1.1 These terms and conditions set out the general terms under which we undertake our business. The specific conditions relating to particular assignments will be covered in separate letters of engagement.
2 Ethical guidelines
2.1 We are bound by the ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those ethical guidelines. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations.
3.1 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.
3.2 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.
3.3 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.
3.4 We will bill quarterly or annually and our invoices are due for payment on presentation. Our fees are exclusive of GST 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.
3.5 Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.
3.6 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.
3.7 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 you agree that we shall be entitled to enforce any sums due against the Group Company or individual nominated to act for you.
3.8 In the case of a dispute over the level of fees charged we reserve the right to require that the matter is dealt with through arbitration at Kolkata.
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’ Monies Rules of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
4.2 Fees paid by you in advance for professional work to be performed and clearly identifiable as such shall not be regarded as clients’ monies.
5 Internal disputes
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. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different individuals in the business we will refer the matter back to the all relevant individuals and take no further action until they have agreed the action to be taken.
6 Retention of records
6.1 During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your affairs. We will return any relevant documents to you if requested. Documents and records relevant to your 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;
- 6 years from the end of the accounting period;
6.2 Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than 7 years old. You must tell us if you require the return or retention of any specific documents for a longer period.
We shall not be treated as having notice, for the purposes of our audit, accounts or tax responsibilities, of information provided to members of our firm other than those engaged on the specific assignment (for example, information provided in connection with accounting, taxation and other services).
8.1 The services we undertake to perform for you will be carried out on a timescale to be determined between us on an ongoing basis.
8.2 The timing of our work will in any event be dependent on the prompt supply of all information and documentation as and when required by us.
9 Third parties
9.1 Any advice we give you will be supplied on the basis that it is for your benefit only and shall not be disclosed to any third party in whole or part without our prior written consent. It may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by any other person other than you without our prior written consent. If our advice is disclosed to any third party (with or without our consent), then we accept no responsibility or liability to that third party for any consequences that may arise to them, should they rely on the advice.
9.2 If it is proposed that any documents or statement which refer to our name, are to be circulated to third parties, please consult us before they are issued.
10.1 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 this engagement.
10.2 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.
10.3 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.
11 Quality of service
11.1 We aim to provide a high quality of service at all times. If you would like to discuss with us how our service could be improved or if you are dissatisfied with the service that you are receiving please let us know by contacting one of our Directors.
11.2 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 take up the matter with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
12.1 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.
12.2 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.
12.3 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.
13 Limitation of liability
13.1 We will provide our services with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default.
13.2 Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others
We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities are due to the acts or omissions of any other person or due to the provision to us of incomplete, misleading or false information or if they are due to a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.
13.3 Exclusion of liability in relation to circumstances beyond our control
We will not be liable to you for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under this engagement letter if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.
13.4 Exclusion of liability relating to the discovery of fraud etc
We will not be responsible or liable for any loss, damage or expense incurred or sustained if information material to the service we are providing is withheld or concealed from us or wrongly misrepresented to us or from fraudulent acts, misrepresentation or wilful default on the part of any party to the transaction and their directors, officers, employees, agents or advisers. This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures which we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry.
13.5 Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure
You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.
14 Reliance on advice
14.1 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.
15 Conflicts of interest
15.1 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. 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.
15.2 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. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent. 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.
16 Period of engagement and termination
16.1 Unless otherwise agreed in the engagement covering letter our work will begin when we receive your implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
16.2 Each of us may terminate this 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.
16.3 In the event of termination of this 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.