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In a statement, HMRC said it recognises the “significant challenges” the art market faces “as a result of Covid-19” but “the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing continue, with criminals using the current financial difficulties to their advantage”.

New anti-money laundering rules (applying the Fifth Money Laundering Directive, known as 5MLD) took effect on January 10. They apply to ‘Art Market Participants’ (AMPs) – auction houses, dealers or anyone trading in or acting as an intermediary in the trade of works of art that sell for above the €10,000 threshold (or a series of linked transactions).

HMRC said that although most businesses will already have procedures in place for clients or transactions where the customer is not physically present, “social distancing requirements are likely to increase this need”.

HMRC’s planned staggered registration schedule for the year has been postponed but AMPs can still register for anti-money laundering supervision with HMRC online via atg.news/AMPregister

The new directive is in addition to the stipulations already in place under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

Guidance designed to help AMPs meet their new obligations under this regulation can be viewed via atg.news/AMLguide