Estate agents and letting agents are among those driving up the number of UK businesses registering for anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring with HMRC.
The total number of businesses on HMRC’s AML Register increased by 0.9% between financial year 2020-21 and 2021-22, analysis of publicly available data by AML verification firm Credas Technologies has revealed.
The rise was driven by a surge in the volume of listings of letting agents and art dealers, after HMRC first asked them to register on the AML register in January 2020.
The number of art sellers registered with HMRC increased by 358%, from 200 in 2020-21 to 916 in 2021-22, while the number of letting agents registered with the AML register also jumped by 191, 1%, from 112 to 326, the analysis revealed .
HMRC has required high-risk businesses, such as accountants, money transfer businesses and law firms, to register for AML monitoring since 2018.
The number of estate agents registered with HMRC for AML supervision also increased by 3.7%, from 11,416 in 2020-21 to 11,843 in 2021-22. Estate agents make up 38.4% of all businesses on the HMRC register – behind only the accountancy sector (46%).
Tim Barnett, CEO of Credas Technologies, said: “Once again it is real estate agents who are proving to be the most proactive professionals when it comes to tightening the net against money laundering within British companies. The UK property market has long been a common target for money laundering and for too long it has been easy for them to exploit the property buying process in order to wash away their ill-gotten gains.
“Each new real estate agency that registers for supervision makes it a little harder for these criminals to succeed in their illegal endeavors and that’s great news for everyone…except the criminals, of course.”