The UK Government’s proposal to raise £100m ($132.81m) per year from organisations regulated for Anti-money Laundering (AML) purposes will place unacceptable fees on accountants and their clients, says the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

The new levy is in addition to the AML fees already being payed by 22 professional bodies to the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS).

While it criticised the Economic Crime Levy, AAT stressed its support for tackling money laundering and economic crime.

AAT head of public affairs and public policy Phil Hall said: “An additional £100m of costs is simply unacceptable in the current climate, which sees businesses large and small having to contend with both the effects of the pandemic and Brexit.

“There is also a disturbing lack of clarity from the Government about how it would calculate and collect such a levy fairly and reasonably, making this highly contentious and, AAT would argue, grossly unfair.

“Why should properly-regulated professionals, who are mostly well-behaved and considered low risk, be financially penalised –  whilst high-risk, unregulated agents are free to trade without any financial contribution towards the problems they often help create? That simply can’t be right.”