The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Regulatory Accountancy Limited. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1 Applicable law
1.1 Our engagement letter, the schedules of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with English law. Each party agrees that the courts of England will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this engagement letter and any matter arising from it on any basis. Each party irrevocably waives any right to object to any action being brought in those Courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that those Courts do not have jurisdiction.
1.2 We will not accept responsibility if you act on advice previously given by us without first confirming with us that the advice is still valid in light of any change in the law or in your circumstances. We will accept no liability for losses arising from changes in the law, or the interpretation thereof, that occur after the date on which the advice is given.
2 Bribery Act
2.1 In accordance with the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010 we have policies and procedures in place to prevent the business and its partners and staff from offering or receiving bribes.
3 Client identification
3.1 As with other professional services firms, we are required to identify our clients for the purposes of the UK anti-money laundering legislation. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases. If we are not able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.
3.2 If you undertake business that requires you to be supervised by an appropriate supervisory authority to follow anti-money laundering regulations including if you accept or make a high value cash payments of €10,000 or more (or equivalent in any currency) in exchange for goods you should inform us.
3.3 Any personal data received from you to comply with our obligations under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer for Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) will be processed only for the purposes of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing. No other use will be made of this personal data unless use of the data is permitted by or under enactment other than the MLR 2017, or we have obtained the consent of the data subject to the proposed use of the data.
3.4 Copies of such records will be retained by us for a period of at least 5 years after we cease to act for you.
4 Client money
4.1 We do not operate a client account and, as such do not hold any client monies.
4.2 Fees paid by you in advance for professional work to be performed and clearly identifiable as such shall not be regarded as clients’ monies.
5 Commissions or other benefits
5.1 In some circumstances we may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or in respect of transactions which we arrange for you.
5.2 If this happens we will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits. The same will apply where the payment is made to or the transactions are arranged by a person or business connected with ours. The fees you would otherwise pay may be reduced by the amount of the commissions or benefits. If we reduce the fees that we would otherwise charge by the amount of commission retained, we will apply the HMRC concession which allows VAT to be calculated on the net fee after deduction of the commission.
6.1 Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, we confirm that if you give us confidential information we will, at all times during and after this engagement, keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional pronouncements applicable to us or our engagement.
6.2 You agree that, if we act for other clients who are or who become your competitors, to comply with our duty of confidentiality it will be sufficient for us to take such steps as we think appropriate to preserve the confidentiality of information given to us by you, both during and after this engagement. These may include taking the same or similar steps as we take in respect of the confidentiality of our own information.
6.3 In addition, if we act for other clients whose interests are or may be adverse to yours, we will manage the conflict by implementing additional safeguards to preserve confidentiality. Safeguards may include measures such as separate teams, physical separation of teams, and separate arrangements for storage of, and access to, information.
6.4 You agree that the effective implementation of such steps or safeguards as described above will provide adequate measures to avoid any real risk of confidentiality being impaired.
6.5 We may, on occasions, subcontract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals. The subcontractors will be bound by our client confidentiality terms. You may additionally need to consider your data protection responsibilities.
6.6 If we use external or cloud-based systems, we will ensure confidentiality of your information is maintained.
6.7 This applies in addition to our obligations on data protection in section 8.
7 Conflicts of interest
7.1 We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client unless we are unable to do so because of our confidentiality obligations. We have safeguards that can be implemented to protect the interests of different clients if a conflict arises. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services.
7.2 If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests then we will adopt those safeguards. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by ICAEW’s Code of Ethics, which can be viewed at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance/ethics. During and after our engagement, you agree that we reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are or may compete with or be adverse to yours, subject, of course, to our obligations of confidentiality and the safeguards set out in the paragraph on confidentiality above.
8 Data protection
8.1 In this clause 8, the following definitions shall apply:
‘client personal data’ means any personal data provided to us by you, or on your behalf, for the purpose of providing our services to you, pursuant to our engagement letter with you;
‘data protection legislation’ means all applicable privacy and data protection legislation and regulations including PECR, the GDPR and any applicable national laws, regulations and secondary legislation in the UK relating to the processing of personal data and the privacy of electronic communications, as amended, replaced or updated from time to time;
‘controller’, ‘data subject’, ‘personal data’, and ‘process’ shall have the meanings given to them in the data protection legislation;
‘UK GDPR’ means the Data Protection Act 2018 as amended by the Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which merge the previous requirements of the Data Protection Act with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679); and
‘PECR’ means the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (SI 2426/2003).
8.2 We shall each be considered an independent data controller in relation to the client personal data. Each of us will comply with all requirements and obligations applicable to us under the data protection legislation in respect of the client personal data.
8.3 You shall only disclose client personal data to us where:
a) you have provided the necessary information to the relevant data subjects regarding its use;
b) you have a lawful basis upon which to do so, which, in the absence of any other lawful basis, shall be with the relevant data subject’s consent; and
c) you have complied with the necessary requirements under the data protection legislation to enable you to do so.
