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HMRC internal manual

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

From
HM Revenue & Customs
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Regulatory penalties: reasonable excuse regulatory and behavioural penalties

There is extensive guidance in both the excise civil penalties manual ECP8000 and the Compliance Handbook regarding reasonable excuse. It is recommended you read this guidance in conjunction with the information in AWRS130700 before considering whether your business has a reasonable excuse.

AWRS legislation

The legal provisions regarding reasonable excuse are contained in:

Penalty for trading without approval – Schedule 2B of ALDA 1979, paragraph 7.

Regulatory penalties – the Wholesaling of Controlled Liquor Regulations 2015.

When reasonable excuse exists

a. Trading without approval penalty

Paragraph 7 of Schedule 2B states there is no liability to a TWA penalty where the business can satisfy HMRC or an appeal tribunal:

  • the contravention is non-deliberate
  • there is a reasonable excuse for the contravention.

b. Regulatory penalties

Regulation 23 of the WCLR 2015 states liability to a penalty does not arise where the business can satisfy HMRC or an appeal tribunal that there is a reasonable excuse for the contravention.

What is a reasonable excuse

There is extensive guidance on what is and is not a reasonable excuse in the Compliance Handbook and ECP manual. It is recommended you read the relevant sections in the Compliance Handbook if you are raising a TWA penalty and the relevant sections of the ECP manual for regulatory penalties.

What is not a reasonable excuse

For both the penalty for TWA and regulatory penalties, where a business relies on any other person to do anything, that is not considered to be a reasonable excuse unless they took reasonable care to avoid the contravention.

If you do allow a reasonable excuse for an AWRS penalty, you must be clear which section of law you are using to do this.