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HMRC internal manual

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

Regulatory penalties: multiple contraventions

There may be circumstances where a wholesaler may be liable to more than one fixed penalty. Excise Civil Penalties Manual ECP5800 provides general guidance regarding multiple contraventions attracting penalties under Finance Act 1994. Although the AWRS penalties are available under separate legislation, there is no reason why you should not follow this guidance if you find a wholesaler’s conduct makes them liable to multiple contraventions.

For example: A wholesaler has 10 branches sited around the UK. Three sites fail to carry out satisfactory due diligence procedures which would attract three £500 penalties. The business is generally careless about checking the credibility of their suppliers. You may consider the seriousness of the contravention justifies three separate penalties.

You must keep a record of your decision.

The WCLR 2015 also allow multiple contraventions to be treated as a single contravention.

For example: A new wholesaler makes a number of minor record-keeping breaches in their first few months of trading. Each breach would attract a £500 penalty. You may consider a penalty is appropriate rather than just a warning letter but a penalty for each breach would be disproportionate. You can treat these as a single contravention and issue one fixed penalty.

You must keep a record of your decision.