If your business sells alcohol to other businesses you must now check to see if you need to register with HMRC for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS).

Applications should have been made by March 31, 2016 and any business that did not start the registration process by that deadline is now trading illegally and may get a penalty.

Businesses that have not yet applied must do so now to demonstrate their willingness to comply.

HMRC has received requests from wholesalers asking for their application submission reference to give to their customers and suppliers. There is no requirement to provide this number and it should be sufficient for wholesalers to advise customers and suppliers that they have applied for AWRS.

Customers and suppliers should also note that obtaining the application submission number doesn't in itself demonstrate practicing due diligence.  It is not needed or, taken in isolation, a sufficient demonstration of their checks. Section 12 of Excise Notice 2002 gives information about types of due diligence checks businesses can currently consider.

The online look-up service of approved wholesalers will be available from April 2017.

There are simple flowcharts and detailed guidance for all wholesalers including a recorded webinar to help you decide if the scheme applies to you and give you more detail.

If you are a wholesaler and have not registered, you should act now.