1.01 STANDARD TERMS OF BUSINESS
The purpose of this schedule is to set out the standard terms of business that apply to all engagements accepted by Zenon Tax Limited. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1 Professional obligations
1.1 As required by the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2999) the details of Zenon Tax Limited’s professional registrations are as follows: Zenon Tax Limited is registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales as a Corporate Practice (registration C002033793).
1.2 We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws and regulations of our professional body, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, together with their code of ethics. We accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular, you give us authority to correct errors made by HM Revenue & Customs 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.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
1.3 In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurers are: Acapella Syndicate 2014 of Level 3, 8 Fenchurch Place, London EC3M 4AJ; China Re Syndicate 2088; and XL Catlin Syndicate 2003, both of 20 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0GB. 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 of America or Canada.
2 Investment services
2.1 We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct Investment Business. If you require investment business services we will refer you to a firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
3 Commissions or other benefits
3.1 In some circumstances, commission or other benefits may become payable to us or to one of our associates in respect of transactions we or such associates arrange for you, in which case you will be notified in writing of the amount and terms of payment. The fees that would otherwise be payable by you will not be abated by such amounts. If we reduce the fees that we would otherwise charge by the amount of commission retained, we will apply the HM Revenue & Customs concession which allows VAT to be calculated on the net fee after the deduction of the commission. You consent to such commission or other benefits being retained by us or, as the case may be, by our associates, without our, or their, being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
4 Client monies
4.1 We may, from time to time, hold money on your behalf. Such 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 & Wales.
4.2 In order to avoid an excessive amount of administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount of interest that would be earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25. Any such interest would be calculated using the prevailing rate applied by HSBC Bank plc for small deposits subject to the minimum period of notice for withdrawals. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
4.3 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 the money will be placed in a separate interest-bearing client bank account designated to you. All interest earned on such money will be paid to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
4.4 We will return monies held on your behalf promptly as soon as there is no longer any reason to retain these funds. In the unlikely event of us holding any unclaimed monies we reserve the right to pay such monies to a registered charity in line with guidance set out in the Clients’ Money Regulations referred to above. We will not do this unless we have been unable to contact you for at least five years and we have taken reasonable steps to trace you and return the monies.
5.1 Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by the principals and our staff, including subcontractors or consultants where necessary, and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved. Disbursements represent travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred in dealing with your affairs.
5.2 If it is necessary to carry out work outside the responsibilities agreed with you for each service, we will advise you in advance. Any additional work 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.
5.3 Invoices are payable in full (including disbursements) in accordance with the terms set out on the invoice. 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.
5.4 It is our normal practice to request that clients make arrangements to pay a proportion of their fee on a monthly standing order. These standing orders will be applied to fees arising from work agreed in this letter of engagement for the current and ensuing years. Once we have been able to assess the amount of work and time involved we would be grateful if you would agree to pay an amount to us on a regular basis.
5.5 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced (fees and disbursements) and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly upon presentation. We reserve the right to charge interest on overdue accounts at the current rate under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We also reserve the right to terminate our engagement and cease acting if payment of any fees billed is unduly delayed. We do not accept settlement of fees by certain credit cards.
5.6 As directors you guarantee to pay personally any fees (including disbursements) for services provided to the company that the company is unable to pay. This clause shall become effective in the event of a receiver or liquidator being appointed to the company or the company otherwise being wound up.
5.7 In the event that this firm ceases to act in relation to your affairs you agree to meet all reasonable costs of providing information to the new advisers. In particular, you agree to meet these costs where we are required by law to provide information to a successor firm.
6 Retention of and access to records
6.1 During the course of our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following the preparation of your financial statements and returns. You should retain these records for 6 years from the 31 January following the end of the tax year to which they relate. You should retain them for longer if HM Revenue & Customs enquire into your tax return.
6.2 Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, unless you tell us not to, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store which are more than seven years old, other than documents which we consider to be of continuing significance. We reserve the right to retain documents in electronic format. If you require retention of any document you must notify us of that fact in writing.
7 Conflicts of interest and independence
7.1 We reserve the right during our engagement with you to deliver services to other clients whose interest may compete with yours or are or may be adverse to yours, subject to 8 below. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting you 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 a conflict of interest should arise, either between two or more clients, or in the provision of multiple services to a single client, we will take such steps as are necessary to deal with the conflict. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by the code of ethics of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales which can be viewed as part of the Regulations and Guidance at www.icaew.com/regulations.
