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Anti MLR

Anti MLR

Do people on here ask for passport and utility bills or is there some online ID verification ?

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By dstickl
In a Daze
19th Apr 2012 23:28

@Purple_Pig: Q: Did you contact the Financial Ombudsman Service?

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl wrote:

Questions: Has your wife actually been "denied the assistance of an accountant"? IF not, THEN she hasn't been duly or unduly discriminated against, has she?

Not an accountant, but she has been turned away by a bank.   I wanted to turn a bank account I held into a joint account. Because she did not have photographic ID the bank actually told her that as far as they were concerned she did not exist, despite the fact that I was there with her.

Annoyingly, the list I managed to get from them of acceptable documents, demanded photo ID plus proof of address, BUT, for anyone under 18 just a provisional driving licence was acceptable with no other ID, and, for immigrants and asylum seekers any document or letter confirming their status was all that was required.

It really didnt work out well for HSBC because I have been sending client's business elsewhere ever since and have moved my personal banking elsewhere too.

Questions: Did you contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)  - the independent service for settling disputes between businesses providing financial services and their customers - and use your liberty and freedom of expression to blow the whistle on the bank's alleged apparent undue discrimination/nonsenses?  IF not, why not?  IF the FOS was in existence at the time of the incident(s) you've described, and IF you didn't take the opportunity to make an official formal complaint to the FOS in order to regularise an alleged nonsense that apparently immigrants didn't have to provide photographic ID whereas your wife did have to, THEN ... (words fail me).
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Mr_awol
20th Apr 2012 11:40

Purple_Pig's missus

Purple_Pig wrote:

So again I ask the question - my wife has no driving licence, her passport has expired, in short she has no photographic ID.  Is she then to be denied the assistance of an accountant on that basis?  Isn't that discrimination against one section of society?

 

If you are not prepared to act for her, why do you think we should?

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19th Apr 2012 22:01

What are we accountants actually saying?

That we wouldn't report tax evasion because we are not getting paid to do our civic duty?

Everything can be good or bad .. depending on what you want it to be. We are required to do the checks, so I try to make them useful to me, and I use it to check out whether a new client is going to be cooperative.

If I discovered a client was evading income tax/VAT or whatever, knew about it, and refused to put it right, then I would report him/her .... without being forced or expecting payment, otherwise I would be as guilty as the person performing the deed and I would be cheating honest citizens. In fact I am grateful that the report process has been made so much simpler. If nothing is done by SOCA at least my conscience is clear.

We all know the old saying ... 

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ (or words to that effect)

So ... help the cheats and liars if you want to, turn that blind eye, make up any excuse you like such as police state and all the rest .... but your principles could lead to you aiding & abetting criminals in favour of decent honest citizens.

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petersaxton
19th Apr 2012 22:57

Over zealous accountants ?

ShirleyM wrote:

If I discovered a client was evading income tax/VAT or whatever, knew about it, and refused to put it right, then I would report him/her ....

 

 

I think you are avoiding my point. The Act says you must report if you have reasonable suspicion. So where do you draw the line? Quite honestly any accountant who doesn't have reasonable suspicion that every subcontractor and tradesman is doing the odd cash job, is seriously naive.  So, do we report every tradesman every year on the basis that we suspect?

Would you report someone for fiddling £20 ?  £100 ?  £1,000?  £10,000?  at what point does it warrant a report ?

Can you honestly say that you are squeaky clean? 

Have you never accepted a free meal, drink, free service on your car, or whatever from a client? If your hot water tank sprang a leak and you called a plumber client, what would you do if when you came to pay him he said "just give me £20 for my petrol" and gave you no receipt when you know the guy in yellow pages would have charged you £200.  So, do you report yourself as well as the client ?

The whole idea of Money Laundering was to catch organised criminals, drug dealers, terrorists, etcetera. It was never intended as a means to catch self employed plumbers making a few pounds on the side, but that is what it has turned in to.  My question is, who turned it into that, the "sy=tate", or over zealoius accountants ?

I'm not saying I'm right, I'm merely posing the question because I think we all need to look very hard at how petty minded some of the attitudes displayed are. Judging from some responces there are accountants out there who are acting like traffic wardens, letting a little power go to their heads.

 

 

 

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By BKD
Kent accountant
19th Apr 2012 23:15

Some points

Purple_Pig wrote:

So where do you draw the line?

Simple. The line is drawn between speculation and suspicion - and any competent accountant knows where that is.

Purple_Pig wrote:

My question is, who turned it into that, the "sy=tate", or over zealoius accountants ?

