Press release

HMRC prioritises applications to use denatured alcohol in hand sanitising products

Manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels will have their applications for denatured alcohol fast-tracked during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HMRC has set out today (18 March 2020).

Graphic image displaying text: "Coronavirus - HMRC is prioritising applications for hand sanitisers that contains alcohol"

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), demand for alcohol-based hand sanitising products has increased sharply, leading to some shortages. To meet the additional demand, HMRC is supporting manufacturers by ensuring they have access to the denatured alcohol they need to produce sanitisers.

HMRC approves all applications to use denatured alcohol, which is integral to the manufacture of sanitised hand gels. Under new measures, HMRC is fast-tracking applications so that manufacturers wanting to produce hand sanitising products can be quickly authorised.

By introducing these measures HMRC hopes to remove a potential barrier to production and enable suppliers to meet the increased demand.

In the last 3 weeks, HMRC has increased the limit of authorised use denatured alcohol in the production of hand sanitiser gels, totalling 2.5 million additional litres.

An HMRC spokesperson said:

By enabling the fast-tracking of authorisations to use denatured alcohol, we are providing manufacturers with the potential to produce the extra hand sanitiser gel needed during the coronavirus outbreak. We hope that this will provide manufacturers with the support they need to meet the sudden increase in demand for their products.

HMRC will continue to work with the industry to ensure we are taking all possible steps to support production.

Existing standards and criteria will continue to be applied to licence applications.

Further information

You can read guidance about producing hand sanitiser and gel for Coronavirus(COVID-19)

Only applications for the Industrial denatured alcohol (IDA) and Trade Specific Denatured Alcohol (TSDA1) used in the manufacture of sanitising hand gel will be fast-tracked.

To help us with this, businesses should only apply for permission to produce what they actually need in relation to current, rather than anticipated, demand.

Under the new measures HMRC will fast track their assurance checks, not replace them - current standards for assuring applications to manufacture, supply or use denatured alcohol will continue to apply.

With these measures put in place, HMRC will strive to process requests within 5 working days.

Published 18 March 2020