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I made a mistake - advice needed

Do I need to report myself

Didn't find your answer?

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Replies (43)

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By paul.benny
06th Mar 2020 15:59

My advice: call CABA.

The universal advice here to members of the public seeking accounting help is to go to a professional. Likewise here. CABA have access to professionals in the different matters tied up in your predicament.

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By SWAccountant
06th Mar 2020 16:07

"She works as an entertainer and dancer. "

I know, from this precise point, that this would be good.

I'm afraid I have nothing more to add other than i don't think this is the right place for the advice you need.

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By ohgoodgodno
06th Mar 2020 16:11

you just sound like the loveliest chap

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Replying to ohgoodgodno:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
06th Mar 2020 17:34

Quite. I liked the bit where his wife would "get over it" as she knew what he was like. I say liked. Jaw dropped even lower to the ground.

But yes, if you are ICAEW, ethics helpline.

Either that or just do a bunk. Ever thought about politics? You would fit right in at the top of the Blue team.

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By K81
06th Mar 2020 16:17

seriously?

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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 20:40

T08y

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By Justin Bryant
06th Mar 2020 17:16

And who said accountancy was dull?

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By thomas34
06th Mar 2020 17:25

Don't worry - if this post is genuine (and you'll be able to dine out on this story for years) blackmail is a very serious crime. Just tell her that you have enough evidence to have her banged up for years. Disengage obviously - you have haven't you?

In all my years in practice I never had that much excitement.

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Replying to thomas34:
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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 20:40

7t

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By thomas34
06th Mar 2020 18:41

Yes, agreed Anne! If the post is a spoof (and Friday afternoons tends to be the time for these things) it's a bit of light relief (which the OP reckons he had one night). If it's serious the OP will find that doing nothing (apart from my advice about the blackmail) is sometimes the best option.

The part about 3 years accounts didn't make sense unless the lady was in arrears with her returns.

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By Wanderer
06th Mar 2020 17:48

Quote:

I've had a dispute with a client - she was a referral from a friend of a friend (I know, I know) and I took her on in good faith.

She works as an entertainer and dancer. During our initial email introduction I made it quite clear to her that I would be limited as to what expenses I could claim on her behalf. She turned up on the day with an A4 ringbinder filled with around 200 receipts for clothing, accessories, gadgets, etc. I went through everything with her there and mattled these down to what I actually thought she could legitimately claim. She was unhappy with this and threatened to go elsewhere. I, being an idiot, tried to negotiate with her. I said if she left the paperwork with me I'd go back through it to make sure nothing had been missed. It's important to stress that I made NO promises that I would be able to put anything else through.

Long story short, over the next few weeks she started contacting me more often using my work's mobile to chase this up and the conversation strayed from business to casual. She told me she needed some receipts from the folder to return something and I agreed to drop it off at her flat. I checked she was comfortable with this situation and I don't consider I was overstepping any boundaries. I've dropped things off at other clients houses before outside of business hours so this wasn't unusual. I don't want to go into details because I know how stupid I've been but long story short I ended up spending the night there with her.

The issue arises here. Feel free to judge all you want (I deserve it) but she found out I was married and hit the roof. She made threats to tell my wife, tell the Institute and genrally ruin my reputation. My practice is new and I'm surviving on word of mouth at the moment so I hit the panic button and asked her what she wanted in exchange for keeping quiet. She told me she wanted her returns done free of charge and to include all the receipts (this is amongst other things she wanted but this is the only thing relevant to the accounting side of things). I've done this the last 3 years. She's now received a self-assessment check into the 2017/18 tax year and HMRC are looking to disallow the majority of the expenses. As a result she'll have a tax bill of over 7k (not including penalties and interest) - that's just for 2017/18. She is not going to make a voluntary disclosure for the other years and seems to think HMRC won't check them. She told me in no uncertain terms that I'm on the hook for sorting this out and paying it. My wife's recently had a baby and business is not going well. I cannot afford this and I told her so. She tracked down my wife on Facebook and told her everything. That's immaterial; my wife is upset but she knows what I'm like by now and will get over it in time. However her next threat is that she will be reporting me to the institute for gross misconduct. I believe I would have a good argument that she's blackmailed me and I have texts, emails, etc, that suggest as much. The kicker is that I had a bad night over Xmas and text her a lot of regrettable stuff that would not paint me in the best light. I made an offhand threat that if she didn't leave me alone, there would be consequences. I know she'll use this against my despite the fact I was just angry, drunk and posturing. I was trying to scare her but I wouldn't ever raise my fist in anger at a woman.

I realise that you'll have no sympathy for me here and I wouldn't expect any. Do you think I should get in before her and notify them of what's happened myself? What could they punish me with? What specific rules have I broken?

You'll hopefully understand why this is anonymous. I'll edit this post if I have any more queries.

Many thanks.

IF this is genuine I think it is easy to judge the OP. He (assumed) made one initial mistake and thereafter has become the subject of blackmail which may threaten his marriage, livelihood and whole future. Each of these potentially life changing, or worse, for doing something stupid.
OP i can't condone your mistake or subsequent actions but you DO have my sympathy.
OP either CABA or the ethics helpline may assist.
I would suggest disengaging, NOT answering HMRC queries (follow ethical advice) and certainly do NOT get involved in paying any liabilities. Whatever the situation the tax is hers to pay not yours and getting further involved will just be digging a deeper hole.
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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Mr_awol
09th Mar 2020 11:36

Quote:

getting further involved will just be digging a deeper hole.

I agree. That's the last thing the OP should be doing in this situation.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Mr_awol
09th Mar 2020 11:36

Quote:

getting further involved will just be digging a deeper hole.