The state did - by specifically providing that there is no de minimis. As a result, a regulated person faces potential imprisonment for failure to report the most minor offence. It's a nonsense, of course, but the accountants did not draft the legislation.

Purple_Pig wrote:

there are accountants out there who are acting like traffic wardens, letting a little power go to their heads.

Please don't confuse power with obligation - both moral and legal. I have a legal duty, not a power, to verify the ID of my clients and I have a legal and moral duty, not a power, to report suspicion of any offence, no matter how trivial that offence.

I don't judge those that choose to turn a blind eye, but equally I don't expect to be judged for doing nothing more than fulfilling my legal (and moral) obligations.

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By BKD
19th Apr 2012 22:32

Well put, Shirley

Getting back to the OP's question, yes I do usually ask for a passport or driving licence - not because anyone dictates that I have to, but only because it is often the most convenient means to me and my client to confirm identity. If any prospective client were to object, I would first of all want to know why and, if I were satisfied that they had legitimate grounds, would find an alternative method that fulifilled my obligations. So far, in decades of practice (admittedly, MLR has been with us for only the laltter decade or so of that period) not one single person has raised an eyebrow when asked for their passport.

I suspect that those that see such requests as an intrusion are the same that would turn off all CCTVs in public places etc

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19th Apr 2012 23:38

Morals

dstickl, if you've ever had any dealings with the FSA you will know that by the time they act, if they act, the liklihood is that you will have forgotten why you contacted them

 

 

BKD, "fulfilling my legal (and moral) obligations". Even the police give some leeway, ie not booking you up to 33 in a 30mph zone. But this law gives accountants no such leeway. Technically we should report a client for one penny - totally ridiculous.

 

As for "morals" - they simply have no place in this because everyones morals are different. Some people may view it as morally wrong to pay any tax to a government that will spend it on a war in Afghanistan. Others may find it morally wrong not to give as much as possible to support our troops. "Morals" is such a nebulous individual thing, and no two peoples morals are the same.

 

"Morally" I think it's wrong to drop someone in it for something which pales into insignificance whn put alongside the corrupt practices of MP's, police officers, and even judges. I think it's morally wrong to possibly destroy a family just because the father fiddled a bit out of neccesity to make ends meet. Your "morals" are probably different, but who is to say which of us is morally right? And I'm talking about morals, not law. Face it the law has nothing to do with morals, justice, or anything else other than "control".

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By dstickl
elliottchandler
19th Apr 2012 23:54

@ Purple_Pig: So you did not contact the FOS, then ...

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl, if you've ever had any dealings with the FSA you will know that by the time they act, if they act, the liklihood is that you will have forgotten why you contacted them

So you did not contact the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service), then, which - rightly or wrongly - I understand is not the same as the FSA ...

Conclusion: It seems to me that: You have only yourself [and your records keeping] to blame about the alleged lack of rectification, and its consequence(s) for MLR  -  back to topic!

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paulinleeds
20th Apr 2012 00:53

dstickl,

dstickl wrote:

So you did not contact the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service), then, which - rightly or wrongly - I understand is not the same as the FSA ...

Conclusion: It seems to me that: You have only yourself [and your records keeping] to blame about the alleged lack of rectification, and its consequence(s) for MLR  -  back to topic!

 

I prefer the more direct route - hit them where it hurts, in their pockets.

As for your reference to my "record keeping" ?  What are you on about ?  What records???????

 

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By dstickl
cheekychappy
20th Apr 2012 18:56

@Purple_Pig: With some reluctance, here's my answer ...

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl, if you've ever had any dealings with the FSA you will know that by the time they act, if they act, the liklihood is that you will have forgotten why you contacted them ...

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl wrote:

So you did not contact the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service), then, which - rightly or wrongly - I understand is not the same as the FSA ...

Conclusion: It seems to me that: You have only yourself [and your records keeping] to blame about the alleged lack of rectification, and its consequence(s) for MLR  -  back to topic!

I prefer the more direct route - hit them where it hurts, in their pockets.

As for your reference to my "record keeping" ?  What are you on about ?  What records???????

With some reluctance, here's my answer to your above questions of "What records?" etc: You appeared to me to indicate (in your first quote of this post) that you - as a professional accountant - would have expected to "have forgotten why you contacted" the FSA (or FOS) to rectify the poor financial service that the bank fobbed you off with, "by the time they act, if they act" which, in my humble opinion, suggested to me that "your records keeping" would have been inadequate to jog your memory, after the likelihood of the delay that you had previously anticipated.

