What is HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)?

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the UK government's tax authority. The agency is in charge of collecting taxes, providing child benefits, enforcing tax and customs rules, and requiring companies to pay the minimum wage. 

HMRC was founded in 2005 as a result of the merger of the Inland Revenue and the Board of Customs and Excise, the bodies that formerly handled domestic taxes and customs collection. 

History of HM Revenue and Customs  

Under the 2005 Revenue and Customs Commissioners Act, commissioners appointed by the Queen to take charge of the country's tax system established the HRMC in the UK as a non-departmental division. Therefore, the agency reports directly to Parliament through the Treasury, led by the Minister of Finance. Treasury, in turn, oversees expenditure by HMRC. 

In 1862, a committee was appointed to discuss combining the duties of the Internal Revenue with those of Customs and Monopoly. In 1909, SCT was abolished by the Internal Revenue Administration and merged with the Customs Board to form the Customs and Monopoly Board.  

The decision to merge the Internal Revenue and the Customs and Monopoly Board, announced in March 2004, was met with some skepticism as the two departments have different historical and cultural foundations and legal structures. 

Anti-Money Laundering and the HMRC 

The HMRC is quite assertive in its attempts to combat money laundering. To help in the battle against financial crime, the non-ministerial agency developed strict legislation. In addition, the organization produced regulations and guidelines that specifically target money laundering. Several financial institutions are required to follow the rules and regulations. 

Moreover, in order to prevent money laundering, the HMRC established various requirements on financial institutions. The requirements include a "Know Your Customer" component that requires financial institutions to conduct background checks and verify their clients' identities, transaction detail tracking and record-keeping, and the hiring of a dedicated financial crimes specialist to ensure compliance with financial crime regulations. 

The HMRC also ensures that financial institutions disclose any suspicious transactions, which is a fundamental and legal duty. In addition to the criteria, financial institutions are required to collect information and data about their collaborating businesses and other associated parties. The department also requires financial institutions to do a risk analysis in order to identify and assess financial crime-related risks and to implement suitable risk prevention and/or reduction measures. 

Furthermore, the HMRC requires financial institutions to preserve extensive records of their clients and transactions. To further the department's anti-financial goals, a position known as a "Money Laundering Reporting Officer" was created. Every financial institution is obligated to employ a money laundering reporting officer.

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