Apply for a licence to carry on an excise trade (L5)

Use the online or postal form L5 to apply for a licence to carry on an excise trade.


Apply online (sign in using Government Gateway)

Apply by post


You can either:

  • use the online service
  • fill in the form on-screen, then print and post it to HMRC

To use the online service, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you use the service.

You may also need to send HMRC information to support your application.

Use form WMW1 if you’re applying for a licence as a:

  • wine or made-wine producer
  • commercial grower

If you’re using the online form

You’ll get a unique reference number once you’ve submitted the form and can use it to track the form’s progress online.

If you need to send HMRC any supporting information, you’ll have 15 working days from the date you submitted your application to do this. If you do not, HMRC will not be able to proceed with your request and you will have to send it again. This will be treated as a new application.

Send any supporting information to HMRC by post and include the reference number you received when you submitted the form.

If you’re using the print and post form

Send the form and any supporting information to HMRC by post.

You will not be able to track the progress of a postal form.

Before you start using the postal form

If you’re using an older browser, for example, Internet Explorer 8, you’ll need to update it or use a different browser. Find out more about browsers.

You’ll need to fill in the form fully before you can print it. You cannot save a partly completed form so we suggest you gather all your information together before you begin to fill it in.

Post your application and any supporting information to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Excise Processing Teams

Information to support your application

Complete and send form Excise entry: private trader (EX103) or Excise entry: incorporated company (EX103A) to support your application if you need a licence as a:

  • compounder or rectifier of spirits or distributor of denatured alcohol
  • producer of denatured alcohol (and you are not already approved as an excise warehouse)

Excise Notice 473: Production, distribution and use of denatured alcohol
A notice about the production, distribution or use of denatured alcohol in the UK.

Published 4 April 2014
Last updated 7 February 2017 + show all updates
  1. Postal address updated.

  2. Details about additional information required to support an application to register have been added to the page.

  3. An online forms service is now available.

  4. First published.