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By dwgw
tonyaustin
23rd Apr 2012 16:49

No place for fence-sitters

dstickl wrote:

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl, if you've ever had any dealings with the FSA you will know that by the time they act, if they act, the liklihood is that you will have forgotten why you contacted them ...

Purple_Pig wrote:

dstickl wrote:

So you did not contact the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service), then, which - rightly or wrongly - I understand is not the same as the FSA ...

Conclusion: It seems to me that: You have only yourself [and your records keeping] to blame about the alleged lack of rectification, and its consequence(s) for MLR  -  back to topic!

I prefer the more direct route - hit them where it hurts, in their pockets.

As for your reference to my "record keeping" ?  What are you on about ?  What records???????

With some reluctance, here's my answer to your above questions of "What records?" etc: You appeared to me to indicate (in your first quote of this post) that you - as a professional accountant - would have expected to "have forgotten why you contacted" the FSA (or FOS) to rectify the poor financial service that the bank fobbed you off with, "by the time they act, if they act" which, in my humble opinion, suggested to me that "your records keeping" would have been inadequate to jog your memory, after the likelihood of the delay that you had previously anticipated.

Far be it from me to speak for anyone else but I'd hazard a guess that Purple_Pig did not mean literally that anyone dealing with the FSA would have forgotten why he contacted them by the time the case was dealt with.  Perhaps he meant to use a little humour to emphasise his point?

That such a remark could be taken literally surely illustrates the divide between the contributors to this thread better than any of our actual contributions!

Some want the world to be black and white (that's not to be taken literally, for the avoidance of doubt), whilst others believe it never can (or should) be.

 

 

 

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By BKD
elliottchandler
20th Apr 2012 08:19

Morals

Purple_Pig wrote:

Technically we should report a client for one penny - totally ridiculous.

As I said above, yes, it's a nonsense - but at the moment the law is what it is. But taking your analogy of the speeding offence - yes, the authorities have the discretion not to prosecute minor infractions. Just as SOCA have the discretion to disregard a petty MLR offence reported to them. The reporting obligations and subsequent action are two entirely separate matters. That may be why I would be reasonably comfortable in reporting every minor offence I come across - (a) it keeps me out of jail (b) it is unlikely to be followed up, and so I am not 'dumping my client in it' and (c) the more ludicrous reports that SOCA receive, perhaps the greater the encouragement to amend the law to operate in a more sensible manner.

Purple_Pig wrote:

As for "morals" - they simply have no place in this because everyones morals are different ......  Face it the law has nothing to do with morals,

You need to read carefully what I said above. I said that I consider that I have a moral obligation to report a suspected offence. I did not say that everyone or anyone else should feel such a moral duty - yes, everyone is diffferent and no-one is more right or wrong than anyone else. And of course the law has little to do with morals - that is why I said I had legal and moral obligations - the two are quite separate.

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By Old Greying Accountant
20th Apr 2012 01:46

The law, as they say ...

... is an ass.

What that makes those who follow it with relish is not for polite company.

Me, the older I get the more anarchistic I get.

There is only one law I respect, and in modern parlance that is not "on trend" 

The essence of it is "be nice to people"!

Shirley:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. " - Edmund Burke

So, I shop a client for fiddling their taxes, we all know from David Winch how draconion the confiscation powers are, and they lose everything - their wife and kids become innocent victims and are now destitue and homeless whilst the moraly bankrupt government has a pile of cash to bomb innocent foreigners with, or to hand out to the bone idle or otherwise p**s away - and yes, I think in tax evasion or company fraud type scenarios the spouses are probably totally unaware of what is going on - does that make me a good man?

I don't want to come over all Pontius Pilate, but that is not something I want on my hands - especially when you see how much the MP's have fiddled and got away with scot-free - apart from the token appeasement example that has been made.

I have not said I wouldn't, but would not be happy doing so, it would leave a very bitter taste in my mouth and it would not be because I respect the law and they have broken it, but through fear of the law and because I value my freedom - that is not a pleasant way to have to live!

 

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20th Apr 2012 01:57

Good and bad

"Because she did not have photographic ID the bank actually told her that as far as they were concerned she did not exist, despite the fact that I was there with her."

Of course she exists. She just can't prove who she is to strangers. If she doesn't want a passport and doesn't want to have a proof of ID it is her entitlement and if she has problems as a result of that I would blame her not any "police state". Isn't it sensible to have a passport in case of an emergency?

Why is AccountingWeb's comment box impossible to use properly?

