The launch of the Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme (AWRS) has been delayed by three months due to ‘technical issues’.
The application process was due to start on October 1 but has now been pushed back to January 1.
A spokesman for HMRC said rigorous pre-launch testing has “pointed to some technical issues” that need to be fixed before the service is launched.
“We have chosen a new launch date to make sure the service is right before making it widely available and to avoid putting additional burden on the industry during the busy winter trading period,” he said.
HMRC has said it will invite a selection of traders to use the system from October 1 to provide feedback before opening it up in January.
James Bielby, FWD chief executive, said the late change, coming less than a week before the expected start date for applications, is very frustrating for the FWD and its members.
“Members have volunteered to test the application process over the past six months, and we have put considerable effort into informing them and other stakeholders of their obligations and the original timeline,” he added.
More than 20,000 businesses are expected to sign up to the initiative, which aims to clamp down on illicit alcohol trading.