AWRS: Update on application procedure
A number of issues and questions regarding the application procedure for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) have been raised and passed on to HMRC which has responded.
Our colleagues at the FWD have reported that several hundred applications have been successfully logged since January 1. Applicants will receive a confirmation number at the end of the online application process. We have pointed out to HMRC that it is not currently possible to print an application and they have said they will look into this.
Some members have been getting a Technical Difficulties error page when submitting their application. HMRC says it is aware of this and there have been very few instances. HMRC recommends clicking the 'Help With This Page' button which logs the issue and directs you to a helpdesk.
As of Tuesday (January 12) the application site was still showing a 'Beta trial service' message. This does not affect applications.
Applicants are required to provide the name, address and VAT number of their top five suppliers. This requirement was not specified before the application window opened. HMRC has pointed out that this is the sort of information that it would expect applicants to hold as part of their due diligence records.
One FWD member has reported receiving a request from one of his suppliers for personal details of company directors, including photo ID and home addresses. They also requested a utility bill and bank statement. While this supplier is clearly ensuring that its due diligence is above reproach, this is not a requirement of AWRS, and members should decide what information they are prepared to share with their suppliers.
The three-month application window for HMRC's Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) opened on January 1 and closes on March 31.
Wholesalers of beers, wines and spirits must apply for registration within this period and satisfy HMRC's inspectors that they are not buying or selling duty-evaded stock.
Companies which fail to apply during the three-month window may find that they are unable to trade in alcohol once the scheme goes live in April 2017.
All the relevant information on applications can be found here.