HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may visit your business if it's registered with them under the Money Laundering Regulations. The purpose of the visit is to check that you're complying with anti-money laundering legislation. HMRC will look at how you operate your anti-money laundering policies and procedures and help you make sure you've put the right systems in place.
This guide explains what to expect if HMRC contacts you to arrange a visit, so that you know who should be present, what HMRC will focus on, and the records they will want to see. It will help you to be prepared if HMRC decides to visit your business.
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HMRC makes sure that businesses registered with them are complying with the Money Laundering Regulations. They may visit your business if their information suggests there is a risk that money laundering could take place. If they do decide to visit your business this doesn't necessarily mean they think there's something wrong.
When HMRC visits your business they'll make sure you understand the anti-money laundering legislation. It's a good opportunity to ask them about anything you're unsure of. They'll look at your anti-money laundering policies and procedures to check that you're only doing what's really necessary. They'll check you know about any simplified procedures you could take advantage of.
If HMRC decides to visit your business they'll generally contact you by phone to arrange a convenient time.
They'll normally visit your main business premises so that they can:
If you want HMRC to visit a different business premises you should let them know.
HMRC will write to you and confirm:
Usually they'll let you know in advance the names and contact numbers of the visiting officers.
Exceptionally, HMRC may visit a business without making an appointment. If they do, they will:
When HMRC arrives at your business premises they'll need to talk to the owner of the business.
After that, as the owner of the business you don't need to be there so long as a responsible person is present who can:
Note that the nominated officer - and the person in the business who's responsible for complying with anti-money laundering legislation if that's someone else - should always be there during the visit.
A visiting officer will look at your policies and procedures and test them to make sure they are working properly. The visiting officer will need to speak to you as the business owner, the nominated officer and sometimes other members of staff to make sure you all understand the policies and procedures and have applied them in your business.
If you have a professional adviser, you can ask them to be present during the visit but they cannot stand in for you. Only you can answer the visiting officers’ questions about your business. But your adviser may be able to explain things better or make things clearer, especially if they were involved with setting up your anti-money laundering policies and procedures or with staff training, but remember they may charge you for this.
When HMRC officers arrive at your premises they'll identify themselves and show you their identity card.
They'll focus on your anti-money laundering policies and procedures to make sure these are working effectively to identify and reduce the money laundering risks your business might face.
During the visit the officers will always:
They'll also answer any questions you might have about your legal responsibilities under anti-money laundering legislation.
HMRC may also carry out some other checks. They may:
HMRC may inspect any cash they find on your premises if you're a High Value Dealer or a Money Service Business. They'll check that your anti-money laundering policies and procedures cover pawnbroking if you offer this as part of your Money Service Business.
As well as the checks listed above, HMRC might ask to see any of the following records:
HMRC will only look at Suspicious Activity Reports for anti-money laundering legislation purposes. They won't look at them for tax purposes.
HMRC aims to carry out their visit as quickly as possible. Unless you're a large or complex business they'll usually take less than a day.
At the end of the visit the HMRC officers will:
After the visit, HMRC will write to you:
They'll give you a reasonable amount of time to let them have any information they need, and to put right any problems.
The length of time before HMRC visits your business again varies. It depends on: