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Temporary Changes to Use and Supply of Denatured Alcohol and Excise Duty-Free Spirits

Posted on 1st April 2020 - News

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In order to combat the spread of Covid-19, HMRC have introduced temporary measures to assist businesses who produce hand sanitiser gel and offer advice on what businesses should do if they want to start producing hand sanitiser.

Businesses already producing hand sanitiser will already have the necessary authorisations in place. Where businesses are authorised to use duty-free spirits to produce hand sanitiser for hospitals, under the temporary measures, they will now be automatically authorised to produce hand sanitiser for care homes as well.

The temporary measures also remove limits on denatured alcohol (alcohol made unfit for drinking) and duty-free spirits used in the production, and businesses with the necessary authorisations in place no longer need to apply to increase their annual usage limits.

For businesses who want to produce hand sanitiser, HMRC provide a list of the denatured alcohol or free-duty spirit that can be used and these are:

  • Industrial denatured alcohol
  • Trade specific denatured alcohol 1, 6 or 7
  • Duty-free spirit where hand sanitiser is to be supplied to hospitals and care homes

Businesses are required to apply to HMRC for approval as normal, however, approval may not be required where the business is a licensed distiller or gin manufacturer provided the sanitiser produced meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) formulations. 

Further details on how to apply to HMRC can be found at

The final temporary measure introduced applies to businesses who supply denatured alcohol or duty-free spirits for the production of hand sanitiser. The measures remove the restriction on the volume to be supplied.

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