Accountants and Bookkeepers fall under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Finance Terrorism legislation as of 1 October 2018 which means more compliance activities are going to be required when agreeing to work together.
The requirement is to verify identities of those we work with, so don’t be alarmed if the process of working with an organisation who falls under the Act (Accountants, Bookkeepers, Banks, Real Estate Agents, Lawyers etc) becomes a little more convoluted in the future. You will probably need to provide more information than you think is necessary and sign your life away in the process. This information is used to verify you are who you are which is the requirement under the new law.
Its about protecting New Zealand, making it harder for criminals to launder money provides a significant disincentive to carrying out the criminal activity in the first place.
AN UNSPOILT PARADISE FOR US – NOT FOR MONEY LAUNDERERS.
Our country is a target for money launderers. It’s estimated that over $1 billion a year comes from drug dealing and fraud, and can be laundered through New Zealand businesses. Risking our reputation and economy. So, we’re making law changes to protect New Zealand and everything we love about it. Together, we can keep our money clean.
WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING?
To put it simply, money laundering is a crime. It’s the process criminals use to ‘clean’ the money they make from crimes such as fraud, dealing in illegal drugs and trafficking. By making the money look like it comes from a legitimate source, they can cover their tracks and avoid detection. Criminal organisations and people who finance terrorism target businesses and countries they believe have weak systems and controls that they can exploit.
THE SIZE OF THE PROBLEM
Money laundering is happening every day across the country. It’s estimated that over $1 billion a year comes from drug dealing and fraud, and can be laundered through New Zealand businesses. However, the true cost and impact is many times that figure when you factor in all the crimes that generate “dirty” money and the suffering they cause.
People who finance terrorism also use these methods to send money to violent causes and to disguise who is providing and receiving the money. While the likelihood of terrorism financing is low, the potential consequences are significant.
DOING BUSINESS AS USUAL
Any business that provides these services will need to put systems and processes in place to prevent criminals from trying to exploit them, and ensure they can identify their customers, know their addresses and, in some cases, know the sources of their customers’ funds.
Additionally, all businesses and service providers covered under the AML/CFT Act (including those from the first phase) will now have reporting requirements that relate to particular transactions as well as suspicious activities.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Generally speaking, customers and users of these services don’t need to do anything. Simply be aware that some extra information may be required from you during these transactions. Even if you have been a customer of these businesses for a long time, they may need to ask you to help confirm that you are who you say you are and, in some cases, tell them where the money you are going to use has come from.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
They are not doing this because they think you are laundering money – they are doing it to help protect everyone and because they are required to under the law. Together, we can help keep our money clean.
NOTE: Information shared from https://www.keepourmoneyclean.govt.nz/