this article or any other licensing matter PLEASE contact either Consultant, Janet Hood at janethood@me.com or by telephone on 07718882837/01356648966 or Partner, Tony Dawson, at a.dawson@jgcollie.co.uk or by telephone on 01224 581581.

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