Guidance

Duty Stamps Scheme: how to register

Find out when you need duty stamps for retail alcohol you import and make, and how to get them.

Overview

The UK Duty Stamps Scheme applies to bottles and other retail containers of spirits, and wine or made-wine with an alcohol by volume of 30% or more, in bottle sizes of 35 centilitres or more.

By law, if you import or make these types of products that are intended for consumption in the UK, you’ll need to affix a duty stamp or include one on your label. There are a handful of exceptions.

It’s free to register and get duty stamps.

How to get duty stamps

Firstly, you need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the scheme, and you can do this online. HMRC services may be slow during busy times. Check if there are any current problems with this service, or times it won’t be available.

Alternatively you can download a UK Duty Stamps Scheme paper application.

You’ll need to provide:

  • your name and address
  • your legal status
  • your UK VAT registration number (if you have one)
  • your Excise ID number (if you have one)
  • how many free-standing stamps you expect to order in the next 12 months (if any)
  • how many free-standing stamps you would have needed in the previous year
  • the name and address of the label printer(s) that you’ll use (for label stamps)

HMRC will acknowledge receipt of your application and issue a registration letter to you, containing your registration number. When you’ve received your registration number you can request the stamps.

Label stamps

With your registration number, you’ll receive details of HMRC’s label stamps design contractor. You’ll need to order the design specification for the label stamp from them, including:

  • your duty stamps registration number
  • the number of copies of the design specification that you need
  • details of where the design specification should be delivered

The contractor will confirm receipt of your order and arrange for the design to be sent to you.

When the courier delivers the design, they’ll ask for a signature.

Freestanding stamps

Shortly after your registration number arrives, you’ll receive another letter from HMRC with website details of the contractor that supplies freestanding stamps. You can order your stamps through the website. You’ll need to provide:

  • your duty stamps registration number
  • the number of stamps you need for each product type
  • the address of the premises where the stamps are to be affixed
  • the name and address of the person who will be affixing the stamps (if not the registered person)
  • the address of the premises where the goods will be held until they have stamps affixed to them (if you’re bringing unstamped goods into the UK and you’re not holding them in an excise warehouse)

Further information

Read more about the UK Duty Stamps Scheme.

Published 9 November 2009