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HMRC internal manual

Money Laundering Regulations: Registration

Accountancy Service Providers (ASPs): The difference between Tax Advice and Tax Information

When you give information about tax to a client, and it is the same for everyone (so their particular situation is not looked at), this is tax information. For example: the rate of customs duty is X per cent, or the rate of inheritance tax is Y per cent.

When you give tax advice however, you will have studied a client’s particular circumstances, and assessed and recommended a particular course of action, or a product that is suitable for them. This applies even when your relationship with a client is for a short time only. For example: If you do this, your tax or duty liability will be X. If you do that, your tax liability will be Y.

This means that a number of businesses that do not formally call themselves accountants will fall within the scope of the regulations. For example:

  • a business supplying bookkeeping services by completing cash books for clients
  • a payroll agent calculating tax liability, earnings or payments made to a business’s employees
  • a stock auditor calculating expected sales from stock records and comparing them with the takings
  • a business which helps facilitate the tax refunds of other people

will all fall within the scope of the regulations as accountancy service providers. This is because they are all providing accountancy services.