Accountants Fined Almost £100,000 In AML Breaches

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Accountancy firms and tax advisers have been hit with fines totalling £98,870 for breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations between 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023, according to latest figures released by HMRC.

HMRC’s report on businesses (published 28 March 2024) showed that 21 accountancy firms received a combined total of £78,870 in penalties for failure to comply with AML rules in the six-month period last year, with a further six tax advisers receiving penalties of £20,000.

Wrights Accountancy Services in Lancashire received the largest fine of £12,500 for failing to undertake appropriate staff training and conduct due diligence.

Accounting Hut, based in the New Forest, was hit with the second-highest penalty charge of £5,900 for failing to apply for registration at the required time.

AWB Accountancy and Taxation, based in Essex, and Accounting Solutions in Sussex, were penalised for the same issue, receiving fines of £3,970 and £4,500, respectively.

All accounting firms or individuals offering accountancy services must register with HMRC before carrying out regulated activities so that their AML compliance can be monitored.

Firms that fail to register or are unable to show that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the registration requirements, can be fined.

HMRC is one of 28 supervisors under the Money Laundering Regulations. These regulations require relevant businesses to have risk-based systems and policies in place to prevent them from being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

In its latest report, HMRC revealed that it fined 408 businesses a total of £2,277,893 in fines in the six months from April to September 2023 for AML compliance and registration breaches.

Estate agents bore the brunt of the penalties, with HMRC revealing that over 254 businesses in the sector had been fined a total of over £1.6m for failing to register or re-register with them for AML.

Charges ranged from £1,350 to a maximum penalty of £52,000, imposed on property firm Flynn Johnson Estates, based in Surbiton, for failing to apply for registration at the required time.

Of the 408 firms sanctioned for AML breaches, only one chose to appeal their fine.

HMRC is expected to publish more details about the penalties over the coming weeks.

AML Solutions for Regulated Services

We can help organisations of all shapes and sizes from across different sectors undertake a review of their policies, controls, and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with AML regulations and, therefore, avoid any breaches.

A review of this nature provides valuable insight into a business when performed correctly. Along with an overview of risk, these crucial assessments also highlight issues within the business, so it is essential to undertake a proper review. All of a company’s building blocks must be considered, including its staff, clients, operations, and finances.

By working with AML & Compliance, a business can be assured that we will bring the required level of knowledge and expertise needed to perform the review, which adds value to the business and is not simply a box-ticking exercise. Our team can also provide a full range of services that include:

  • Consultancy.
  • Compliance Policies.
  • Training.
  • Handbooks.
  • Auditing.

Our services focus on businesses’ Anti-Money Laundering and Regulatory requirements through the implementation of effective policies, procedures, training, and consultancy. We also provide continued monitoring of staff and ongoing training to ensure that everyone within a business is aware of the latest requirements and complies with their responsibilities.

We offer a full range of services focused on ensuring businesses across all regulated sectors create, maintain and evidence their compliance with the requirements of their regulators and legislation. We work with businesses of all sizes, from the smaller high street or niche businesses to the large multi-office and multinationals.

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