Standard Terms and Conditions
The following business terms apply to all engagements accepted by Pillow May Ltd. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing. These terms should be read alongside our privacy notice.
1. Applicable Law
This engagement letter, the Service Terms, and our Standard Terms and Conditions 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 brought in those courts, claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.
2. Changes In The Law, In Practice, Or Public Policy
We will not accept responsibility if you act on advice previously given by us on an earlier occasion without first confirming that the advice is still valid in the light of any change in the law, practice, public policy, or your circumstances. We will accept no liability for losses arising from changes in the law, practice, or public policy (or the interpretation thereof) that are first published after the date on which the advice is given.
3. Client Identification
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 or make searches of appropriate databases. If we cannot obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.
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 the use of the data is permitted by or under an enactment other than the MLR 2017, or we have obtained the consent of the data subject to the proposed use of the data.
4. Clients’ Money
The firm does not hold and will not accept client monies.
5. Commissions And Other Benefits
In some circumstances, we may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or in respect of transactions that we arrange for you. We will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits if this happens.
We are committed to providing you with a high quality service that is both efficient and effective. If at any point 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 contacting Jessica Pillow.
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 endeavor to deal with your complaint within eight weeks.
If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction, you may, of course, take up the matter with our professional body, ICAEW.
Should we be unable to resolve your complaint, you may also be able to refer your complaint to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider to try and reach a resolution. We will provide details of an ADR provider if we cannot resolve your complaint using our internal procedures. This is in addition to your ability to complain to ICAEW.
Unless you authorise us 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.
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.
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 separate teams, physical separation of teams, and separate arrangements for storage of, and access to, information.
You agree that implementing such steps or safeguards as described above will provide adequate measures to avoid any real risk of confidentiality being impaired.
Unless you inform us otherwise, we will presume the right, for training or for other business purposes, to mention the fact that you are a client. As stated above, we will not disclose any confidential information.
We may, on occasions, subcontract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals, including organisations based overseas. Our client confidentiality terms will bind the subcontractors.
We will inform you of the proposed use of a subcontractor before they commence work, except where your data will not be transferred out of our systems and the subcontractor is bound by confidentiality terms equivalent to an employee.
If we use external or cloud based systems, we will ensure confidentiality of your information is maintained.
This applies in addition to our obligations on data protection, as explained in our privacy notice.
8. Conflicts Of Interest
We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or with you and another client unless we cannot do so because of our confidentiality obligations. If conflicts are identified that cannot be managed to protect your interests; we regret that we will be unable to provide further services.
If there is a conflict of interest that can be addressed successfully by adopting suitable safeguards to protect your interests, we will adopt those safeguards. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by ICAEW’s Code of Ethics, 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.
9. Consumer Cancellation Rights
Right to cancel
You have the right to cancel within 14 days without giving any reason. The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the date you enter the contract.
To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax, or email).
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication before the cancellation period expires.
Effect of cancellation
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse you for all payments received from you. We will make the reimbursement without undue delay and not later than 14 days from the day we are informed about your decision to cancel the engagement. We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
Commencement of services
We will not begin work on the agreed services before the expiry of the cancellation period unless you specifically instruct us to do so.
If you asked us in writing to begin the performance of our services during the cancellation period and then cancel, you would pay us a proportional amount for our services performed up to the date of your cancellation, compared with the total amount for the whole assignment.
If we resign or are asked to resign, we will typically issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear. If we have no contact with you for twelve months or more, we may issue a disengagement letter to your last known address and thereafter cease to act.
11. Electronic And Other Communication
Unless you instruct us otherwise, we may, if appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties by email or 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 in emails or by electronic storage devices. Nevertheless, electronic communication is not totally secure. We cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses or communications that 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. You must bear these risks 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 when electronic submission is mandatory. Any communication with you sent through the postal system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day the document was sent.
12. Fees And Payment Terms
Our fees are computed based on our fixed fee structure for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. 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 to that.
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 you have. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.
Our ongoing or recurring work fees are payable in monthly installments by direct debit unless otherwise agreed, and a VAT invoice will be issued each month. Our fixed fees are agreed upon in writing with you at the start of each invoicing period for the new financial year. The invoicing period generally runs from six months before the financial year-end to six months afterward.
Our invoices for work not included within the fixed fee structure are due for payment within 30 days of issue. Our fees will depend not only on time spent on your affairs but also on the level of skill and responsibility, the importance and value of the advice we provide, and the level of risk. 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 carrying out our work for you, will be added to our invoices where appropriate.
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 fulfill our engagement, such necessary additional charges may be payable by you.
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 as well as an administration fee of £5 for late payment of invoices where our direct debit payment option is not taken up. We also reserve the right to suspend our services or cease acting 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.
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. 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 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.
13. Intellectual Property Rights And Use Of Our Name
We will retain all intellectual property rights in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement except where the law specifically states otherwise.
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 are to be made public in accordance with applicable law.
14. Internal Disputes Within A Client
If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own the business or who are in some way involved in its ownership and management, 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 normal place of business for the attention of the directors or proprietors. If conflicting advice, information, or instructions are received from different principals in the business, we will refer the matter back to the board of directors or the partnership and take no further action until the board or partnership] has agreed to the action to be taken.
