UK - HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has again extended the deadline by which firms are required to register as a trust or company service provider (TCSP) under the new money laundering regulations, as updated guidance has been delayed.

The money-laundering regulations originally required a "firm or sole practitioner who by way of business" acts as a professional trustee to register as a TCSP by April 1 2008.

However, in March HMRC admitted there was a need for further guidance on "interpreting" the regulations, which would include information on whether trustees would have to register and implement anti-money laundering systems.

As a result, it confirmed the deadline for registration would be extended until May 31 2008 to allow trustees, and other affected businesses, to "consider the impact of the updated guidance". (See earlier IPE story: HMRC extends money-laundering deadline)

HMRC has now issued a fresh update in which it admitted it is "still in the process of finalising the guidance" as it wants to "make sure the right businesses register with us".

So as the previous extension expires within a month, HMRC has now confirmed it will "set a new application deadline of a minimum of four weeks from the date on which the updated guidance is published".

It stated this new extension will allow firms to "consider the impact" of the guidance, and as a result of the delay suggested trustees and other firms "may wish to delay registering".

However, HMRC has yet to specify a publication date for the guidance, and instead recommended affected businesses "continue to check our latest news page" on the HMRC website for the latest updates.

The decision to publish updated guidance followed concerns form the industry that a lack of information from HMRC about whether professional trustees are classed as TCSPs would mean they would either have to apply for an individual ruling from the government or face "draconian" penalties. (See earlier IPE story: Trustees warned over money-laundering rules)

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