HMRC AML supervision fees skyrocket

HMRC letter
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From 1 May 2019, HMRC-supervised accountants will see their AML supervision fees rise by 230%.

Under the new fee structure, HMRC has confirmed that existing renewal fees will increase from £130 to £300 per premises.

Explaining the move, the Revenue said the increased fee is to cover the department’s “more robust approach to supervision”.

In order to do this, HMRC will need a greater number of staff working face-to-face and at their desks on compliance activity so it can provide greater coverage of its supervised population.

HMRC’s decision is the result of a consultation last August which gave responders three options that would enable HMRC to increase its income from around £10m to £18-20m.

In addition to the increased fee, the consultation also flagged concerns from affected parties about the complexity of the fee structure. In response to a preference towards a single fee, HMRC has decided to remove the one-off application charge from January 2020.

HMRC has also opted against introducing a late renewal fee at this time, waiting instead until the service has improved and appropriate safeguards are in place.

And it’s not just the renewal fees that will increase. HMRC also has chosen to increase the existing test to £150 in May.

Responders to the consultation leaned towards a turnover-based fee. Sole traders and small businesses, in particular, felt this approach would proportionately represent the risk that they present. As such, HMRC is set to introduce a reduced “small business fee” of £180 from May 2019 for businesses with a turnover of less than £5,000.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, affected AccountingWEB members did not greet the news with great joy. Chris Mann was the first to break the news on Any Answers: “In addition to being an unpaid "informant", I'm now obliged to pay what seems to me, to be quite excessive fees, for the privilege”, he said.

The increased fee did not find supporters in other corners of the site. In another thread, legerman bemoaned the efficiency of HMRC’s supervision: “Last year it was taking nine months to get approval and emails were taking 16 days to be answered. I don't know how long the wait is now as my renewal only went in 3 weeks ago.

“After increased fees, will the service be running at cost, or are HMRC looking to make a profit from this service?”

And Cheshire was also unimpressed: “Having been 'supervised' by both HMRC and a governing body I fail to see what HMRC supervision consists of. It's just another form of taxation. They just take the fee, add your name to their online list and run.”

HMRC currently supervises 23,000 businesses across seven different sectors, including accountancy service providers not supervised by a professional body.

About Richard Hattersley

Richard Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's Practice Editor. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.

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06th Apr 2019 08:49

From the intro to 'Alias Smith & Jones':
(a 1990's TV western series)
"There's one thing we gotta get Hayes..."
"What's that?"
"Outa this business"

Quite.

Thanks (5)
06th Apr 2019 15:13

Until they start treating us like human beings I refuse to pay them any more money for AML.

I have paid not once but 4 times for my AML registration! my most recent payment was a full application because they transfered my account to the new system and I was unable to access it online to renew. I was advised I had to let it expire and re-apply, I did this and now I have been told I cannot re-apply because I have an existing expired account! dozens of emails and phone calls to various HMRC departments and nothing. The replies I do get are either automated responces or clearly show that the person answering did not read the entire email and advises solutions I have already exhausted!

I cannot comply with MTD until the ASA account is set up and I need my AML for that.

To say I'm at my wits end with this is an understatement!

Thanks (4)
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06th Apr 2019 15:38

I had to threaten the AML department as their online system didn’t work . In the end I got a direct email . Very stressful indeed .

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08th Apr 2019 12:40

I look forward to a 230% increase in training materials, service and value to my business.

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10th Apr 2019 10:12

The whole system fails to recognise the need to use common sense and carry out reality checks.

You have to do a risk assessment before you do the job but how do you know what the risks are until you look at what is presented. All they want to see is if you have ticked the boxes based on something you have not looked at.

As all business are different then you cannot have one size fits all solution which is why the present audit rules do not work.

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10th Apr 2019 10:22

I was registered under the old AML system which I always renewed in February when SA was out of the way. This year I got a letter in January saying my registration had lapsed and I had to reapply, which I did on 25th January. I'm still waiting to hear!!!!
Like Chariot4info I can't get my ASA and file under MTD until I get my AML sorted. I tried asking on a MTD webinar what I was supposed to do. Answer came there none.

Then to hear about this increase was adding insult to injury. As semi retired (supposedly) with a £20k turnover £300 is ludicrous.

Even worse service than normal from HMRC.
HMRC seems to think people go into business just to do their (HMRC's) admin for them.
Maybe I shouldcomplain to my MP.

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By SKCOX
10th Apr 2019 10:25

A pedant writes: I take the point that £300 is (roughly) 230% 0f £130. But does that make it a 230% increase? If they stayed the same they would be 100% of what they were before, but they would not have risen by 100%.

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to SKCOX
10th Apr 2019 10:38

it incorrectly states rise by 230% so you're point is valid as it should be 130% rise.

