Rogers & Norton obtain crucial AWRS injunction

18th Apr 2017

Rogers & Norton have recently achieved a major success in relation to the newly implemented Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme (AWRS).

Having successfully assisted clients with their applications for AWRS, HMRC refused a client’s application. At short notice, we obtained an injunction against HMRC which ordered HMRC to issue its Licence pending the determination of an appeal to the First Tier Tax Tribunal.

Our client’s injunction means that they were entered onto the AWRS register, obtained a licence number and can continue to trade, saving the business and numerous jobs.

Background to AWRS

AWRS was introduced to ensure that a trader should satisfy HMRC that they were a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold such an approval. The application needed to be made between 1st October and 31st December and all wholesalers needed to apply, including those who held excise approvals – if this was complied with then you could continue trading until the outcome was determined.

Traders are appealing to the First Tier Tribunal, but need to be allowed to continue trading pending the hearing of their appeals. This requires HMRC to grant approvals and an AWRS number – they can then be added to the register and carry on trading pending an appeal. HMRC have argued that they did not have the power to allow them to continue trading, even if this meant the closure of the business and job losses.

The Injunction

Peter Hastings comments “HMRC had received my client’s application very early in 2016 yet did not make its final Decision until a week before the deadline. The grounds seemed very unreasonable to say the least.

Our team worked over the weekend to ensure that papers were lodged in the High Court urgently. We were delighted that the Court granted the injunction. It has been hugely satisfying helping our client achieve this initial successful outcome. With companies and small businesses having their licence refused and facing the threat of having their stock seized, it has created anxiety and distress across the industry. It’s important that good businesses continue to trade and offer employment.

It is alarming that HMRC have tried to refuse applications, made well in advance of the deadline, at the eleventh hour – giving traders little time to react”

Peter was assisted by Maria Taylor and Elizabeth Gibson. David Bedenham of 11KBW was instructed.

Peter adds “David’s specialist knowledge and dedication together with his speed in dealing with this matter was invaluable”.

Peter and his team is experienced in HMRC claims, Appeals and Injunctions. He can be contacted at ph@rogers-norton.co.uk or on 01603 675639. The team acts for clients throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Far East.