8.1 We confirm that where you give us confidential information, we shall at all times keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional statements relevant to our engagement.
8.2 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.
9 Quality control
9.1 As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent regulatory or quality review. Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and are, of course, bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as our principals and staff.
Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs:
9.2 When dealing with HM Revenue & Customs 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 HM Revenue & Customs, see www.hmrc.gov.uk/charter/index.htm . To the best of our abilities, we will ensure that HM Revenue & Customs meet their side of the Charter in their dealings with you.
9.3 We will take account of the steps and checks suggested by HM Revenue & Customs in their ‘Agent Toolkits’. While use of the Toolkits is voluntary, we will ensure that our quality control procedures match or enhance the suggestions in the Toolkits so that, in the unlikely event that HM Revenue & Customs consider any of your tax returns with which we assist to be inaccurate, we will be able to help you demonstrate to HM Revenue & Customs that reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of the return, thereby significantly reducing the possibility of an inaccuracy penalty being imposed. To further reduce the possibility of an inaccuracy penalty, you will remain responsible for maintaining good quality supporting records for each return, for providing us with all relevant information and explanations and for acting on any advice that we give you.
10 Help us to give you the right service
10.1 If at any time you would like to discuss with us how our service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know, by telephoning Melanie Price on 01732 400102.
10.2 We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction you may of course take up the matter with The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
10.3 In order for us to provide you with a high quality service on an ongoing basis it is essential that you provide us with relevant records and information when requested, reply to correspondence in a timely manner and otherwise follow the terms of the agreement between us set out in this Standard Terms of Business and associated Engagement schedules.
We therefore reserve the right to cancel the engagement between us with immediate effect in the event of:
- your insolvency, bankruptcy or other arrangement being reached with creditors;
- failure to pay our fees by the due dates;
- either party being in breach of their obligations where this is not corrected within 30 days of being asked to do so.
11 Applicable law
11.1 This engagement letter is governed by, and construed in accordance with, English law. 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. Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have 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.
11.2 If any provision in this Standard Terms Of Business or any associated engagement schedules, or its application, are found to be invalid, illegal or otherwise unenforceable in any respect, the validity, legality or enforceability of any other provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired.
12 Changes in the law
12.1 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 your circumstances.
12.2 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.
13 Internet communication
13.1 Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. However, internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch. It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an email without obtaining written confirmation of it. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that email is not an acceptable means of communication. Unless you instruct us otherwise, we will not communicate by encrypted email, which is available but subject to a charge and compatibility with your electronic systems.
13.2 It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.
14 Data Protection
14.1 To enable us to discharge the services agreed under our engagement, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance, we may obtain, use, process and disclose client personal data.
In this clause 14, 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;
- ‘GDPR’ means the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679); and
- ‘PECR’ means the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (SI 2426/2003).
14.2 Where you are a data controller and we are a data controller, 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.
14.3 Where you are a data controller, you shall only disclose client personal data to us where:
- (i) you have provided the necessary information to the relevant data subjects regarding its use (and you may use or refer to our privacy notice available at www.zenontax.co.uk/cookies-and-privacy/ for this purpose);
- (ii) 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
- (iii) you have complied with the necessary requirements under the data protection legislation to enable you to do so.
14.4 Should you require any further details regarding our treatment of personal data, please contact our Head of Privacy, Richard Price.
14.5 We shall only process the client personal data:
- (i) in order to provide our services to you and perform any other obligations in accordance with our engagement with you;
- (ii) in order to comply with our legal or regulatory obligations; and
- (iii) where it is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests and those interests are not overridden by the data subjects’ own privacy rights. Our privacy notice (available at www.zenontax.co.uk/cookies-and-privacy/ ) contains further details as to how we may process client personal data.
14.6 For the purpose of providing our services to you, pursuant to our engagement letter, we may disclose the client personal data to our regulatory bodies or other third parties (for example, our professional advisors or service providers). The third parties to whom we disclose such personal data may be located outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). We will only disclose client personal data to a third party (including a third party outside of the EEA) provided that the transfer is undertaken in compliance with the data protection legislation.