8.4 Should you require any further details regarding our treatment of personal data, please contact our data protection officer.
8.5 Upon the reasonable request of the other, we shall each co-operate with the other and take such reasonable commercial steps or provide such information as is necessary to enable each of us to comply with the data protection legislation in respect of the services provided to you in accordance with our engagement letter with you in relation to those services.
9.1 Should we resign or be requested to resign we will normally issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.
9.2 Should we have no contact with you for a sustained period we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and thereafter cease to act.
10 Electronic and other communication
10.1 Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. The recipient is responsible for virus checking emails and any attachments.
10.2 With electronic communication there is a risk of non-receipt, delayed receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties. We use virus-scanning software to reduce the risk of viruses and similar damaging items being transmitted through emails or electronic storage devices. However electronic communication is not totally secure and we cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses nor for communications which are corrupted or altered after despatch. Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication especially in relation to commercially sensitive material. If you do not wish to accept these risks please let us know and we will communicate by paper mail, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.
10.3 Due to the potential for data corruption or alteration to an electronic communication it may be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it.
10.4 Any communication by us with you sent through the post system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.
11 Fees and payment terms
11.1 Our fees may depend, not only upon the time spent on your affairs by the directors, our staff and sub-contractors, but also on the level of skill and responsibility and the importance and value of the advice that we provide, as well as the level of risk.
11.2 If we provide you with an estimate of our fees for any specific work, then the estimate will not be contractually binding unless we explicitly state that that will be the case.
11.3 Where requested we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. It is not our practice to identify fixed fees for more than a year ahead as such fee quotes need to be reviewed in the light of events. If it becomes apparent to us, due to unforeseen circumstances, that a fee quote is inadequate, we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and to seek your agreement thereto.
11.4 If it is necessary to carry out work in excess of the responsibilities outlined in your engagement letter it will involve additional fees. Accordingly we would like to point out that it is in your interests to ensure that your records etc. are completed to the agreed stage.
11.5 In some cases, you may be entitled to assistance with your professional fees, particularly in relation to any investigation into your tax affairs by HMRC. Assistance may be provided through complaint policies you hold or via membership of a professional or trade body. Other than where such services were arranged through us you will need to advise us of any such insurance cover that you have. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.
11.6 We will bill periodically, and our invoices are due for payment within 14 days of issue. Any disbursements we incur on your behalf and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out our work for you will be added to our invoices where appropriate.
11.7 Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees. If these costs are incurred to fulfil our engagement, such necessary additional charges may be payable by you.
11.8 We offer you the facility to pay your professional fees by monthly or quarterly instalments. We do not charge any interest or charges (except for default charges). As these terms have been agreed after 18 March 2015 this instalment agreement is not a regulated credit agreement. These instalments may be periodically adjusted by reference to actual, agreed, billings.
11.9 We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 8% above bank base rates under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 as well as compensation and reasonable costs. We also reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you, having given written notice, if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only if it is fair and reasonable to do so.
11.10 If you do not accept that an invoiced fee is fair and reasonable you must notify us within 21 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.
11.11 If, for any reason, our engagement is terminated before we carry out the services specified within the engagement letter(s) for the first time, we reserve the right to invoice an administrative charge of £75+VAT.
11.12 Without prejudice to our right to claim costs under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, if for any reason any payment is not made when due we reserve the right to be paid on an indemnity basis any costs we incur in recovering any money due under this contract (and the costs of recovering such costs) including our administrative costs and any costs incurred with lawyers or debt collection agencies. Our administrative costs may include the cost of employing the staff concerned and the overheads attributable to them for the time spent. In calculating our administrative costs credit will be given for any compensation due under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. If proceedings are issued a minimum contribution of £200 (in addition to the fixed costs of issue) will be claimed towards any costs incurred with lawyers.
12 Help us to give you the best service
12.1 We are committed to providing you with a high quality service that is both efficient and effective. However, should there be any cause for complaint in relation to any aspect of our service please contact Jon Lacey.
12.2 We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our service as soon as we receive it and do all we can to explain the position to you. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with your complaint within eight weeks.
12.3 If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction, you may, of course, take up the matter with our professional body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
13.1 We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.
14 Intellectual property rights and use of our name
14.1 We will retain all copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement save where the law specifically provides otherwise.
14.2 You are not permitted to use our name in any statement or document you may issue unless our prior written consent has been obtained. The only exception to this restriction would be statements or documents that, in accordance with applicable law, are to be made public.
15.1 If any provision of our engagement letter or terms of business is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract.
15.2 In the event of any conflict between these terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.
16 Internal disputes within a client
16.1 If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own or are in some way involved in the ownership and management of the business, it should be noted that our client is the business. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties we will continue to supply information to the normal place of business for the attention of the directors/proprietors. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different directors / principals in the business we will refer the matter back to the board of directors/the partnership and take no further action until the board/partnership has agreed the action to be taken.
