Long story short, a sole trader client of mine filed for bankruptcy three days before the tax deadline in January, owing me nearly £4k (£75k to others). As a result, I did not file his tax return for 2018/19, nor did I file his VAT return due 7th February as I was not prepared to do more work for no payment.
I paid for his Xero and ReceiptBank subscriptons throughout the engagement, which was used to process his bookkeeping and receipts. I checked with the Insolvency Service and they advised me that they would not need access to the data and said to close the accounts as to not incur anymore costs, which I have done (although the data can be accessed).
The client has now contacted me asking about transfering the accounts to him and I have a few questions and issues I would like some input on please:
1. Do I even have to reply to this message? After lots of broken promises and no sign of payment I am in no mood to assist him or provide him information.
2. The subscriptions will require a payment to take them over, and as I'm told he has no funds I am presuming his wife will be taking it over. Can I refuse to transfer the subscription until at least my costs of providing the subscriptions have been paid?
3. Who does the data belong to legally? Its his information obviously, but the data has been processed and stored at my cost. Hotmail hosts my emails for free, and presumably they could stop doing so at anytime and refuse further access to the information I have stored on their servers and at their costs. If I havent taken back ups of the information from them surely that would be my issue, not theirs?
4. If he has been declared bankrupt, what does he even need the information for? Will HMRC still be expecting his tax and VAT returns even though he is now bankrupt?
I like to be polite and professional as much as possible even in difficult circumstances but I am in no mood to help him and don't want to spend another moment of my (unpaid) time assisting him, but at the same time if I could recover any of the fees I would like to do so (as long as its not a long drawn out process).