Client evasiveness, reluctance to submit information and the EU 4th anti-money laundering directive
In support of Lifecycle’s CPD seminars next month, tax expert and author Steve O’Neill has shared his thoughts, insight and experience on the latest anti-money laundering legislation.
The Corporate, Legal and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Specialist is Managing Director of Business Tax Centre (BTC) - a trusted partner of the Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group (LCBSG), providers of the Lifecycle network .
He will consider the risks for accountants who unintentionally facilitate this area of economic crime, which costs the UK economy more than £24billion each year. He will also examine the role played by professionally qualified accountants who are well positioned to help combat it.
In this article Steve shares the first of five money laundering warning signs - client evasiveness or reluctance to submit information - and how accountants can manage it successfully, safely and within the confines of the law.
“When taking on new clients, secrecy and evasiveness should be key areas of concern. It usually manifests as a reluctance to disclose detailed information or to provide data or documents required to process transactions. In many instances, this is purely for the purpose of tax evasion.
“In response to international concerns about evasion of Government taxes across many developed jurisdictions, robbery or theft (such as smuggling and the evasion of customs tax, as well as both direct and indirect tax evasion) have been added to the reporting requirements of all Financial Action Task Force members and states.
“Needless to say, it’s never been more important for accountants to exercise the most rigorous due diligence processes. Those who facilitate tax avoidance - even unwitting professional enablers - will be subjected to tougher financial penalties for ploys that have been defeated in court.
“In the Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced plans to “improve the fairness” of the system with new measures that will be introduced in July and are expected to raise £115million by 2022.
“The Finance Act 2016 has specific offences in relation to offshore tax evasion. The taxpayer caught by this legislation will be entitled to mitigation of his or her own penalty if he or she provides information about any enabler.
About the Lifecycle network
Lifecycle is free to join and also offers members many additional benefits. These include eligibility for a highly competitive Professional Indemnity insurance scheme, a regular programme of free training and education and discounts on products and services relevant to their business and clients’ needs.
Services offered by Lifecycle include: Company secretarial and formation; equity finance for SMEs; debt advisory for SMEs; personal debt advice; corporate restructuring, insolvency and cessation; debt finance for SMEs; cashflow maximisation; property solutions and legal services.