Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)
We have detailed in this PDF the relevant legislation and HMRC guidance on these new measures. The new law was not designed to put unnecessary pressure on existing and legitimate wholesalers, it was designed to enable those already in the industry, and those seeking to start trading in the industry, to be registered and monitored.
However, Officers are treating some businesses as if they are facilitating a fraud and many, through the refusal of the Applications, have effectively been put out of business.
On top of assisting companies successfully through the Application process, CTM is involved in challenging negative decisions through formal HMRC Review and/or appeal to the Tax Tribunal. We are also involving local MPs and the HMRC Chief Executive in extreme cases.
Where companies will suffer unduly, and where exceptional circumstances exist, it is also possible to seek an injunction in the High Court to save an existing business while the appeal process continues. The specialist tax barristers that we use are involved in an Appeal Court hearing next year that will set out rules regarding injunctions in such situations.
CTM is committed to seeking every available measure to get businesses through the registration process.
For existing businesses, if you pass the ‘Fit and Proper’ test, i.e. that you are operating a successful business currently and are not a serious risk to the revenue, you should be allowed to continue to trade under AWRS. For new companies, as with WOWGR Applications, you will need to show the business is a) viable, with a solid business plan in place, and b) that you plan to adopt reasonable due diligence practices.
We advise both new and existing companies to review, or step up, their due diligence to ensure HMRC do not identify a serious risk through a lack of proper procedures in place. This is not simply visiting your trading partners and conducting, say, financial enquiries; it is putting in internal procedures that ensure you continually adhere to sound practices and so that your thought process, i.e. what you do and see, is documented.
In summary, no company should fail the AWRS Application process without very good reason.
For more information on the law and HMRC guidance, please click on the following link, or call or email either Liban Ahmed (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Allan Brown (email@example.com) if you wish to discuss in more detail AWRS or WOWGR.
For free initial advice, please call us at the earliest opportunity on 0345 557 0005.