New registration scheme set to clamp down on alcohol fraud

Timeline for the registration of alcohol wholesalers

May 2013

Legislation will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2015 to amend the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979

1 October 2015 – Crucial date

The law will take effect, beginning with a three-month application window for wholesalers

1 Jan 2016

HMRC will run a 15-month programme of assurance activity from 1 January 2016 to assess whether all these businesses meet the ‘fit and proper’ criteria

1 April 2016

All retailers buying alcohol are obliged to check they are getting it from a registered wholesaler

*New businesses that have not applied before January 1 2016 to register must apply to HMRC at least 45 working days before they intend to start operating


  1. Hi Tan – an excellent article and a timely warning to wholesalers that they need to be ready for the application window starting in October. By the way HMRC has now issued the criteria for its ‘fit and proper’ tests – it’s on our site at This gives an idea of the procedures wholesalers will need to demonstrate in order to get approval for registration.

    One thing: the date from which retailers will be obliged to check their wholesalers are registered is April 2017, not 2016.


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