I'm okay with it as long as we can impose late fines on HMRC for not dealing with issues they should have. Including new issues that they ought to have known about (ignorance is no excuse)

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By raju m
to SKCOX
10th Apr 2019 10:48

increased to 230% of current value.

Raj mehta

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By SKCOX
to raju m
10th Apr 2019 19:51

Agreed. Worth updating the article Richard? Doesn't dilute the point that it's a large and unwarranted increase.

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By Ammie
10th Apr 2019 10:33

Oh dear!

Governement purse strings really are tight. Direct taxes are at breaking point so its careful scrutiny for every other nook and cranny where they can squeeze more from.

Perhaps they should try wasting less!

Some while ago it was intimated that there was an under current of intent by HM government to reduce the number of accountants out there, preferably to the more sizeable organisations. This move adds a little more weight to that.

I'm sure its an upshot of Brexit, as everything will be for ever now.

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By tedbuck
10th Apr 2019 11:18

The mind boggles - HMRC are so incompetent that the expression 'working on it' doesn't really seem appropriate.
I suppose what it really means is ' we don't understand taxes any longer so we'll find an easier way to raise money - let's charge a few fees instead.'
I am not at all convinced that half the bookkeeping world actually appreciates that money-laundering exists and certainly HMRC waste their time and our money on AML reports which go nowhere so why don't they forget the whole business? I didn't notice many people ratting on the likes of Carillion and PatVal but someone must have known. Perhaps they did report something and nobody at the AML house bothered to do anything. I just cannot remember any report saying 'Look how clever we are this criminal is now sitting comfortably in jail because of our efforts at the NCA'.
Actually it is more than a waste of time since the Prosecutors' office and Police seem incapable of getting any thing right beyond charging people with hate crimes for using the wrong pronoun.

It seems to me to be a total waste of time and money and perfect proof that our Parliament and legislators are completely mad. We have no chance people - Whom the Gods would destroy they first drive mad! We certainly have the mad people in charge in Parliament and HMRC and various other Government Departments.

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By Bill H
10th Apr 2019 11:20

Disgusting! I call it theft. Surely the monopolies commission should be called in to look into this?
I have read readers problems with registering AML and I experienced the same last October. HMRC do not provide any supervision as they are totally incapable of doing so.

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10th Apr 2019 11:53

As I posted on any answers the other day, it's not just HMRC that are hiking their fees- the bodies are up to it as well.

It's become another money grab. At some point the cost to us all not just in the fees (for doing someone else's job) but the sheer amount of time and admin involved will outweigh any potential reduction in money laundering activities.

Some of it is sheer farce. As a sole practice (literally just me) I have been told that I have to have a written AML policy for myself, or I will be hauled in front of my disciplinary board and fined!! I've now put one in place and made sure I have notified myself of it and read it and keep it under review. I will ensure that I notify myself if there are any changes to it....

And why is there a 'one size fits all' approach to the fee structure? £300 per office, regardless of staff? £170 from the CIOT, not sure if that's per member of per staff member or per practice.

Seeing as the real money launderers are more likely to be using bigger firms, how about making the bigger firms pay more and subsidising the smaller firms for a change?

It's the same farce as membership fees generally- a partner in the biggest firm in the land pays the same institute fee as the smallest, despite one earning several millions in fees and the other just about earning.

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10th Apr 2019 11:58

Quote:

HMRC has also opted against introducing a late renewal fee at this time, waiting instead until the service has improved and appropriate safeguards are in place.

Ho ho ho ha ha ha
Thanks (1)
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10th Apr 2019 12:42

I just had my car's oil changed. The bill included a separate item for the cost of disposing of the old oil. Same thing happens when tyres are changed - there's a separate charge for disposing of the old tyres.

I'm in favour of all businesses charging separately (and additionally) for the costs of compliance with regulations. It increases transparency to the customer and if the charges get out of hand the customers might be induced to complain to their MP. I don't suppose such complaints would do any real good but perhaps charging separately for overheads like this would make it clear to customers/clients just how much of the bill is made up by overheads imposed by government. Perhaps in this particular case charge for "Compliance costs" with a note at the bottom that this includes HMRC fees, compulsory membership of regulatory bodies, insurance, etc.?

Thanks (1)
10th Apr 2019 13:43

Sorry, I don't see what everyone is moaning about. All you have to do is pass the cost on to your customers.....

Yet another cost saving exercise (or revenue generating)passed on to the tax payer. I think that is purely the attitude they take under the circumstances.

Sorry, but this attitude is taken by the public sector across the board whilst the government continues to waste cash on a whole plethora of issues - HS2, the NHS, failing school academy's. Brexit.......

