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Member fined for non-compliance with HMRC AML requirements - Members beware!!

HMRC - Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs - has recently fined an AIPP member a four-figure sum for not being registered with them for AML purposes.

Although no AML (Anti Money Laundering) malpractice had taken place, the (anonymous) AIPP member has been issued a four-figure fine – just for not being registered with HMRC.

To be clear, it is a requirement for all AIPP members to register with HMRC for AML purposes, should they be required to do so. Compliance guidelines, with updates, have previously been issued by AIPP to members. Links to these documents are below, for reference.

The key extract, to determine whether you should register with HMRC, is copied below:

Any practicing estate agent with a presence in the UK – this includes simply attending an exhibition and promoting/ facilitating property for purchase or sale – must comply with the Estate Agents Act 1979 (including registration with a redress scheme if promoting residential property) and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (including registration with HMRC).

Although AIPP has worked well with UK National Trading Standards (Estate Agency Team) who, in turn, have liaised with HMRC, on our behalf, we have been unable to gain greater clarity from HMRC on the precise nature of whether certain members need register with them or not.

This is fairly typical government agency behaviour (at HMRC); they set-out broad guidelines and put the onus on you (the business owner) to interpret them correctly. Subsequently, we can only put an international property market context to our guidance to AIPP members. For what it is worth, we think the GDPR is likely to go the same way with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office)

The ‘belt and braces’ approach for all members is to pay the £130 registration fee with HMRC for AML, details via this link

We don’t think the ‘but we are only a passive agent’ approach, we have heard in defence of registering with HMRC, is going to be acceptable to them.

For a complete understanding of your AML and other Compliance responsibilities, please click the document links below:

Compliance Update July 2017 (1)

Compliance – Highlights – AIPP NTSEAT Final