Use the digital service to register for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) or amend an existing application or registration.
If you sell alcohol to another business you may need to apply to register for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS).
Make sure you’ve read the AWRS guidance before you apply.
How to access the service
You must have a valid Government Gateway User ID and password.
|If you’re a….||the User ID and password you should use is…|
|limited company or partnership||for an organisation|
|self employed/sole trader||for an individual|
If you don’t have an account you’ll need to create a Government Gateway account.
To verify your business details we’ll try to match them to an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) record that holds your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
This will be your:
- Corporation Tax UTR as a limited company
- Self Assessment UTR for any type of partnership
- individual Self Assessment UTR as a self employed/sole trader
Agents can’t use the AWRS service to apply on behalf of their clients.
Before you start
Make sure you have all the information you’ll need before you begin to apply online. In addition to the relevant UTR and your Government Gateway details, you may need the following information:
- your VAT number and company registration number (if you have one)
- the addresses of your additional trading premises
- for UK residents, the names and National Insurance numbers of all business directors, company secretaries or partners
- for non-UK residents, the names and passport numbers of all business directors, company secretaries or partners
- the names, addresses and VAT registration numbers of up to 5 of your largest alcohol suppliers, by volume (if you have suppliers)
You might also have to tell us about the products you sell, the types of customer you have, or how you take orders.
What happens next
Businesses already trading as alcohol wholesalers prior to 1 April 2016
You’ll receive an acknowledgement with a reference number for your application. This is not your AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN). You can continue to trade until you’ve received HMRC’s decision.
Businesses starting to trade as alcohol wholesalers from 1 April 2016
You must apply giving notice of at least 45 calendar days. This will allow HMRC to process your application and undertake the fit and proper test (details of which can be found in Part 6.10 of Excise Notice 2002). You’ll receive an acknowledgement with a reference number of your application.
You can’t trade in alcohol wholesaling until you receive approval.
For all applicants we may need to contact you in writing, by telephone, or you may receive a pre-approval visit from us to assist in the processing of your application.
There’s no need to phone HMRC to check the progress of your application. You can check online.
Once a decision has been made you’ll receive an email telling you to check online. If approved you’ll see your URN which you should make a note of. A URN is made up of 4 letters and 11 numbers, for example, XXAW00000123456.
From 1 April 2017 registered wholesalers will need to include the URN on wholesale sales invoices.
Problems with the service
If you receive an error message when registering for AWRS make sure the information you’ve entered is correct. If you still get an error message use the ‘get help with this page’ link at the bottom of the AWRS screen to report what’s happened.
There’s more information about who needs to apply, the exclusions to the scheme and what happens after registration in the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme guide.