New Alcohol Wholesale Registration Rules to Come into Force on 1 April

From 1 April, the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) requires retailers to check that their wholesalers are approved by HMRC by checking the Unique Reference Number (URN) on their invoices. Retailers can check their wholesalers’ URN here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-the-awrs-register

Retailers that purchase alcohol from a UK wholesaler will need to ensure they have been approved by HMRC. Retailers will be able to use the HMRC online look-up system for URNs that will be available by the end of March. If a retailer buys alcohol from a non-registered wholesaler, they may be liable to a criminal or civil penalty, their alcohol may be seized, or they could lose their alcohol licence.

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) and FWD (the Federation of Wholesale Distributors) are urging retailers to prepare their business ahead of 1 April, by asking their wholesaler(s) if they have applied for HMRC registration, and reviewing their processes and supply chains to make sure that they are only sourcing legitimate alcohol.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive said: “The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme is designed to tackle the illicit alcohol market which has a direct negative impact on responsible retailers. Retailers should prepare their businesses for the new obligations by asking their alcohol wholesalers if they have registered, and understand their obligations from 1 April by using the ACS guide on the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme”.

James Bielby, FWD chief executive said: “Alcohol wholesalers have been inspected and assessed, and those which have been approved as ‘fit and proper’ traders will have their URNs by the end of March. By regularly checking that their wholesaler is registered, and keeping a record of their checks, retailers can be sure that they will avoid the severe penalties associated with buying illicit stock.”

ACS has produced guidance for retailers on how to comply with the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme as part of its Best Practice guide on preventing duty fraud in the sector, which can be downloaded here.

This entry was posted by Leah on Fri, 31/03/2017 - 08:12
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