Government proposals to collect £100m a year from business to fight economic crime have been slipped out by the Treasury as parliament winds down for the summer. A consultation on the economic crime levy announced by the chancellor of the exchequer in his March budget proposes that the levy could be calculated according to revenue, with an exemption for small businesses.
Some 90,000 businesses, including law firms, would potentially be liable for the levy, the document states. Exposure to money laundering risk should 'if possible' be used to determine the amount due. The first payments would be due in the financial year 2022/23.
The Law Society reacted sceptically to the proposals. 'We have strong concerns that a further unjustified burden will fall on a sector already under strain,' president Simon Davis said.
According to the consultation document, the government believes that the costs of further action to tackle money laundering should 'not be borne solely by the general taxpayer'. It seeks views on:
- The levy principles
- What the levy will pay for
- How the government can ensure transparency over levy spending
- How levy liability will be calculated, and which businesses should be paying
- How the levy will be collected and enforced
The consultation closes on 13 October.
Davis commented: 'We will be robustly engaging in the consultation process to ensure the profession’s views are well represented.'