The amendment of the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism made a lot of changes in Polish legal system, that are being introduced in arranged periods of time. Since July 31, 2021 the list of obliged institutions will also include accounting offices with imposed on them extra duties in matters of registration and reporting of transactions made by accounted parties.
According to newly added amendment Article 2 § 1 point 15a – of the Act on counteracting money laundering and fighting terrorism the complied parties will also include entrepreneurs. Within the meaning of Law of Businessman, fundamental business activities of an entrepreneur are making declarations, keeping of tax books, giving advice, opinions or explanations regarding tax and customs regulations, that are not another obliged institution. Statement of reason to the act states that the right way of transposition regulations of the Directive 2018/843 cannot be limited to acknowledging as obliged institutions only tax preparers, but also has to have a regard for any other person that gives support or advice on tax cases.
Accounting offices, as obliged institutions, among other things, will be obligated to implement internal procedure in addition to counteracting money laundering and financing terrorism, appoint people responsible for legitimate implementation and execution of duties regarding AML, provide the employee training, make a written statement of the risks concerning obliged institution and updating it at least every 2 years, be audited as to the abidance by the rules of the act or obligations of secrecy. Furthermore, the great change will also include the obligation of making note of any variance in gathered information between Central Register of Beneficial Owners and real beneficial owners of the client that are determined by the application of the Act. Also Article 72 of afore-mentioned Act states that obliged institutions must inform the General Inspector of Financial Information about the deposit, withdrawal or transfer of funds that are equivalent to more than 15.000 euro.
Moreover, according to the Article 34 of the Act the accounting offices will be obliged to identifying the clients and verifying their identity, identifying the real beneficial owners and taking justified actions concerning verification of their identity or determining the structure of property and control. Additionally accounting offices will have to make an assessment of economic relations and, according to the situation, obtain information about their purpose, intended character and continuous monitoring of economic relations with the client.
We have to keep in mind that not complying with regulations of the Act may result in high administrative fines sanctioned by the GIIF, that can be as high as PLN 1 000 000. People working on behalf of obliged institution can also be sentenced to prison for a period from 3 months to 5 years, if they did not inform the General Inspector about the conditions which can lead to suspecting a commission of a crime or a suspicion that the determined transaction or all assets that are the subject of transaction are related to money laundering or financing terrorism. This sentence can also be issued in case of giving false information or withholding the true ones regarding transactions, bills or people, to the General Inspector.
New regulations concerning the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism are going to have a huge impact on an autonomy of accounting offices. For many, implementing the requirements of the AML Act will not be easy, so the most important thing should be conducting appropriate, up to date training and implementing internal procedures in offices regarding the new obligations that resulted from AML Act.