HMRC and the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

I recently had the pleasure of assisting my father in-law with his application to the new HMRC Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). A reasonable policy endeavour – increase the duty receipts on alcoholic beverages through increased transparency on alcohol supply chains.

The application experience has been confusing and stressful for my father in-law. I will spare you all the details, however a combination of a  remarkably complex, one-size-fits-all HMRC Excise Notice alongside HMRC agents who alternate between simply pointing to the excise notice and threatening refusal of the application have him, and others like him, on the verge of early retirement.

To summarise; it looks like there will be fewer players in the off-licence wholesale market in addition to a huge increase in administration. I think there is a decent opportunity for an efficient business to rapidly increase market share over the next year… Might be time to buy a van.

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