14.7 We shall maintain commercially reasonable and appropriate security measures, including administrative, physical and technical safeguards, to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of the client personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, the client personal data.
14.8 In respect of the client personal data, provided that we are legally permitted to do so, we shall promptly notify you in the event that:
- (a) we receive a request, complaint or any adverse correspondence from or on behalf of a relevant data subject, to exercise their data subject rights under the data protection legislation or in respect of our processing of their personal data;
- (b) we are served with an information, enforcement or assessment notice (or any similar notices), or receive any other material communication in respect of our processing of the client personal data from a supervisory authority as defined in the data protection legislation (for example in the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Officer); or
- (c) we reasonably believe that there has been any incident which resulted in the accidental or unauthorised access to, or destruction, loss, unauthorised disclosure or alteration of, the client personal data.
14.9 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.
14.10 In engagements where we are considered to be a data processor, to fulfil our legal requirements under the GDPR there will be a written Data Processing Agreement put in place with the relevant data controller, with the relevant clauses included in either a separate written agreement or included in the body of engagement letter itself. These clauses will include certain details of the Processing of Customer Personal Data as required by Article 28(3) of the GDPR.
15 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
15.1 Persons who are not party to this agreement shall have no rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this agreement. This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to that Act.
15.2 The advice that we give to you is for your sole use and does not constitute advice to any third party to whom you may communicate it. We accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
16 The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017
16.1 In common with all accountancy and legal practices the firm is required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, The Terrorism Act 2000 and The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/692) to:
- maintain identification procedures for clients and beneficial owners of clients;
- maintain records of identification evidence and work undertaken for the client; and
- report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
16.2 We have a duty under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s. 330 to report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) if we know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that another person is involved in money laundering. Failure on our part to make a report where we have knowledge or reasonable grounds for suspicion would constitute a criminal offence.
16.3 The offence of money laundering is defined by of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s. 340(11) and includes concealing, converting, using or possessing the benefits of any activity that constitutes a criminal offence in the UK. It also includes involvement in any arrangement that facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of such a benefit.
This definition is very wide and would include such crimes as:
- deliberate tax evasion;
- deliberate failure to inform the tax authorities of known underpayments or excessive repayments;
- fraudulent claiming of benefits or grants; or
- obtaining a contract through bribery.
Clearly this list is by no means exhaustive.
16.4 We are obliged by law to report any instances of money laundering to NCA without your knowledge or consent. In consequence, neither the firm’s principals nor staff may enter into any correspondence or discussions with you regarding such matters.
16.5 We are not required to undertake work for the sole purpose of identifying suspicions of money laundering. We shall fulfil our obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in accordance with the guidance published by Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies.
17 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standards
17.1 Unless agreed specifically in a separate engagement letter, we are not responsible for your compliance with the International Tax Compliance (United States of America) Regulations 2013, produced as a result of FATCA. In particular, we are not responsible for the categorisation of any UK entity into either a Financial Institution (FI) or an active or passive Non-Financial Foreign Entity (NFFE) nor, if a Financial Institution, for its registration with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and subsequent submission of the required annual returns to HM Revenue & Customs.
17.2 However, if requested to so do we can provide advice on the completion of the forms supplied by Financial Institutions under these Regulations, or under Common Reporting Standards, and used by them to determine the status of an entity. We can also provide advice on setting up the appropriate systems to identify and report on your clients or beneficiaries who are foreign citizens affected by FATCA or Common Reporting Standards.
18 General limitation of liability
18.1 We will provide our professional services as outlined in this letter with reasonable care and skill. However, to the fullest extent permitted by law, we will not be held responsible for any losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities where you or others supply incorrect or incomplete 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.
18.2 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 this agreement. You have agreed that you will not bring any claim in connection with services we provide to you against any of our directors or employees personally.
18.3 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 Use of our name in statements or documents issued by you
19.1 You are not permitted to use our name in any statement or document that 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.
20 Draft/interim work or oral advice
20.1 In the course of providing our services to you we may provide advice or reports or other work products in draft or interim form, or orally. However, final written work products will always prevail over any draft, interim or oral statements. Where you request it, we will provide you with written confirmation of matters stated orally.
21.1 If any provision of our engagement letter or terms of business is held to be void for whatever reason, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract and no other provisions will be affected or impaired in any way. In the event of any conflict between these Standard Terms of Business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.