- 8 September 2021
- Posted by: olga
- Category: News
In Poland, the Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing has been in force since 2017, but significant changes have been made to it since 31 July 2021.
Let’s get acquainted with the new obligations imposed on organizations providing accounting services.
From July 31, 2021, all accounting offices – regardless of the number and type of clients – are required to comply with the provisions of the Act on counteracting money laundering and terrorist financing. This is due to a number of administrative measures that will allow them to create appropriate documentation and procedures that define the rules of conduct and fulfillment of statutory obligations in this respect.
For many years, companies providing accounting services, as well as domestic banks, branches of foreign banks, branches of credit institutions, credit unions, tax advisors, attorneys and legal advisers were obliged to comply with statutory obligations. From July 2021, this list of companies has expanded significantly and includes:
- Entrepreneurs whose main activity is the provision of services consisting in the preparation of declarations, keeping tax books, providing advice, opinions or explanations in the field of tax or customs law
- Real estate agents (excluding certain activities)
- Entrepreneurs who run a business in the field of trade in works of art, collectors’ items and antiques.
IMPORTANT! Accounting offices that keep only their clients’ tax books are also subject to the law.
Accounting duties in the light of the new rules include:
- Implementation and updating of internal procedures for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Introduce an anonymous reporting procedure.
- Analysis and assessment of risk related to money laundering and terrorist financing. The analysis involves assessing the risks associated with the accounting activity, taking into account risk factors related to customers, countries or geographic regions, products, services, transactions or delivery channels. The risk assessment should be submitted on paper or electronically and updated at least every two years.
- Providing information to the Inspector General. This change includes the reduction of the time to provide information on transactions exceeding EUR 15,000 from 14 to 7 days from the date of receipt of a payment or withdrawal of cash, as well as a payment transaction involving the transfer of funds in the amount exceeding EUR 15,000.
The Act also introduces a wider group of people who will be responsible for the establishment and subsequent operation of the accounting department in accordance with the provisions on counteracting money laundering and financing terrorism. Until now, it was enough to appoint one person responsible for fulfilling the obligations set out in the Act. As of July 13, responsibility for implementing the provisions of the new law rests with appointed members of senior management or members of the board or other governing body.
What must be done to adapt to change
To prepare for the introduction of the necessary procedures, you need to do the following:
- Designate persons responsible for fulfilling the obligations under the law
- Introduction of internal procedures for combating money laundering
- Develop and implement the procedure of anonymous notification of violations of the provisions of the Act
- Establish the rules for archiving documents related to the fulfillment of obligations under the Act
- Inform employees how to properly perform their duties.
Responsibility for the fulfillment of obligations under the Act will be assigned to:
- To the person holding a senior management position
- For an employee in a managerial position responsible for supervising the compliance of the obligated institution
- On persons from among members of the management board or other management body responsible for fulfilling the obligations specified in the Act.
In the case of sole proprietorship, the owner of the company will be responsible.
Sanctions and fines
Failure to fulfill the above obligations by the obligated institution may result in the imposition of both administrative and criminal sanctions, which will also include:
- Publication of information about the responsible institution as well as the size and scope of infringements in the Bulletin of the Chancellery of the Minister of Public Finance
- Order to terminate certain activities by the obligated institution
- Revocation of a license or permit or removal from the register of regulated activities
- The ban on performing managerial functions by a person responsible for violations of the provisions of the Act for up to 1 year
- The financial penalty
IMPORTANT! A fine may be imposed in the amount of twice the received benefit or loss. If the amount of the benefit or loss is not specified – up to the equivalent amount. The maximum amount of the fine has been increased to EUR 1 million.