If any provision of our engagement letter or terms of business is held to be void, 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.
16. Investment Advice
Investment business is regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. If you need advice on investments, including insurances, during the provision of professional services to you, we will have to refer you to someone authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not.
We accept no liability for advice these third-party specialist advisers provide, as you should contract directly with them.
Insofar as we are permitted to do so by law or by 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. Limitation Of Liability
We will provide services outlined in this 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.
We have explained the extent of our liability to you regarding the professional services described in this engagement letter (the professional services). Having considered both your circumstances and our own, we feel that one hundred times the annual fee charged, up to a maximum of £500,000, represents a fair maximum limit to our liability. Your acceptance of our engagement terms is your mutual agreement to this limitation of our liability.
In reaching this agreement, it is also agreed that:
- in the event of any claim for loss or damage arising from the professional services, you have agreed that one hundred times the annual fee charged, up to a maximum of £500,000, represents the maximum total liability to you in respect of the firm its directors and staff. This maximum total liability applies to any and all claims made on any basis and therefore includes any claims in respect of breaches of contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise in relation of the professional services and shall also include interest;
- we confirm that the limit in respect of our total aggregate liability will not apply to any acts, omissions, or representations that are in any way criminal, dishonest or fraudulent on the part of the firm, its directors or staff, or any other liabilities that cannot be lawfully limited or excluded; and
- you have agreed that you will not bring any claim of a kind that is included within the subject of the limit against any of our directors or staff on a personal basis.
However, to the fullest extent permitted by law, we will not be responsible for any losses, penalties, surcharges, interest, or additional tax liabilities if you or others supply incorrect or incomplete information or fail to supply any appropriate information or if you fail to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or the tax authorities.
To the fullest extent permitted by law, you will not hold our directors and staff responsible 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.
Unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement, our work is not to be made available to third parties without our written permission. We will accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
19. 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 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.
20. Money Laundering
In common with all accountancy and legal practices, the firm is required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to:
- maintain identification procedures for all new clients;
- maintain records of identification evidence obtained, and
- report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
We have a duty under section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) to the National Crime Agency (NCA) if we know or have reasonable cause to suspect that another person is involved in money laundering. Failure to make a report where we have knowledge or reasonable grounds for suspicion constitutes a criminal offense.
The offense of money laundering is defined by section 240(11) of the POCA. It includes concealing, converting, using, or processing the benefits of any activity that constitutes a criminal offense in the UK. It also has involvement in any arrangement that facilitates the acquisition, retention, use, or control of such benefit.
We are obliged by law to report instances of money laundering to NCA without your knowledge or consent. Consequently, neither the firm’s principals nor staff may enter into any correspondence or discussions with you regarding such matters.
We are not obliged to undertake work for the sole purpose of identifying suspicions of money laundering. We shall fulfill our obligations under the POCA in accordance with the guidance published by the ICAEW.
21. 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 if 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 before termination.
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.
In the event of termination of our contract, we will endeavor 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 will not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
22. Professional Indemnity Insurance
In accordance with ICAEW requirements, we hold professional indemnity insurance. Details about the insurer and coverage can be found at our offices and on our website’s “contact us” page. 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 bought in any court in the United States of America or Canada.
23. Professional Rules And Statutory Obligations
We will observe and act in accordance with the Bye-laws, regulations, and Code of Ethics of ICAEW, including Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation, and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular, you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC if 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 online at com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance
24. Quality Control
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 professionals and are bound by the same confidentiality rules as our directors and staff.
When dealing with HMRC on your behalf, we must be honest and take reasonable care to ensure that your returns are correct. To enable us to do this, you must be honest with us and provide us with all necessary information promptly. For more information about ‘Your Charter’ for your dealings with HMRC, visit gov.UK/government/publications/your-charter. To the best of our abilities, we will ensure that HMRC meets their side of the Charter in their dealings with you.
25. Reliance On Advice
We will endeavor 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 a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing. Advice is valid as at the date it was given.
We will only assist with implementing our advice if specifically instructed and agreed upon. We will not be liable for any advice provided by third party specialist advisors, introduced by us, with whom you contract directly and have entered into separate terms and conditions of engagement.
26. Retention Of Papers
You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your financial affairs. We may collect information from you and others relevant to your tax and financial matters during our work. 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 ten months after the end of the tax year; otherwise: twenty-two 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.
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 record for an extended period.
We operate a paperless practice whereby all documentation is stored electronically on a secure server, and we do not retain original paper copies of documentation
27. Tax Correspondence
You will forward HMRC statements of account, copies of notices of assessment, letters, and other communications received from HMRC in sufficient time to enable us to deal with them as necessary within the statutory time limits. Although HMRC has the authority to communicate with us when we are your registered agent, it is essential that you let us have copies of any correspondence received because HMRC is not obliged to send us copies of all communications issued to you.
You will keep us informed of material changes in circumstances that could affect the company’s tax liabilities. If the directors are unsure whether the change is material, please tell us so that we can assess its significance.
28. Timing Of Our Services
Please 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 to meet any regulatory deadlines. However, failure to complete our services before any such regulatory deadline would not, of itself, mean that we are liable for any penalty or additional costs arising.