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HMRC internal manual

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

Raising a penalty assessment: company and company officers - officer of a company liable to a penalty

Note: The process for raising penalties against company officers is still to be finalised. This will be updated in due course.

An officer of a company may personally be liable to pay all or part of the company penalty where:

  • a company is liable to a penalty for a deliberate contravention, and
  • the contravention is attributable to the actions of an officer or officers of the company (what we mean by officer is covered in AWRS120700).

This is provided for in ALDA 1979 Schedule 2B, paragraph 8.

The use of this power is limited to circumstances where:

  • the company officer gained or attempted to gain personally from trading without approval, or
  • the company is insolvent or likely to become insolvent.

These company officers are known as ‘liable officers’ in this guidance.

In the limited circumstances where it applies, the power gives us the right to recover all or part of the penalty from the liable officer. It is important to note however that the penalty is always assessed on the company because it is the failure to meet the obligation to apply for approval. This means that we do not assess the liable officers for the penalty, but we must send each liable officer a personal liability notice.

You cannot recover more than 100 per cent of the penalty from the company and its liable officers. See CH406200 for general guidance about how to apportion the penalty between the liable officers.