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Is Any Answers entrapment

Where one gives tax advice on Any Answers what are the MLR implications ?

When answering Any Answers should we , given the advice is often specific to particular circumstances rather than generic, be mindful of our obligations re identifying clients under MLR, are we crossing a line , is the lack of reward sufficient protection?

A post by @Ian Bee on another thread today prompted this thought, his was in the context of an excuse for not giving prospective clients detailed answers at the enquiry stage, but got me thinking,

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By Ian Bee

  

23rd Nov 2017 11:06

While I might meet a potential client to explain what I can do, strictly I cannot give advice or technical explanations unless they have undergone money laundering checks etc., and agreed terms of engagement.

It's also a good excuse to avoid getting sucked into giving free advice."

So, does Any Answers encourage transgression?

 

 

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23rd Nov 2017 14:04

In my view posting an answer on here does *not* create a "business relationship" within the meaning of Reg 4(1) MLR 2017.
David

*Edited to insert the missing word NOT

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By DJKL
to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 11:45

David, is it sufficient,

"4.—(1) For the purpose of these Regulations, “business relationship” means a business, professional or commercial relationship between a relevant person and a customer, which—

(a) arises out of the business of the relevant person, and

(b) is expected by the relevant person, at the time when contact is established, to have an element of duration. "

The key seems to be the "element of duration"

Have I just shot Bambi (killed Any Answers)!!!

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to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 11:46

I suspect you of having omitted a very important word David.

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to Portia Nina Levin
23rd Nov 2017 13:43

Ooops! Yes, silly me. I have now inserted the word "not".
Thanks
David

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to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 11:57

For the first time ever I think I disagree with you.

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to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 12:01

I think I agree with PNL. Otherwise David has just committed a criminal offence live on Aweb !

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By DJKL
to gerrysims
23rd Nov 2017 12:04

I would have thought that would depend on whether the question was specific rather than generic, otherwise those who say wrote for Taxation might have issues, and what about those who publish books/manuals?

There is obviously a line, the point is, where is it, when has one crossed it?

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to DJKL
23rd Nov 2017 12:25

I would suggest that, in the case of a magazine article or a book there is no "relationship" between the author and the reader; the "relationship" being between the author and the publisher, and in connection with which the author is not a "relevant person".

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23rd Nov 2017 12:20

Posting an answer on here clearly does not create a business relationship. It is not my business to answer questions on Aweb, I am far from professional when I do so and I don't get paid for it (yet) so it's not commercial.

I, as the potential relevant person under the definition, have no intention of any element of duration in the potential relationship, indeed in most questions I answer on here these days I would rather never speak to the person again.

I don't see how one could argue within that definition that the facts are otherwise.

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By DJKL
to Duggimon
23rd Nov 2017 12:24

It surely merely needs a professional relationship , for me the key is duration.

I think giving advice on a site intended for professionals might be construed as a professional relationship, just not so sure there is anything enduring that would trip us into the "and" re duration.

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By mrme89
to DJKL
23rd Nov 2017 12:29

But the website is no longer solely intended for professionals - Francois cleared that one up yesterday.

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to mrme89
23rd Nov 2017 12:30

When? Where?

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to mrme89
23rd Nov 2017 13:21

Licence to just give duff advice to freeloaders, methinks, for which Sift might have vicarious liability.

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By mrme89
to Portia Nina Levin
23rd Nov 2017 14:12

Indeed.

But nonetheless, it's still an absolute p1ss take.

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to DJKL
23rd Nov 2017 12:29

Before you consider whether or not there is a professional relationship, you need to consider whether the party is a 'relevant business person', which is a hat that will be worn on some occasions, but not on others (ie it is not merely defined by one's vocation). Personally I come here to troll those who I consider deserving of such treatment, and do not do so as a 'relevant person', and nor do I have a 'relationship' with them 'professional' or otherwise.

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to DJKL
23rd Nov 2017 12:30

Literally anyone can join the site and start posting willy nilly though, there is no barrier to entry. The professional relationship is not created because nobody should be acting solely based on information gleaned from Any Answers.

The expectation from the "client" and the intention from the "professional" is not there so the relationship can't exist. The terms of use of the site, which everyone has of course "read" and agreed to, clearly state that all information is general, not to be relied upon and is not professional advice.

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By DJKL
to Duggimon
23rd Nov 2017 13:18

But we are surely not concerned with the actual advice, more, do we ,in giving advice, have an obligation re identification of the party seeking advice prior to providing same?

We offer our advice here as professionals (albeit not remunerated) but is remuneration necessary to create a professional relationship?

Some on here post with their business identified in their profile, some may, from their posting, obtain clients from the site, so they key is where does the line get drawn re one's professional activities covered by MLR?

If one gave advice and the party on here subsequently became a paying client have we crossed the line, in effect giving advice prior to checking identity?

I have no firm views here, just thought it was an interesting topic (maybe should have saved it for Friday)

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to DJKL
23rd Nov 2017 14:17

Oh I definitely agree it's an interesting topic to muse on and wouldn't want to give the impression I was dismissive in my answers!

I think the anonymity of the site (even if the user identifies themselves because there is no means to prove who they say they are) precludes any such professional relationship existing.

It would be reckless in the extreme for anyone, upon receiving advice on here, to presume that the giver of that advice is bound by some professional obligation to provide exact and accurate advice merely because they replied.

edit: I meant to answer another point you raised, I don't believe remuneration is necessary to create a professional relationship, it's just one of a number of indicators, and one which is sadly missing from my good work on AWeb.

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23rd Nov 2017 14:18

If I prefaced my posts with "I am a Chartered Accountant and I strongly advise..." and then went on to say that the best course of action for your business specifically is to burn down your shop and claim the insurance, then I'd be in danger.

I don't preface my posts with that though because I'm a juggler in the circus.

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23rd Nov 2017 14:03

Oh dear! I seem to have caused chaos by hurriedly typing (or mis-typing) my original response & rushing off to the gym.
Clearly the moral of this story is that I should not go to the gym!
Sorry everybody.
David

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By DJKL
to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 14:28

Sorry, looks like I sent everyone on a wild goose chase, still, does sharpen the thought process re responsibility when posting.

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avatar
to davidwinch
23rd Nov 2017 14:35

davidwinch wrote:
Clearly the moral of this story is that I should not go to the gym!

Arguably the best "moral of the story" I've ever heard.

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