StarStock is AWRS Approved

We are pleased to announce that our AWRS application has been approved by HMRC & we have received our official URN number - XMAW00000100731

For more information on AWRS and wholesaling alcohol in the UK, please read the 10 Steps to Understanding The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) below:

10 Steps to understanding The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

FWDFrom the 1st January 2016, HM Revenue & Customs introduced a new scheme to tackle the alcohol fraud in the UK. It is estimated that £1.3bn in alcohol tax is evaded each year and deprives honest wholesalers of sales of up to 40%.

HMRC have been working closely with the governing body the FWD (Federation of Wholesale Distributors) to ensure they have a system in place from the 1st April 2017 to stamp out this illegal trading. Once the AWRS Scheme comes into force, it will be illegal to trade alcohol without being registered as part of this scheme.

StarStock prides itself on providing a safe, secure and convenient platform for businesses to trade legitimately. Therefore, we wholeheartedly endorse the setting up of this scheme and the extra security it will provide our customers.

It is for this reason we have compiled a 10 step guide to help you with any questions you may have & in order to help our customers understand the registration process which cam into effect on 1st April 2017.

Step 1: Who needs to register?

It applies to anyone who is selling duty paid alcohol to another business to sell on (wholesalers). If you don’t sell alcohol to other businesses and sell solely to the general public you do not need to apply.

An example of these wholesalers are listed below?

  • Alcohol Wholesalers
  • Alcohol Cash & Carry’s
  • Suppliers
  • Excise Traders
  • Brokers
  • Auctioneers
  • Some retailers

Even if you have a retail license or excise approval, this does not guarantee exclusion.

Step 2: When do I need to apply by?

  • From 1st April 2016, the application for current wholesalers will close & HMRC will assess these applications over the following year until April 2017
  • From 1st April 2017, all businesses who buy from other wholesale businesses will have to have be approved under this scheme. At this point HMRC will issue each business with a Unique Registration Number (URN)
  • If you start a new wholesale business after 31st march 2016, you must register online at least 45 days before you start trading. You must also await approval from HMRC before you start trading in alcohol.

Step 3: How does the application process work?

  • Sign up online (registration is free) on the Government Gateway -
  • If you don’t use HMRC online services, you can find more info here
  • Late entries will pay a penalty and are unlikely to pass registration
  • Businesses can continue to trade while HMRC assess their application
  • If the registration is not successful then the business will have to cease trading in alcohol

Step 4: Information you will need to provide:

  • Legal entity name
  • Trading name
  • VAT registration number if registered
  • Self-assessment or corporation tax Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number if registered
  • Registered business address and how long at that address
  • Contact telephone number
  • Email address and postal address
  • Your estimated annual turnover (for new businesses)
  • Types of customer you sell to, for example pubs, restaurants
  • Products sold
  • How many trading premises you operate and their addresses
  • Business names, addresses and VAT numbers (if registered) of main suppliers
  • Whether or not you import or export alcoholic goods

Step 5: How do HMRC assess businesses from 1st April 2016 & what can you expect?

  • HMRC will conduct random spot checks
  • HMRC will be looking for information of detailed record-keeping & accounting systems; a high level of due diligence on all customers; good stock control & financial viability.

Step 6: Where are you at risk of failing to pass registration?

  • Previous evidence of illicit trading
  • Previous history of duty fraud
  • Previous connections with other fraudsters
  • Relevant criminal convictions
  • Poor record keeping
  • HMRC Debts
  • Poor due diligence processes in place to mitigate against illicit supply chains

Step 7: How to ensure good record keeping?

  • All invoicing records
  • Daily record of payments & from customers
  • Copies of all delivery notes
  • Ensure diligence records of all suppliers

Step 8: How serious it is not to comply with AWRS?

  • Registration revoked
  • Goods seized
  • Fines for poor record keeping, starting from £500 to each breach
  • New civil penalty of £10,000 if trading unauthorised
  • Imprisonment

Step 9: What happens once registered & what are the timelines?

  • HMRC will begin issuing Unique Registration Numbers (URN)
  • Businesses will only be able to make duty paid purchases from businesses/wholesalers that have been registered by HMRC and have this URN number
  • All businesses will have to display their URN number on all alcohol invoices
  • You will be able to verify accurate URN numbers on the HMRC Government Gateway Database

Step 10: How do I know I am registered?

  • You will receive a notification via your government gateway account
  • You will receive your URN number
  • The format will look like this: XXAW00000124569
  • Once registered however, you may receive specific conditions which HMRC imposed on you to ensure you continue to qualify to trade in alcohol

Where can I get more information?