Operators warned of home delivery tax risk

SCOTTISH bar and pub operators have been reminded that they could incur the wrath of HMRC or their licensing board if they are selling pre-mixed cocktails for home delivery without the appropriate licences.

TLT, which has offices in Scotland and across the UK, has warned that premises must have a compounders licence from HMRC in order to sell pre-mixed cocktails for consumption off the premises, as well as having home deliveries stated on their venue’s premises licence. Failure to do so could see a business run afoul of one or both of those authorities.

TLT legal director, Piers Warne, said: “A lot of operators don’t realise they need a compounder’s licence to legally offer this kind of service. It has largely flown under the radar, but with the recent rise in home deliveries of alcohol and specialist cocktail makers looking to supply their creations directly to consumers at home, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Remember this does not apply to spirits sold unmixed for mixing at home, only pre-mixed cocktails.

“Operators could be in for a nasty surprise if they are deemed by HMRC to have been too slow to make the application. There is no charge for applying, so subject to complying with the requirements for producing the products in accordance with the law, this is an administrative process only.”

And Stephen McGowan, partner and head of licensing for Scotland at TLT, reiterated the importance of complying with local licensing laws.

He said: “In addition to the HMRC permissions, in Scotland if you are doing home deliveries of cocktails, or any alcohol, this facility should be clearly stated on your premises or occasional licence under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to avoid any issues with the licensing board. There are also special rules you must observe for home delivery, including keeping records and following age verification processes.”