HMRC denies sending ‘intimidating’ emails to agents over money laundering

HMRC has totally rejected suggestions that emails now being sent to estate agents about anti-money laundering are intimidating.

The emails mention visits and sanctions, including criminal records.

An HMRC spokesperson told EYE that the emails are all part of an ongoing campaign to make sure agents are aware of their responsibilities.

The email, which can be seen on the link below, talks about having visited businesses last week and says: “We carry out regular co-ordinated interventions, combining intelligence for potential breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations, tax failings, as well as potential criminal involvement in supervised businesses.

“We also carry out educational visits to businesses to help them minimise the risk of being used by criminals.”

The letter warns of the “serious consequences” for not complying with anti-money laundering rules, including the possibility of a criminal conviction.

But one agent who received the email said the content seemed designed “to instill terror into the heart of any agent who is not toeing the line.

“I can only describe the tone as hectoring, bordering on intimidating.”

The email was from HMRC Business Help and Support, and is signed by the Customer Engagement Team.

The agent said that both titles could be considered misnomers.

He also pointed out that the HMRC emails had been sent to agents who are already registered.

He said: “I’m registered, I’ve paid my dues. That’s how they have my email address. I use ETSOS for AML checking of sellers and buyers and I also order a compliance pack that gives me Land Registry details to prove that the ’seller’ is the owner of the property. So I spend about £15 plus VAT per property – sell it or not.”

The email refers to HMRC’s visits to estate agency businesses, as we reported back in March.

We asked the spokesperson yesterday whether these visits are now taking place again, but he would not comment.

AML Scan 17 Jul 2019

EYE NEWSFLASH: Knocking at your door – HMRC on warpath pays unannounced visits to agents


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  1. David Clark

    Who takes the Police with them on an ‘educational visit’? A bit like me taking the local Valuation Officer with me on an appraisal!
    If you are registered then would you not know your responsibilities? Suggestion: interrogate (they’ll like that word) your database of UK estate agents for those not registered for AML supervision then pop round with a policeman and see them. Think that’s called targeted education!

  2. James Wilson

    It is great news that HMRC is finally getting serious about money laundering in London property.   I have seen from comments on these forums over the years that agents haven’t been taking this seriously at all, and some have even celebrated filthy money to support London prices and volumes.   Personally I think we need to see more action though.   The agent who sold that property to the women recently prosecuted under the Unexpected Wealth legislation should be in court.  Why isn’t he/she?

    1. Mark Walker 2

      I too welcome the prosecution of all the agents I have seen on this forum celebrating Money Laundering.  Here is a list of all the instances:

  3. Propertycompliance

    At Credas we can provide an AML check for a fraction of the costs mentioned.  We’ve recently received commendation from HMRC at their Regulatory Excellence awards so you can have confidence in the checks being undertaken.  We’re more than happy help any estate agent with questions around compliance and making sure you have a robust solution in place.


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