HMRC updates AML penalty guidance

HMRC has updated its guidance on how it takes civil measures for breaches of AML requirements.  The guidance not only sets out HMRC’s approach, which is to promote compliance and prevent non-compliance, but then to respond to any non-compliance in a way that will encourage sustained future compliance but also explains how it will use the sanctions available to it for breach.

HMRC will normally (but does not have to) issue a warning notice (and is then likely to follow up by testing compliance), and, if it has decided to issue a penalty, issue a pre-penalty notice.  If it issues the penalty it will issue a penalty notice which will include details of any right to appeal.  The guidance includes examples of when HMRC will not issue penalties and where it will take action against individual officers.

The guidance now includes a section on publishing statements of penalties, breaches and persons HMRC has banned from management.  Generally, these statements will be published for 5 years and will name the offender unless HMRC considers that to do so would be disproportionate or that publication would affect the stability of the markets.