In the six months to 31 December 2022, HMRC issued fines of £3.2 million to 419 businesses for failures to follow the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and have 'named and shamed' 240 of the worst offenders. The single biggest fine of £1.4 million went to Xpress Money Services Ltd who apparently failed at every stage of the compliance routine.

Many types of UK businesses and individuals must now register with a supervisory authority to follow Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. They include:

  • Financial and credit businesses
  • Barristers, lawyers and conveyancers
  • Accountants, tax advisers, auditors and insolvency practitioners
  • Trust and company service providers
  • Estate agency businesses
  • Letting agency businesses
  • Casinos
  • High-value dealers (handling cash payments of €10,000 or more in exchange for goods)
  • Art market participants (buying, selling or storing art worth €10,000 or more)

HMRC is a supervisor for the purposes of Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs). Whilst many professional services firms such as lawyers, accountants, tax advisers and bookkeepers are supervised by the professional body to which they are members, unqualified professionals, finance and property letting businesses and high-value dealers and art dealers all must register directly with HMRC.

HMRC has the power to suspend as well as fine business and the law allows it to name firms in breach of the AML regulations. A review of HMRC's lists reveals Accountancy Service Providers (ASPs), Estate Agency Businesses  (EABs) and Money Service Businesses (MSBs) are all falling short of their AML compliance obligations.

Useful guides on this topic

AML Zone
Our Anti-Money Laundering Zone: full of resources for accountants and advisers

AML: Anti-Money Laundering Procedures and Checks
A subscriber guide to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures and checks, including what factors to consider when taking on a new client and conducting your 'know your client' procedures.

Economic Crime Levy
What's the Economic Crime Levy? It is a fixed fee paid by medium and large-sized entities that are subject to Money Laundering Regulations. This includes accountants, auditors and tax advisors. Registration, filing and payment are due by 30 September.

External links

HMRC issues £3.2 million in money laundering penalties

Anti-Money Laundering Update and Compliance course

Time for your firm-wide risk assessment? New to AML compliance? Need help working through your AML verification checks?

Check out our course: live online 26 July 2023 9am - 1pm and then available as a recording from 28 July 2023.

Accountancy is not the only high-risk industry, finance, crypto, legal, property, money lending, casino and high-value dealers are all at risk of exploitation.

This workshop covers

  • What's New in terms of the rules
  • An update on sanctions
  • Case study & walk through the AML compliance routine
  • Firm-wide assessment: how to benchmark your practice
  • Common mistakes and workarounds
  • Persons of Significant Control: HMRC's new measures
  • Annual Updates to the Register of Overseas Entities
  • Other disclosures and compliance 
  • When to make a SAR

Book now!

Ticket type: prices are ex-VAT, VAT @ 20% will be added