Guidance

Alcohol products: sell duty-free or duty paid

Find out how you can sell duty-free or duty-paid alcohol products through airlines, on ships, in export stores and in duty-free shops.

Overview

If you want to sell duty-free or duty-paid alcohol to passengers travelling to other countries, you may need approval from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and you will need to follow specific rules and procedures.

Journeys between EU countries

If you operate an airline or ship that travels between EU countries, and you want to sell excise goods - including alcohol - to passengers onboard for them to take away, you must apply to become a Registered Mobile Operator (RMO).

You don’t need to register as an RMO if you only supply stores for onboard consumption, although there are daily limits that apply to alcohol allowances for passengers and crew on board ship or aircraft.

Journeys to non-EU countries

If you operate an airline or ship that travels to a destination outside the EU, any goods - including excise goods - may be loaded duty-free as stores for sale, but you need authorisation from HMRC. The goods can be either to take away or for consumption onboard.

Export shops

If you want to sell duty-free excise goods to passengers about to travel to a destination outside the EU, you need to be approved by HMRC to operate an ‘export shop’.

An export shop is an excise warehouse that can hold alcohol in duty suspension for sale to entitled passengers travelling to a destination outside the EU. An entitled passenger is a passenger holding a transport document for a destination outside the EU and is travelling to that destination from the airport where the export shop is situated.

An export shop can only be sited at an HMRC-designated port or airport, and is usually located in the departure lounge after security controls.

Read detailed guidance about export shops.

Aircraft store floors

If you want to operate an excise warehouse to supply alcohol products as stores (duty-paid or duty-free) to aircraft, you will need approval from HMRC to operate an ‘aircraft store floor’.

Further information

Read about duty free ships’ stores.

Read about excise goods - aircraft store floors.

Published 9 November 2009