Then on top of that you get nice little snippets here and there like the £33m pay out to Eurotunnel and their law suit after not being invited to bid for the no deal scenario for Brexit and ferry's. Only to be given to an Irish firm with no capacity or ferry's.

Really..... totally inept

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to Husbandofstinky
16th May 2019 13:29

difficult to pass on costs when business only very small.

Thanks (1)
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10th Apr 2019 13:44

When my renewal was due last year I tried several times to pay the £130 fee online as prompted by the "Manage your anti-money laundering supervision" pages on my HMRC Organisation Account. It didn't work so I sent a cheque instead (as I have done in all previous years). It took HMRC 3 months to cash the cheque and weeks later my renewal is still showing as "under review" with "decision pending" even though I've been registered with HMRC AML for years.
How incompetent is that and who exactly is it that needs to be supervised.
I bet the Russian oligarchs with their billions in dirty money slushing around London aren't worrying too much but guess who will be contributing to HMRC's money laundering coffers.

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10th Apr 2019 18:07

I’ve finally decided to call it a day, money laundering fee large hike in fee’s. MTD agent account confusion on government gateway with VAT returns. Customer going bust on me for quite a large amount of money. I won’t miss it.

Thanks (1)
10th Apr 2019 19:32

I think this is an absolute disgrace. I have just 8 clients, all of which I trust implicitly. As Cheshire states "it is just another form of taxation". Are they trying to put us all out of business?

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to Pingsquitch
11th Apr 2019 20:33

Pingsquitch wrote:

Are they trying to put us all out of business?

I don't think that is an explicit aim. It's certainly not documented. But the way I read the tea leaves is that the state bureaucracy would quite like the self-employed and the majority of SMEs (including small firms offering professional services) to just disappear and be replaced by large businesses and (whisper it very quietly) state sponsored enterprises. In the same way I get the feeling that they quite like the current chaos because one inevitable result will be a diminution in the effective power of elected representatives and a concomitant increase in the power of the state bureaucracy. I appreciate that this is a political viewpoint, and I fully accept that I may be wrong, but when people say to me, "Are they trying to put us out of business" my answer is, "Probably, Yes."

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15th Apr 2019 13:02

Hi All,
Can we log a protest by way of a change.org petition with enough online signatures forcing our MPs to at least know the fact that the accounting community isn't pleased with this hike? Suggest, we do more than just mourning HMRC service levels. We can do something to raise our valid concern.
G

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to Gladstone
22nd Apr 2019 15:26

Excellent idea - where do I sign?

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23rd Apr 2019 20:16

The HMRC proportionate MLR fee based on turnover is ludicrous. I would have thought there would have been several tiers rather than a reduced business fee of £180.00 for businesses with a turnover of less than £5,000.00 p.a.

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22nd Apr 2019 15:25

I trust Malcolm McFarlin meant to put £180 not 3180!

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to Pingsquitch
23rd Apr 2019 20:19

Thanks typo now corrected. I feel pretty miffed about this since I did make a contribution to the HMRC consultation paper and supported graduated MLR fees. I didn't expect that the scale would just consist of two!

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to Malcolm McFarlin
01st May 2019 00:04

I to responded to the consultation and I certainly did not vote for a 230% increase. No one in their right mind would!

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02nd May 2019 20:16

I am just in the process of renewing and the charge is £300! I now have only two long term clients as a bookkeeper. The only mention was net profit up to £15,000. No mention of a reduced fee for up to £5,000 turnover. The link 'How your fee has been calculated' won't work. My renewal is due on 31 May. I will leave it for a couple of weeks and try again for the reduced fee. I am inclined to ask my clients to put me on the payroll and do away with all this, as I am in receipt of State Pension.

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to bennieboy
04th May 2019 07:59

Bennieboy - I’m in exactly the same boat as you, in receipt of occupational pension and only two long standing clients, both of which have put me on the payroll this month. Actually feels like a weight off my shoulders.

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16th May 2019 13:37

I cannot set up MTD until i receive my AML registration which i applied for back in February, so 90 days wait so far. If they decide to suddenly charge me the increased fees then I am out of business. I only have a few clients and cant spread the cost of just 6 people, plus the cost of software etc., They are just being greedy. It cost me £270 when i first applied in February and now it has gone up to £590, I wonder if they will request more money which I cant pay and then wont refund all of my £270

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01st Jun 2019 13:15

well the increase will put me out of business, I applied in February and just hope they dont come back and ask for the increase. With the costs of MTD and AML I will close down next year as the small amount of clients I have means I run at a loss, its just not worth it anymore.

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17th Aug 2019 12:06

All my working life I've tried to help the Revenue. If I found fraud, I always sent them full details. Now I've been really messed about by them because I didn't pay a small increase in the money laundering fee.

Now I hate the Revenue.

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