HM Treasury and the Home Office published the UK’s third national risk assessment just before Christmas. The previous risk assessment was published in 2017.

The report identifies that the accountancy services considered most at risk of exploitation continue to be company formation and termination, mainstream accounting and payroll. It also includes examples of how such services were used to launder money.

Some of the higher risk services identified in the report are as follows:

• Payroll services can also provide criminals with a legitimate-looking record of money movement.

• The provision of tax advice and acting as an agent with HMRC on behalf of clients provides several means to launder money and poses a high risk. This is because large amounts of funds can be claimed or undeclared and there is a high likelihood of this service being used.

• Company liquidation and associated services can be used to mask the audit trail of money laundered through a company.

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