Compliance for Mail Forwarding Service Provider Companies
- Mail Forwarding Companies in the UK that provide services to businesses must be licenced and registered for the Anti Money Laundering Regulations.
- Although most mail forwarding companies do not deal with clients money, they are classed as Company Service Providers.
- If they are not already supervised by another body, such as the Financial Conduct Authority, they would need to apply separately to HMRC.
- You can download the forms from the HMRC website and to apply for a licence, a fit and proper test is carried out to check the background of the business owner.
- Once complete a licence is issued for 1 year.
- It is an offence to operate a mail forwarding business without a licence.
- It is a requirement to be able to identify clients and any beneficial owners of the business, by providing proof of the directors identities, proof of address and proof of the business (certificate of incorporation).
LONDON BASED MAIL FORWARDING SERVICES
There are additional specific rules that apply in London. we are also required to register with the Local Authority, in accordance with the London Local Authorities Act 2007.
Section 75 of the LLA Act 2007 is in force across all London Boroughs. Mail forwarding or holding businesses must register with Trading Standards, keep records about their clients and allow Trading Standards and the Police to inspect those records. Failure to comply with section 75 is a criminal offence.
“the business, carried out for reward, of making available to a person a postal address to which postal packets may be sent, and doing either or both of the following –
b) forwarding, by whatever means, postal packets so sent to that person.”
Requirement to Register
A person is not permitted to carry on a mail forwarding business without being registered with the appropriate Council. This applies whether the mail forwarding business is carried on alone or in conjunction with any other business.
A person carrying on a mail forwarding business is required to keep a record of :
a) the full name, address and telephone number of all persons for whom post is received or who has requested postal packets received to be held or forwarded to them
b) the nature of the business (if any) carried out by that person
c) any instructions as to the delivery or forwarding of postal packets d) the name and address of person(s) to whom postal packets are to be forwarded, if different from a) above
e) copies of originals of two documents of a type approved by the council for the purposes of identifying the person and verifying the address(es) required in a) above.
A client’s name and address in a) above must not be the name and address of another mail forwarding business.
The name and address to be kept in a) above must be
a) in the case of an individual, his private address
b) in the case of a body corporate or partnership (note, a body corporate includes a limited company)
- the registered office address or the principal address of the partnership; and
- the names and private addresses of the directors or partners or another person directly or indirectly responsible for the management of the body corporate or partnership; and
- the address of the principal place of business of the body corporate or partnership if different from any of the addresses mentioned in 1) and 2) above.
This will mean that apart from where a client is a sole individual, a contract with a mail forwarding business will require more than one name and address to be held by a mail forwarding business.
Retention and Inspection of Records
A mail forwarding business is required to keep records of clients for at least a year after the end of an arrangement (or contract) to hold or forward on postal packets and to keep them available for inspection by the police or any authorised officer at all reasonable times.
It is a criminal offence for a person to:
- fail to comply with the provisions of section 75 or;
- furnish false information – in making an application for registration or notifying the Council of any alteration to the registration particulars held or to a mail forwarding business in relation to particulars the business is required to keep;
- make a false entry in records kept by a person carrying on a mail forwarding business.
It should be noted from the above, that a client will commit an offence if they provide required information that is false. In relation to the investigation of an offence, Trading Standards Officers have the power to enter premises and inspect and seize goods and documents.
The maximum penalty for committing an offence is a fine not exceeding £5000 on summary conviction.