The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Langer & Co. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1.0 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.
2.0 Client identification
2.1 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.
3.0 Client money
3.1 We may, from time to time, hold money on your behalf. The money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm's funds. The account will be operated, and all funds dealt with, in accordance with the Clients' Money Regulations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
3.2 All client monies will be held in an interest-bearing account. To avoid excessive administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25.00. If the total sum of money held on your behalf is enough to give rise to a significant amount of interest or is likely to do so, then we will put the money in a designated interest-bearing client bank account and pay the interest to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
3.3 We will return monies held on your behalf promptly as soon as there is no longer any reason to retain those funds. If any funds remain in our client account that are unclaimed and the client to whom they relate has remained untraced for five years or we as a firm cease to practise then we may pay those monies to a registered charity.
3.4 We are required under the client money regulations to appoint an alternate to administer the client bank account in the event of the death or incapacity of the principal. The alternate appointed by this firm is Mr L Kelly of McEllin Kelly, Abacus House, 35 Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1DD.
4.0 Commissions or other benefits
4.1 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. Where this happens we will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits.
5.1 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 Eric Langer. We agree to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and do everything reasonable to put it right. If you are still not satisfied you can refer your complaint to our professional body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
6.1 Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, we confirm that where you give us confidential information we shall at all times during and after this engagement keep it confidential, except as required by law, by our insurers or as provided for in regulatory, ethical, or other professional pronouncements or as part of an external peer review applicable to us or our engagement. This undertaking will apply during and after this engagement.
6.2 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.
6.3 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.
6.4 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.
6.5 We reserve the right, for the purpose of promotional activity, training or for other business purpose, to mention that you are a client. As stated above we will not disclose any confidential information.
7.0 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. You agree that we reserve the right to act during and after our engagement for other clients whose interests are or may be competing with or adverse to yours subject of course to our obligations of confidentiality and the safeguards set out in the paragraph on confidentiality above.
8.0 Data protection
8.1 This clause applies to personal data provided by or on behalf of you in connection with an agreement to provide business services or any engagement letter. Each party shall comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) when processing such personal data. In particular, you shall ensure that any disclosure of personal data to us complies with the DPA.
8.2 We shall use appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data. We shall not sub-contract any processing of personal data unless that personal data continues to be subject to an appropriate level of protection. To the extent we act as data processor for you, we shall only process personal data in accordance with your instructions.
8.3 We shall notify you in 10 working days in the event of an individual asking for copies of their personal data, a complaint about processing of personal data or a notice from a relevant Data Protection Authority. You and we shall consult and co-operate with each other when responding to any such request, complaint or notice.
8.4 We shall answer your reasonable enquiries to enable you to monitor compliance with this clause.
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. Should we have no contact with you for a period of 12 months or more we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and hence cease to act.
10.0 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. These are risks you must bear in return for greater efficiency and lower costs. 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 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.
11.0 Fees and payment terms
11.1 Our fees may depend not only upon the time spent on your affairs 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. Otherwise our fees will be calculated on the basis of the hours worked by each member of staff necessarily engaged on your affairs multiplied by their charge-out rate per hour, VAT being charged thereon. Indicative hourly charge out rates are available on request.
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 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 insurance policies you hold or via membership of a professional or trade body. Other than where such insurance was 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.
11.5 We will bill and our invoices will are due for payment within 14 days Our fees are exclusive of VAT which will be added where it is chargeable. 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.
11.6 Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees Should these costs be incurred to fulfil our engagement then such necessary additional charges may be payable by you.
11.7 It is our normal practice to ask clients to pay by monthly direct debit and to periodically adjust the monthly payment by reference to actual billings.
11.8 We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 3% above bank base rates under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We also reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you on giving written notice if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so.
11.9 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.
11.10 If a client company, trust or other entity is unable or unwilling to settle our fees we reserve the right to seek payment from the individual (or parent company) giving us instructions on behalf of the client and we shall be entitled to enforce any sums due against the Group Company or individual nominated to act for you.
12.1 We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.
13.0 Intellectual property rights
13.1 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.
14.1 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. 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.
15.0 Internal disputes within a client
15.1 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 and we would not provide information or services to one party without the express knowledge and permission of all parties. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties we will continue to supply information to the registered office/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.
16.0 Investment advice (including insurance mediation services)
16.1 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 (or licensed by a Designated Professional Body), as we are not. However, as we are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, we may be able to provide certain investment services that are complementary to, or arise out of, the professional services we are providing to you.
Such advice may include:
advising you on investments generally, but not recommending a particular investment or type of investment;
referring you to a Permitted Third Party (PTP) (an independent firm authorised by the FCA) and assisting you and the authorised third party during the course of any advice given by that party. This may include comment on, or explanation of, the advice received (but we will not make alternative recommendations). The PTP will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for his services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. We may receive commission from such an introduction, in which case you will be fully informed of the expected size and nature of such commission by the PTP at the time of the product recommendation and by ourselves when we receive the commission, except where it is commission on renewals. You authorise us to retain any commission we receive.
advising on the sale of a contractually based investment other than disposing of any rights or interests which you may have as a member of a personal pension scheme;
advising and assisting you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange;
Such services may include fee protection insurance against HMRC investigations.
We may also, on the understanding that the shares or other securities of the company are not publicly traded:
advise the company, existing or prospective shareholders in relation to exercising rights, taking benefits or share options valuation and methods;
arrange any agreements in connection with the issue, sale or transfer of the company's shares or other securities;
arrange for the issue of the new shares; and
act as the addressee to receive confirmation of acceptance of offer documents etc.
16.2 We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling, and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
17.1 Insofar as we are permitted to so by law or professional guidelines, we reserve the right to exercise a lien over all funds, documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.
18.0 Limitation of third party rights 18.1 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.
19.0 Period of engagement and termination
19.1 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.
19.2 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 HMRC 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.
19.3 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.
20.0 Professional rules and statutory obligations
20.1 We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws, regulations and code of ethics of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC where we become aware of them. 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 on the internet at www.icaew.com/en/members/regulations-standards-and-guidance.
20.2 We confirm that we are Statutory Auditors eligible to conduct audits under the Companies Act 2006.When conducting audit work we are required to comply with the Ethical Standards for Auditors, and the International Auditing Standards (UK & Ireland) which can be accessed on the internet at https://www.frc.org.uk/Our-Work/Codes-Standards/Audit-and-assurance/Standards-and-guidance/Standards-and-guidance-for-auditors.aspx. We are also required to comply with the Audit Regulations and Guidance which can be accessed on the internet at www.icaew.com/auditnews.
21.0 Quality control
21.1 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 principal and staff.
22.0 Reliance on advice
22.1 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.
23.0 Retention of papers
23.1 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: 5 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: 6 years from the end of the accounting period
23.2 Whilst 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.
24.0 The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
24.1 We are registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details of our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk for the UK and www.cro.ie/auditors for Ireland, under reference number C007200109.
24.2 Our professional indemnity insurer is Travelers Insurance company Ltd of 61-63 London Road Redhill Surrey RH1 1NA. 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.
25.0 Timing of our services
25.1 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.
26.0 Sole practitioner
26.1 As a sole practitioner, I am required to have an arrangement with another accountant who is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. In my case that is Mr L Kelly of McEllin Kelly, Abacus House, 35 Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1DD.