Anti-money laundering

From June 2021, Art Market Participants (AMPs) have had to register with HMRC for money laundering supervision.

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The regulation was brought in as part of the EU’s fifth Money Laundering Directive.

‘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) – must register with HMRC.

HMRC has begun fining companies that do not comply.

Nick Sharp, deputy director of economic crime at HMRC, said: “We are determined to create a level playing field for businesses who play by the rules. That means taking action against the minority of businesses who fail to fulfil their legal responsibilities under the money laundering regulations.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Our regulations are there to protect businesses from those criminals who would prey on their services to wash their dirty money.

“Serious and organised crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and our anti-money laundering supervision is a vital tool in combatting that.”

First fine

According to HMRC, a London firm called Urban Art Online Limited received a fine of £7500 and became the first art market participant to be fined for breaching anti-money laundering requirements.

The firm was one of 175 businesses from other sectors also receiving penalties that totalled £2.18m.

This follows a list published in May 2022 with 147 businesses receiving penalties totalling almost £800,000.

HMRC said it is currently investigating a number of cases of businesses failing to register while trading, which could lead to prison sentences of up two years and an unlimited fine.

Find out about which businesses need to register at: