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The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

If you sell alcohol to another business you may need to apply to register for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS).

This scheme was introduced by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to tackle alcohol fraud.

If you only sell alcohol to the general public and not to other businesses you won’t need to apply.

The scheme doesn’t apply to individuals purchasing alcohol from retailers for their own use.

From 1 April 2017, if you buy alcohol to sell from a UK wholesaler, you’ll also need to check that whoever you buy from has registered with HMRC and has an AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN). HMRC will provide an online look up service so that trade buyers can ensure the wholesalers they buy from are registered.

Applying to register for AWRS

Before you apply to register

You can prepare for registration by:

  • making sure your business records are in order and accessible
  • reviewing your processes and supply chains to make sure you’re sourcing only legitimate alcohol
  • introducing a corporate due diligence policy and procedures to prevent involvement in the illicit market


Posted on: March 17 2016
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