Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions

We are acting for only. Where you would like us to act for anyone else such as your spouse/a partnership/a limited company we will issue a separate engagement letter to them. Using the most appropriate method, we will obtain your authorisation for HMRC to communicate with us as your agent. We will explain what action you need to take. You agree to completing any necessary actions to allow authorisation within the required timeframe.  It is important to appreciate that you remain required to take ‘reasonable care’ over your tax affairs. Unless stated in the list of agreed tasks where a time limit is stated, this is an ongoing agreement. You may terminate the use of our services at any future date in writing after all fees have been paid by yourself.

In caring for any work relating to tax matters we will be acting as your agent and in any submissions to HM Inspectors you are responsible for the returns, we may make in your behalf. All such work will be subject to your sending us all relevant information to enable us to complete any returns to the taxation authorities.

You are obliged to provide full information to enable us to fulfil the terms of any engagement. It is your statutory responsibility to make sure that all returns of income made to taxation authorities are correct and complete. You cannot delegate this responsibility. It is important therefore to consider before signing any return to taxation authorities that such a return is complete and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

Anti-Money Laundering Legislation

As with other professional services firms, we are required to identify and verify our clients for the purposes of the UK anti-money laundering legislation. Save in exceptional circumstances we cannot start work until this requirement has been met. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases including ID verification software.

[If you are undertaking business that requires you to be supervised by an appropriate supervisory authority to follow anti-money laundering regulations, including if you accept or make high value cash payments of £10,000 or more in exchange for goods, you must inform us.]

Fees and Interest Charges

Unless otherwise agreed, our fees will be charged separately for each type of work completed and billed. Our charging rates will vary according to the work undertaken and any expenses incurred because of work undertaken will be passed on to you as the client in this relationship. Unless specifically agreed, payment is due on presentation of an invoice. If payment is not received within 30 days of that invoice date, then we reserve the right to charge interest at the rate as outlined in the next paragraph. We also reserve the right to increase our charges at a future date.

We reserve the right to add a 25% surcharge to the above charges should you ask us to prepare a set of accounts and any tax returns within 4 weeks of a filing deadline.

This paragraph and the next paragraph are included as a matter of routine and in no way are intended to offend or to impute any bad reputation to you or any other. The ownership of books and records created in this engagement by you of our services will remain our property until all fees agreed have been paid in full. We will exercise a full lien over all such work. Should such fees not be paid on completion of the work and on our presenting you with a duly dated invoice, then should we decide to gain redress, interest shall accrue on the outstanding balance of the invoice at a rate of 8% above bank base rate per annum on a daily basis as outlined under Section 69 of the County Courts Act of 1984 until payment is made.

In the case of limited companies only, should it be necessary to pursue any outstanding debt through court proceedings then all directors, whether serving at the time of court action or having withdrawn from service within one year of court action, will be liable for the outstanding fees on behalf of the company.

Client Monies

If there is a repayment of tax due, then we will have that repayment made into our bank account and deduct our fees from that repayment. The balance of that repayment will then be made to you within two weeks of receiving that repayment. If, after deducting our fees from any repayment, there is insufficient to pay our fees in full then the balance of our fees will be payable as outlined above. All such monies received because of tax repayments or, if you ask us to pay money over to organisations such as HMRC or Companies House and you provide us with funds to do this, such funds will be held in our bank account designated as a Client’s Account. As such it is not classed as our funds with our bankers and is fully protected by law. If at any time interest is received from the bank on money held on your behalf, this interest will be paid to you on an annual basis.


Communication between us is confidential. We shall take all reasonable steps not to disclose your information except where we are required to and as set out in our privacy notice. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, this undertaking will apply during and after this 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 and security terms.

Conflicts of interest

If there is a conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests, then we will adopt those safeguards.

Where conflicts are identified that cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services. If this arises, we will inform you promptly. We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to yours, subject, of course, to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.

Ethical Concerns

We will not do anything that is illegal. This might mean that we can no longer act in your behalf. In this case we will tell you why and what we propose to do to remedy the situation. We will observe the ethical guidelines of the Association of Accounting Technicians and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those guidelines.  A copy of these guidelines will be supplied to you on request.