I agree. That's the last thing the OP should be doing in this situation.

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By Truthsayer
06th Mar 2020 19:05

If this story is real, then I'm a socialist.

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By James Green
06th Mar 2020 19:17

The OP wins Any Answers.

Best. Question. Ever.

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Replying to James Green:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
07th Mar 2020 09:48

Shame its probably fake, but it is good.

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By AWeb72
06th Mar 2020 22:03

I hope your asset didn't depreciate too quickly at the time.

I'll get my coat.........

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David Winch
By David Winch
06th Mar 2020 22:22

Contact the ethics helpline - and RELATE.
Best of luck.
David

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Tornado
By Tornado
07th Mar 2020 08:48

A tricky situation seeing lone female clients. I get around this by taking my wife with me! (She is also my employee and takes notes)

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Replying to Tornado:
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By AWeb72
07th Mar 2020 17:06

Really?!

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Replying to AWeb72:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
09th Mar 2020 10:34

Don't knock it. If his wife had been with him during the rendezvous with the dancing client happened then... we all know how much accountants love double entry.

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
Tornado
By Tornado
09th Mar 2020 11:15

Double entry is the default basis of course,(for each entry there should be an equal and opposite entry), but we are very thorough in our firm and have a policy of doing everything at least twice just to make sure. Making meticulous notes of the results for future reference can also be very rewarding, particularly if detailed explanations are required by HMRC.

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By whitevanman
07th Mar 2020 10:23

I realise it's now too late but you should have explained the concept of "wholly and exclusively" at the outset....ah, but you obviously don't understand it yourself!

PS. I don't believe a word of it but it could make a #1 Country song if you just add a few illnesses and perhaps the death of a family pet etc.

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By mumpin
07th Mar 2020 17:38

Is that you FT?
Wondered where you have been...

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
08th Mar 2020 19:02

I would ensure that 24 hour protection for the pet rabbit is in place.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
08th Mar 2020 22:01

best post on here for years brilliant please keep us updated

This must be Firsttab is it.

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By Joe Alderson
09th Mar 2020 09:38

Why am I more interested in which expenses you said she couldn't claim?

Was it the lingerie? Makeup? Something else?

You might be surprised what is allowable in the "dancer/entertainer" career.
https://www.contractoruk.com/news/0013766erotic_dancer_wins_ps10500_expe...

As for the other stuff, without going into any moral issues or debate over if the OP is true or not (let's assume it's true for fun), just report her first, she's the one trying to blackmail you, not the other way round.

As for this part "The issue arises here. Feel free to judge all you want (I deserve it) but she found out I was married and hit the roof." I read that more as she found out you were married and spotted an opportunity.

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Replying to Joe Alderson:
Tornado
By Tornado
09th Mar 2020 10:05

it might be a good idea for the OP to check if this lady 'knows' any people that may be able to help him directly such as Judges, HMRC Officers, Senior Police Officers, etc. These sort of connections could be really useful.

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Replying to Tornado:
My photo
By Matrix
09th Mar 2020 14:28

There was a film about this, Personal Services, but not our understanding of the term...

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By Duggimon
09th Mar 2020 09:30

If you're a member of the same institute I am I can only hope you are reported and removed from it.

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By bernard michael
09th Mar 2020 10:17

What the OP hasn't said is was this a course of conduct over 3 years or a one off.
I'll ask my local expert in all matters marital @ lunch time. He's know as TMDTP and for an initial consultation will require 1 pint of strong ale

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By Mr_awol
09th Mar 2020 11:29

If this is real, my advice would be to get in there with The Institute before the hooker - oops i mean stripper - oops I mean dancer, rats you out.

If it's not then I look forward to next Friday's episode where you tell us you've knocked off (or up) the client and are eager to find out what should be your next move...……..

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Replying to Mr_awol:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
09th Mar 2020 14:58

SMP surely

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By SouthCoastAcc
09th Mar 2020 15:20

OP, it happens to the best of us.

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Replying to SouthCoastAcc:
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By Mr_awol
09th Mar 2020 15:59

True. we've all been there with our exotic dancer clients. It's a hazard of the job really.

Let's just be thankful this one was a sole trader - it explains why I get so tired working on partnership Returns though

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By Mr_awol
09th Mar 2020 16:03

@OP now that it's out, presumably you'll be sending her an invoice for al the free work you've undertaken?

Well maybe not all of it - just the accountancy and tax stuff - what does your engagement letter say about 'additional services'?

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By ohwhatnow
11th Mar 2020 12:49

why didn't he just advise her the make whoopie with the tax inspector as well and get everything wiped off the slate....euw! (sorry no pun intended). Only caught sight of this just now, bit disappointed its all gone a bit quiet was expecting some really interesting updates?

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Replying to ohwhatnow:
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By Wanderer
11th Mar 2020 14:09

I've a faint memory of that actually happening in the past.

Certainly it can be a factor in reducing tax liabilities:-
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/tycoons-bribes-to-buy-tax-inspector-1...

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Replying to Wanderer:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Mar 2020 14:36

I also recall that- Hector received services from a young lady if I recall correctly and the quid pro quo was the quashing of her liabilities.

Fair few years ago now if I recall correctly.

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By JCresswellTax
12th Mar 2020 09:31

Bet she was absolutely smoking hot, so I don't blame you!

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By mrme89
12th Mar 2020 10:11

You shouldn't have unleashed your married p3n1s onto a client.

Your moral compass is so f'ed up.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
12th Mar 2020 12:13

Jackanory.

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By CMPACDGDB
13th Mar 2020 11:42

We're all human; come clean to all parties but also go to the police about blackmail - it's a criminal offence.

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