A new registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers was announced today in a bid to stamp out duty evasion on beers, wines and spirits.

The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS), which will be included in the Finance Bill 2015, will require wholesalers to to undergo stringent tests to ensure they are trading within the law.

From April 2017, licenced retailers will also be required to demonstrate they have bought alcohol from registered wholesalers.

The Federation of Wholesaler Distributors, which originally proposed the AWRS, said the scheme would be a massive boost for legitimate traders and taxpayers.

FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “This is a major step towards identifying rogue operators and restoring control of alcohol distribution to legitimate wholesalers.

“We have worked hard to bring this issue to the government’s attention, and although compliance with the scheme will place an operational burden on our members, it really is a short-term pain for a long-term gain.”

Wholesalers will be required to register during a three-month application window from 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2015, or face a penalty.

Alcohol duty evasion costs the Treasury £1.3bn a year in lost revenue.