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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

Registration and approval: notifying a decision to refuse an application for approval/authorisation

The officer making the decision must discuss their findings with their line manager (at least Senior Officer level (SO) is recommended) before taking the appropriate action. Once satisfied that the application should be refused, the officer must then draft the appropriate refusal letter. This letter should be sent undated by email to the Alcohol Approval Team along with the officer’s visit report (or Caseflow narrative), aide memoire and any other relevant paperwork in support of their decision for review. The Alcohol Approval Team will then forward a copy of the report details and letter to NRU with SO authority (copied to RIS Ops). The NRU will then issue the refusal letter on behalf of the officer.

As a decision to refuse an application will have an adverse effect on the trader’s prospective business, it is important that the decision is justifiable and proportionate to the risk identified. The officer’s evidence in support of their decision must be based on solid facts, not personal instinct, sufficient to defend a robust external examination of the decision.

A trader has the right to appeal any refusal decision we make, has the right to an independent review of the decision or can appeal directly to an independent tribunal. Further information on the appeals process can be found at HMAG32200.

The refusal letter must set out the reasons for the decision and the trader’s right of appeal.

For applications that are subsequently withdrawn, or are not being pursued, by the applicant, the same process must be followed i.e. the officer drafts the appropriate letter and sends this with all relevant paperwork to the NRU (copied to RIS Ops) for their action.

If necessary, the NRU should be able to provide electronic copies of all the different decision letters that are to be used by the assurance officer.

Following NRU action, all relevant papers are retained for 60 days by the NRU should the applicant appeal the decision. After this period, the papers will be sent to our Rayleigh office for filing.