17 Investment advice (including insurance mediation services)
17.1 Investment business is regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. If during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments (including insurances), we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not.
18.1 Insofar as we are permitted to so by law or professional guidelines, we reserve the right to exercise a particular lien over all relevant documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.
19 Limitation of liability
19.1 We will provide services as outlined in the engagement letter with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default. However, to the fullest extent permitted by law, we will not be responsible for any losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities where you or others supply incomplete, misleading or false information, or fail to supply any appropriate information or where you fail to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or the tax authorities.
19.2 You will not hold us, our directors and staff, responsible, to the fullest extent permitted by law, for any loss suffered by you arising from any misrepresentation (intentional or unintentional) supplied to us orally or in writing in connection with the engagement. You have agreed that you will not bring any claim in connection with services we provide to you against any of our partners or employees personally.
19.3 Our work is not, unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement, to be made available to third parties without our written permission and we will accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
19.4 You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.
20 Limitation of third party rights
20.1 The advice and information we provide to you as part of our service is for your sole use and not for any third party to whom you may communicate it unless we have expressly agreed in the engagement letter that a specified third party may rely on our work. We accept no responsibility to third parties, including any group company to whom the engagement letter is not addressed, for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you which you make available to them. A party to this agreement is the only person who has the right to enforce any of its terms and no rights or benefits are conferred on any third party under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
We shall not be treated as having notice, for the purposes of our audit, accounts or tax responsibilities, of information provided to members of our firm other than those engaged on the specific assignment (for example information provided in connection with accounting, taxation and other services).
22 Period of engagement and termination
22.1 Unless otherwise agreed in our engagement letter, our work will begin when we receive implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
22.2 Each of us may terminate our agreement by giving not less than 21 days’ notice in writing to the other party except where you fail to cooperate with us or we have reason to believe that you have provided us or HM Revenue and Customs with misleading information, in which case we may terminate this agreement immediately. Termination will be without prejudice to any rights that may have accrued to either of us prior to termination.
22.3 We reserve the right to terminate the engagement between us with immediate effect in the event of: your insolvency, bankruptcy or other arrangement being reached with creditors; an independence issue or change in the law which means we can no longer act; failure to pay our fees by the due dates; or either party being in breach of their obligations if this is not corrected within 30 days of being asked to do so.
22.4 In the event of termination of our contract, we will endeavour to agree with you the arrangements for the completion of work in progress at that time, unless we are required for legal or regulatory reasons to cease work immediately. In that event, we shall not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
23 Proceeds of Crime Act
23.1 In common with all accountancy and legal practices the firm, its principals and staff are required to comply with the regulations of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. This includes provisions that may require us to make a money laundering disclosure in relation to information we obtain as part of our normal work. Such disclosure would be made without prior reference to you or your representatives because of the restrictions imposed by the “tipping off” provisions of the legislation.
24 Professional Rules and Statutory Obligations
24.1 We will observe and act in accordance with the Bye-laws, regulations and Code of Ethics of ICAEW and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations. You can see copies of these requirements in our offices. The requirements are also available online at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance.
25 Quality control
25.1 As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically reviewed by an independent regulatory or quality control body. These reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and, of course, are bound by the same rules for confidentiality as our principals and staff.
25.2 When dealing with HMRC on your behalf we are required to be honest and to take reasonable care to ensure that your returns are correct. To enable us to do this, you are required to be honest with us and to provide us with all necessary information in a timely manner. For more information about ‘Your Charter’ for your dealings with HMRC, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-charter. To the best of our abilities, we will ensure that HMRC meet their side of the Charter in their dealings with you.
26 Reliance on advice
26.1 We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally is not intended to be relied upon unless confirmed in writing. Therefore, if we provide oral advice (for example during the course of a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to be able to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing.
27 Retention of papers
27.1 You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your financial affairs. During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your tax and financial affairs. We will return any original documents to you if requested. Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:
Individuals, trustees and partnerships:
▪ with trading or rental income: five years and 10 months after the end of the tax year
▪ otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year.
Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, and other corporate entities:
▪ six years from the end of the accounting period.
27.2 Although certain documents may legally belong to you, we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store electronically or otherwise that are more than seven years old, except documents we think may be of continuing significance. You must tell us if you wish us to keep any document for any longer period.
28 The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
28.1 Our professional indemnity insurer is Aqueous Underwriting, 30 Fenchurch Avenue, London EC3M 5AD. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim brought in any court in the United States or Canada.
29 Timing of our services
29.1 If you provide us with all information and explanations on a timely basis in accordance with our requirements, we will plan to undertake the work within a reasonable period of time in order to meet any regulatory deadlines. However, failure to complete our services prior to any such regulatory deadline would not, of itself, mean that we are liable for any penalty or additional costs arising.
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