"dstickl, if you've ever had any dealings with the FSA you will know that by the time they act, if they act, the liklihood is that you will have forgotten why you contacted them"

The vast majority of people employed by the state or a large employer have no interest in doing their jobs properly. Have you tried contacting Trading Standards or the Police? With the police, if it's a murder or a bank robbery they will act but if it's drug dealers they don't act.

 

 

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By dstickl
DMGbus
21st Apr 2012 10:04

@petersaxton: So no "Police State" here in Great Britain then?

petersaxton wrote:
... [Why is AccountingWeb's comment box impossible to use properly?]  ...  The vast majority of people employed by the state or a large employer have no interest in doing their jobs properly.  ...  With the police, if it's a murder or a bank robbery they will act but if it's drug dealers they don't act.

Hi petersaxton! So are you suggesting that there is no "Police State" here in Great Britain then, contrary to some other posters on this MLR thread?   Interesting!

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20th Apr 2012 07:24

@OGA

You are quite rude about people who do follow the laws of the land, and imply you wouldn't report tax evasion because of the draconian confiscation laws, or you may follow the law and report evasion because you fear the law and don't want to lose your freedom? Not a very attractive description of law abiding people ... or yourself!

Changing the subject slightly, but still on the subject of the law ..... this government can't even get rid of one man who is a threat to our security because somehow this man has very clever legal council who are happy for the safety of our citizens to go jump!!! So if you get arrested for non-compliance with the law just get the same legal council .......

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By Old Greying Accountant
21st Apr 2012 20:43

That's not quite what I said Shirley ...

... I said categorically I would obey the law, but not that I agree with it, and I don't do so out of respect for it in many cases.

I was also categorically not rude about people who obey the law, we must whether or not we agree with it for society to work, but I was rude about those get a perverse thrill from so doing, implying especially if they cause suffering and anguish to others in so doing - a big difference.

Most of us just want to get on with their lives in peace and quiet, and most are quite capable of so doing, and are capable of knowing when to call the authorities and when to turn a blind eye. The laws of this land are so complex and so over-lapping often obeying one causes you to break another.

Let me give you an example - you are waiting at red traffic lights and an ambulance comes up behind, the only way it can progress is if the car ahead crosses the stop line whilst the light is red. This is illegal unless directed to do so by a police officer, do you take their number and report them? What if it were you at the front, would you go through the red light? What if you don't and get home to find your parent/husband/wife/child has died because the ambulance didn't get there in time?

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taxguru
20th Apr 2012 09:38

A sensible magistrate

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

Let me give you an example - you are waiting at red traffic lights and an ambulance comes up behind, the only way it can progress is if the car ahead crosses the stop line whilst the light is red. This is illegal unless directed to do so by a police officer, do you take their number and report them? What if it were you at the front, would you go through the red light? What if you don't and get home to find your parent/husband/wife/child has died because the ambulance didn't get there in time?

 

 

Actually I have been in exactly that situation, except it was a fire engine behind me.  I crossed a quiet junction, at night, against the lights, to allow him to continure. The junction and road layout was such that if I had not moved he simply could not get past.  

A week later I received a summons (cameras on the lights). This was 15-20 years ago.

I told them to stick it, and it eventually went to court. The driver of the fire engine had been traced and very kindly gave a statement about the serious incident they were going to, the potential consequences of delays in getting there, etcetera.

It was very gratifying when the magistrate then tore into the CPS lawyer, asked himj what he was playing at bring this case to court, lectured him at some length about applying common sense, dismissed the case, and ordered the CPS to pay my costs.

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By Old Greying Accountant
20th Apr 2012 09:43

You were lucky ...

... you had a magistrate with common sense!

I found this that may be of interest

http://www.bluelightaware.org.uk/?p=239

 

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By cwatkin
DMGbus
21st Apr 2012 12:37

Common sense
Old Greying Accountant has correctly identified what is needed in complying with MLR. Common sense! Something politicians and civil servants especially HMRC have never possesses

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20th Apr 2012 09:53

Identity cards

The cynic in me wonders is this is a way to get National identity Cards in via the backdoor?

Peter Saxon has already stated that he thinks the solution to opening a bank account without acceptable ID is to apply for a passport - pragmatic but surely not what passports are intended for? Would the Home Office object to passports being issued to those with no intentions of foriegn travel?

If they start to extend legislation to other situations - let's say they hit upon the notion to combat knife crime that every one has to show photgraphic ID at point of sale.

