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HMRC internal manual

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

Groups: eligibility to form a group

  1. In order to be an AWRS group, the group members must already meet the conditions for forming a corporate group. These conditions are:
  • there must be more than one member
  •  all members must be corporate bodies (for example, limited companies or limited liability partnerships) that are established or have a fixed establishment in the UK
  • all members must have a controlling body (see ‘control conditions’ below) in common with each other (i.e. a holding company).


  1. They must also meet the ‘control conditions’. All members of the group must be controlled either by one member of the group or a single other ‘person’ who is not one of the members of the group. That person can be a body corporate, an individual or a partnership.

Where control is exercised by a person that is a partnership, that control must be exercised via the partnership and not by the partners as individuals. The company shares will normally be assets of the partnership.

To control a group member one of the following must apply:

  • they are the holding or parent company of the group member within the definition in s1159 of, and Schedule 6 to, the Companies Act 2006, or
  • they would be a holding or parent company of the group member if they were a company, or
  • they are empowered by statute to control that body’s activities.


  1. If the corporate group cannot meet these conditions they cannot be approved as an AWRS group. AWRS group members must also be carrying on a controlled activity.

In summary, provided the proposed AWRS group:

  • meets the conditions for being a corporate group,
  • meets the control conditions, and
  • two or more of these corporate group companies are making qualifying wholesale sales of alcohol,

they can apply to be an AWRS group.