Requirements of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The DPA 2018 and GDPR set out several requirements in relation to the processing of personal data. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for compliance with the DPA 2018. Our registration number with ICO is Z8431291

Here at Ben Elliott Accounting Ltd we take your privacy and the privacy of the information we process seriously. We will only use your personal information and the personal information you give us access to under this contract to administer your account and to provide the services you have requested from us.

We attach our privacy notice setting out our approach to handling your information as a separate document. In signing one copy of this letter, you will be indicating that you have read and agreed the terms under which we operate as set out in this notice. In addition, please note that we require your agreement on several specific points, which are also included in the acceptance section below:


There may be times when we are unable to care for your accounting needs due to circumstances beyond our control such as illness or other incapacity. In such cases we will call upon the services of AA Accountancy, Mansfield. If such prove to be necessary, we will pass onto AA Accountancy, Mansfield any information he might need to carry out his work. This provides protection to you if we cannot act on your behalf, and in signing this letter you agree to the alternate having access to all the information we hold in order to make initial contact with you and agree the work to be undertaken during our incapacity. You can choose to appoint another agent at that stage if you wish.

Secure communications and transfer of data

We will communicate or transfer data using the following:

  1. Post/hard-copy documents [by recorded delivery]
  2. Portals such as Dropbox
  3. Cloud-based software such as Adobe Sign
  4. Emails *

*If you require us to correspond with you by email that is not encrypted or password protected, you accept the risks associated with this form of communication.

This information will only be held by us for a reasonable time and then will be destroyed.

Tax Investigations

If the Inland Revenue or other authorities commence an audit or investigation into your taxation matters, we will consider this to constitute further work and will charge separately for this work.

Third Parties

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 that 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.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

In accord with The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (‘Services Directive’) and in accordance with our professional body rules, we are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. Details about the insurer and coverage can be found at our offices, by request from us or can be seen on our web site—www.benelliott.co.uk where details can be found about procedures for claims.


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 Benjamin Elliott. [Where your complaint relates to that person, you should instead please contact Dawn Elliott]. We agree to investigate any complaint carefully and promptly and do everything reasonable to try and resolve it. If you are still not satisfied you can refer your complaint to our professional body, The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the address can be found at AAT.org.uk.

Commissions and other benefits

We do not engage in any activity that will attract commissions or benefits but if at any time in the future we do start to attract commission or benefit, we will tell 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.

Applicable law

Our engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with, the law and practice of England and Wales. Each party agrees that the courts of England and Wales. 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 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.


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 1 year or more, we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and thereafter cease to act.

We reserve the right following termination for any reason to destroy any of your documents that we have not been able to return to you after a period of six months unless other laws or regulations require otherwise.

Investment advice (including insurance mediation services)

Investment business is regulated under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

If, during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments, including insurances, we will 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 authorised to give such advice.

Professional body rules

We will observe and act in accordance with the byelaws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis.

You are responsible for bringing to our attention any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in your returns that you become aware of after the returns have been submitted in order that we may assist you to make a voluntary disclosure.

In particular, you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC where we become aware of them. In addition, we will not undertake tax planning which breaches Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation. We will therefore comply with the general anti-abuse rule and the targeted anti-avoidance rule. 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 at our offices. The requirements are also available online at www.aat.org.uk.

The implications of professional body membership as it relates to GDPR are set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these standard terms and conditions of business.

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. However, bear in mind that advice is only valid at the date it is given.

Retention of papers

You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your tax affairs. During the course of our work, we may collect information from you and others relevant to your tax affairs. We will return any original documents to you [if requested].

When we cease to act for you, we will seek to agree the position on access to cloud-accounting records to ensure continuity of service. This may require you to enter direct engagements with the software providers and pay for that service separately. 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, LLPs and other corporate entities

  • six years from the end of the accounting period.

While certain documents may legally belong to you, we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than seven years old. This includes your documents if they have not been reclaimed by you within the seven-year period. You must tell us if you require the return of any specific document or their retention for a longer period.

You should retain documents that are sent to you by us as set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these terms and conditions.


We will not be liable for any loss suffered by you or any third party because of our compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation or any UK law.

Agreement of terms

Once agreed, this letter will remain effective from the date of signature until it is replaced.  Either party may vary or terminate our authority to act on your behalf at any time without penalty.  Notice of variation or termination must be given in writing.

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