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Don’t get caught out: Important update on Money Laundering registrations and renewals

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Don’t get caught out. Estate agents must have registered their business with HMRC to meet their obligations under Money Laundering Regulations.

A registration is required for every business entity and every trading branch must also be registered.

Failure to do so means the back registrations fees will need to be paid from the date you began trading and there will be a penalty for failing to register. The penalty is reduced if you voluntarily register late.

Did you also know that you must notify HMRC within 30 days of any changes, or risk a penalty?

Go to the HMRC website and complete form MLR RTC1 if any of the following have changed –

  • Change of company, address, trading name, phone number
  • Change of franchisee or agency status
  • Change of business partners
  • Any new or closed branches
  • Change in nominated officer

You may still be able to do this by printing off the form and posting it to HMRC, but I suspect this will not be for much longer.

Registration is an annual obligation and you would normally be sent a reminder, but it appears that recently the reminder notifications have not been sent out due to “computer system changes” at HMRC!

Agents who think they might have missed their renewal date should check immediately, because the lack of a reminder will not be a defence.

The renewal process is now online only and HMRC says it will take an agent about 45 minutes to complete the renewal application, but that is ridiculously optimistic.

It might take you 45 minutes to complete the online application process if you are a sole trader.

If your business is a limited company with a few directors or a limited liability partnership with multiple partners, it will take you 45 minutes to complete the process for each director.

Agents that have completed the application are saying that it is a long process with far more questions to answer than was previously the case.

One said it took him a full day to obtain all the information required from the directors and enter it on to the site. Another one said it would have been better if they had been told what information was required about their partners before they started the process, because they ended up having to go backwards and forwards to fill the information into the online form.

The form requires you to enter a range of personal information about the directors, including outlining evidence of the money laundering training they have undertaken.

If you have any compliance questions and you are a subscriber to Property Industry Eye, you can call David Beaumont on 0161 727 0798 and obtain free advice on our Compliance Helpline.

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