Money Laundering Regulations
We are of course registered with the HMRC under the Money Laundering Regulations (and the Proceeds of Crimes Acts). Tim Phillips is the Money Laundering Reporting Officer for the practice.
You have to prove your identity and place of residence to us before we can make any submissions on your behalf. This is usually a five-minute process as long as you have the usual forms of identification: photographic (e.g. passport, driving licence) and residence (e.g. utility bill).
This is usually administered on our premises but subject to certain additional protocols, it can be done via email.
There was a time when accountants were protected from prosecution for tax evasion (other than their own!) on the principle that ultimate responsibility for any under-declared tax was solely that of the client/taxpayer. This Three Wise Monkeys defence was effectively abolished in 2007.
Deliberately underpaid liabilities are 'proceeds of crime' because the money not paid over is available to the miscreant taxpayer to spend elsewhere.
If an accountant knowingly permits underpayment because of false accounting or statutory return entries, or if he or she could reasonably have been expected to identify such entries from the client's records, prosecution could result in an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.
If an accountant, without making any submission, becomes aware of such evasion and fails to report it, the same penalties apply.
There is no such thing as an off-the-record chat with your accountant. If you tell us anything that indicates you have evaded or intend to evade tax or cause any other fraud, we will require you to rectify it. If you refuse to do so, as above we are obliged in law to make a report to the authorities.
All tax evasion means everybody pays more - even the person doing the evading, when they go out to buy goods and services or pay their council tax or whatever...and his or her family and 'friends'...
But even if we didn't care about our clients - which of course we very much do - clearly we can never put ourselves at risk of prosecution, which would close our business and put us all out of work.