Legislation already requires photgraphic ID to purchase all manner of goods & services as it is.

How long until some helpful politico says wouldn't it be much better if we gave everyone a nice card with their photo on it?

 

 

 

 

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By Flash Gordon
20th Apr 2012 10:11

Different approach = different result

I told them to stick it, and it eventually went to court.

Perhaps it was your tone that meant that it went to court? I've always found that a calm, polite approach works wonders. If you'd merely written a letter explaining the situation rather than taking a more argumentative approach they might have looked into it themselves and cancelled it?

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ohgoodgodno
20th Apr 2012 10:55

How many ?

Flash Gordon wrote:

I told them to stick it, and it eventually went to court.

Perhaps it was your tone that meant that it went to court? I've always found that a calm, polite approach works wonders. If you'd merely written a letter explaining the situation rather than taking a more argumentative approach they might have looked into it themselves and cancelled it?

 

 

Ah, but I wouldn't have got a nice cheque for costs, or had the pleasure of seeing the other side torm off a strip.

I did initially write back simply outlining the fact, their response was that they didn't care, at which point I decided that I'd make them care.

 

But, we digress.

On the subject of money laudering reports it would be interesting to see how many times people do actually file reports, and how many times they simply "write off" what might technically be reportable as insignificant.

I have filed only one report in what was a really blatant case, and only then after the client(s) quite aggressively refused to put matters right despite quite a large sum of money (£100k+) being involved.

 

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ohgoodgodno
20th Apr 2012 13:54

Just standing up for oneself

Flash Gordon wrote:

I told them to stick it, and it eventually went to court.

Perhaps it was your tone that meant that it went to court? I've always found that a calm, polite approach works wonders. If you'd merely written a letter explaining the situation rather than taking a more argumentative approach they might have looked into it themselves and cancelled it?

Some times you just can't get through to common sense, I often just say go for it then I 'll see you in court, when it's the only way they will learn.

They usually go quiet then, presumably when they are going through their case and realise that they don't have one.

Had an electricity company solicitor threaten to take me to court over an unpaid bill that had been paid (on time too). Turned out their computer had gone down and they had lost all the records for several days including my payment I was shouted at as if I should have known this.

It is not uncommon for HMRC to persue debts because they have put the payment somewhere else and the two offices will not speak to each other.

I think it was good that a CPS Zelot was taught how to behave. You could say the defendant completed his civic duty by assisting in this education.

What a waste of tax payers money but not the defendants fault in any way. Well done that man !

Probably an offence to obstruct a fire engine on call too ?

 

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By Flash Gordon
20th Apr 2012 12:19

Says it all

Ah, but I wouldn't have got a nice cheque for costs

What costs?! The price of a stamp to send your first letter. Oh no, silly me, it's the culture of 'make a fortune out of suing instead of working'. It must have been so nice when people actually worked for a living or claimed benefit while they were actually looking for work and were ashamed to admit they needed a handout (that they'd actually paid for out of tax). Now we have the 'entitled' society who demand money for existing and prefer to blame & complain their way to a living instead of getting off their backsides to earn it.

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20th Apr 2012 12:48

Travelling to court

I received costs when I won a case. I was entitled to them because my client got me to do work, agreed to pay and then said "he didn't want to pay". He didn't have any complaint about the work. I did his personal tax but he tried to say that his company was liquidated when he got a job so he shouldn't pay.

I don't claim any kind of benefits and I work for a living. The costs came out of the defendants pockets not the government.

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By Flash Gordon
20th Apr 2012 13:01

@ Peter

Your case is totally different - you worked, you deserved to get paid. Your client refused and therefore you incurred costs getting him to pay.

Your client on the other hand is obviously the type I was talking about, wants something for nothing. I hope you kicked him into touch once you'd got your fee!

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21st Apr 2012 11:14

laziness

I don't think there's a police state.

There's certainly a lot of laziness around.

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23rd Apr 2012 10:32

Phantom messages ?

Has the phantom struck again ? And the post been deleted ? Only got the message in my inbox but now its not there ??

Quite funny really.

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By dstickl
23rd Apr 2012 20:25

@dwgw: Thanx for your amusing interpretations / speculations.

Hi dwgw!  Many thanks for your amusing interpretations / speculations.  Appreciated.

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24th Apr 2012 16:22

AML

I use online verification once the client has given me written authorisation to do so. I would only ask to see physical documents if the online verification process fails,which doesn't happen often.

I had to get online verification when I was the tax bit of an accountancy helpline but I now use it on all clients because it speeds up the workflow .

 

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