Engagement for Services / Our Standard Terms and Conditions
This statement sets out our standard terms and conditions which apply to all engagements accepted by Morgans. All work is carried out under these terms which are deemed to apply unless specifically varied in writing.
Regular changes to these Terms and Conditions are published to our website and will supersede the terms existing at the commencement of any engagement. If any change makes a material difference to the terms of a specific engagement we will notify the relevant client(s) in writing.
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 our 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.
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.
We do not hold money on behalf of our clients.
COMMISSIONS OR OTHER BENEFITS
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. The fees you would otherwise pay will be reduced by the amount of the commissions or benefits.
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 Elizabeth Porter at email@example.com. 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.
Communication between us is confidential and we shall take all reasonable steps to keep confidential your information except where we are required to disclose it by law, by regulatory bodies, by our insurers or as part of an external peer review. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf this undertaking will apply during and after our engagement.
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.
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.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
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.
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. We reserve the right to provide services for other clients whose interests are not the same as yours or are adverse to yours subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
In this clause:
– ‘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’, ‘personal data breach’, ‘processor’, ‘process’ and ‘supervisory authority’ 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).
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.
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
(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.
Should you require any further details regarding our treatment of personal data, please contact our Data Protection officer on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
In the event of a proposed sale, merger, restructuring or financing of or investment in our business we may disclose the client personal data to other third parties in the context of that transaction. In such an event we will take appropriate measures to ensure that the security of the client personal data continues to be ensured in accordance with data protection legislation. If a change happens to our business, then the new owners may use our client personal data in the same way as set out in these terms.
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.
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.
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.
ELECTRONIC AND OTHER COMMUNICATION
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.
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.
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.
FEES AND PAYMENT TERMS
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.
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.
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.
Our fee notes are due for payment upon presentation. 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 fee notes where appropriate.
Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.
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 will exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so.
If you do not accept that a fee note 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.
If a client company is unable or unwilling to settle our fees we reserve the right to seek payment from the individual giving us instructions on behalf of the client and we shall be entitled to enforce any sums due against the individual nominated to act for you.
We shall not be responsible for any failure on our part to perform any of our obligations under our engagement letter arising as a result of matters beyond our reasonable control, including (without limitation) any act of God, fire, riot, war, terrorism, civil commotion, act of state or government, prevention from or hindrance in obtaining any materials, energy or other supplies, or any labour dispute.
We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
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.
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 its appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.
INTERNAL DISPUTES WITHIN A CLIENT
If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own or are in some way involved in the ownership and management of a 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. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different participators in the business we will refer the matter back to the participators and take no further action until they have agreed the action to be taken.
INVESTMENT ADVICE (INCLUDING INSURANCE MEDIATION SERVICES)
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 Services Authority, 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 recommend a particular investment or type of investment;
• referring you to a Permitted Third Party (PTP) (an independent firm authorised by the FSA), assist you and the PTP during the course of any advice given by that party and comment on, or explain, the advice received (but not make alternative recommendations). We do so on the basis that we are not acting as their agent or representative of the PTP and you should satisfy yourself that any person referred to you adequately meets your requirements. We shall use reasonable care in selecting any such person, but we shall not be liable for their advice, opinions or the information supplied by them or for the payment of their fees or expenses and, in particular, we do not accept responsibility for any act or omission (including any negligence) on their part. The PTP will issue you with their own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for their services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;
• advising you in connection with the disposal of an investment, other than your rights in a pension policy or scheme;
• advising and assisting you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange;
• assisting you in making arrangements for transactions in investments in certain circumstances; and
• managing investments or acting as trustee (or donee of a power of attorney) where decisions to invest are taken on the advice of an authorised person.
We may also, on the understanding that the shares or other securities of a company are not publicly traded:
• advise the company, existing or prospective shareholders in relation to exercising rights, taking benefits or share options, valuations and methods of such valuations;
• arrange any agreements in connection with the issue, sale or transfer of the company’s shares or other securities;
• arrange for the issue of new shares; and
• act as the addressee to receive confirmation of acceptance of offer documents etc.
In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to claim compensation under the Chartered Accountants’ Compensation Scheme in respect of exempt regulated activities undertaken.
To enable us to provide you with a proper service, there may be occasions when we will need to contact you without your express permission concerning investment business matters. For example, it may be in your interests to sell a particular investment and we would wish to inform you of this. We may therefore contact you in such circumstances, but would only do so in our normal weekday office hours of 9am to 5pm. We shall of course comply with any restrictions you may wish to impose which you notify to us in writing.
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.
LIMITATION OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS
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 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.
HMRC are moving most of their services online. This means that most returns including accounts, tax returns, PAYE, CIS and VAT returns are now made electronically via the HMRC website. Unless you instruct us otherwise in writing, we will assume you consent to online submissions and where possible submit your returns electronically.
For most of these online submissions, we rely on third party software providers as well as HMRC software, to ensure that the returns are compatible with HMRC requirements and are delivered in a timely manner. We accept no liability for penalties incurred for late submission of returns due to the failure of either HMRC or a third party software.
PERIOD OF ENGAGEMENT AND TERMINATION
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.
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.
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.
PROFESSIONAL RULES AND STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS
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/regulations.
RELIANCE ON ADVICE
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.
RETENTION OF PAPERS
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. 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.
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.
THE PROVISION OF SERVICES REGULATIONS 2009
Our professional indemnity insurer is Tokio Marine HCC, 1 Aldgate, London EC3N 1RE. 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.
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.