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Mexican stand-off

Don't trust client will pay fees

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I have a client who will be disengaged shortly. We have had a long disagreement about fees and I have tried to be reasonable with them reducing the bill substantially as I just want them to jog on. However they want me to submit the tax return before they pay me, I don't trust them, with reasonalbe cause and I think they will not pay my fees.

I told them that we only submit tax returns after we have been paid. I don't think based on previous correspondence they will agree but I would rather just tell them that the work isn't complete until the fee is paid and just delete the accounts and tax return and sent their books back.

I want to receive some fee for this work but it would really annoy me if I submitted and received nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

Replies (31)

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By williams lester accountants
08th Jul 2021 14:01

Can you not use a third party (solicitor or similar?) to hold the money until submission is complete?

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Jul 2021 14:06

I submitted two companies' sets (same director) in March, having taken 50% deposits, and am still awaiting final payments.

Client has raised issues with previous years' billings, going back to 2018: didn't receive invoices that were emailed; doesn't like extra charges for s455 matters, reconciling bank records; didn't specifically agree to a charge for personal tax matters being charged to his company; and so on and so on. All an attempt to chisel something off what he owes, delay payment, and possibly escalate matters to the point where we fall out so as to give himself a legitimate excuse to walk away from his debt.

So you know what I'm going to say, don't you!

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By Duggimon
08th Jul 2021 14:16

There's really only two possible reasons behind his refusal to pay in advance.

1: He has reason do suspect you'll take payment and not send them.
2: He doesn't intend to pay some or any of the bill.

Unless you have given him reason per option 1, it's definitely option 2.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By JamesDS
13th Jul 2021 11:21

This ^^ is a beautifully distilled fact of the matter.

IMO you should state that "Accounts will be filed when outstanding invoices are paid. If this is not acceptable, please provide details of the provider to whom we should address the minimum professional clearance required by . I await your decision"

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By Marky
08th Jul 2021 14:27

I've told them I'll send submission proof, no one has ever asked for that before but that would be a first.

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By Marky
08th Jul 2021 14:27

I've told them I'll send submission proof, no one has ever asked for that before but that would be a first.

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By SXGuy
08th Jul 2021 14:27

Don't do it.

Get them to sign the ir mark submission confirmation and do not file till payment received.

I will never submit a return until paid unless I'm absolutely sure I know the client well enough to know they'll pay. If you've had disagreements over fees there's a big chance they won't. Why else would they request this unless they plan on not paying.

Another reason why I will never take payment from refunds or request refunds come to us first anymore.

Years ago had a client who we'd receive the refund take our fee and pay back the client, till one year we never received it, contacted client who went dark, only to find out he'd removed our authority shortly after the return had been submitted.

Lesson learned. Never again

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Jul 2021 14:47

I don't file for clients I know will pay, let alone chancers.

No cash, no file, no discussion.

O and about £500 bad debt in 18 years for advice fees I foolishly didn't take upfront years ago. Its all upfont now.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By meadowsaw227
09th Jul 2021 11:22

Have never asked for fees before filing and never will, had some bad debts over the years but not enough for me to change the modus operandi.

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By Paul Crowley
08th Jul 2021 14:57

You will never be paid if you file.
Send him the bill and wait out.
He will do the same to the next agent

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By In a Daze
08th Jul 2021 22:49

As others have said don't file. We make all of our clients pay in advance it is the only way in my opinion.

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@enanen
By enanen
13th Jul 2021 10:12

Stand your ground.

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By JD
13th Jul 2021 11:00

It would be very easy for them to invent a series of issues with the work you have done making recovery very difficult and time consuming. If you do file first, then at least get them to sign off quality of work, size of fee and they will be liable for all recovery costs (including your time).

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By brumsub
13th Jul 2021 11:07

What does your Letter of Engagement say? Have you previously billed this client before, or after, completing the work and filing?
I would just send them a letter stating that in view of the current difficulties, your bill will be x amount for completion (with details), get them to agree in writing and that you will file after payment has been received.
The alternative is to get them to agree the fee in writing, file and then pursue the debt. Your LOE is your contract with them. I would of course then disengage properly.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
13th Jul 2021 12:11

In cases where I want payment upfront I ask for it on approval of draft accounts, and have not had anyone fail to pay.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
13th Jul 2021 12:13

By the way, assuming that both parties are not of Mexican origin, is "Mexican stand-off" now considered cultural appropriation or a form of micro-racism?

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
13th Jul 2021 13:40

Depends on the penalties ;-)

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
13th Jul 2021 13:49

From wiki:
"A Mexican Standoff is a three person gun duel. According to standard game theory, the first person to shoot is most likely to lose. The person they shoot at is also likely to lose. The third person has the best chance of winning."

Not sure who the third person is in this case!

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Hugo Fair
13th Jul 2021 14:19

HMRC?

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Replying to Red Leader:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
13th Jul 2021 17:23

No good if the 3rd person gets shot by persons 1 and 2

[Edit] does the game theory assume the gun is capable of single or multiple shots? i.e. in the above scenario persons 1 and 2 having shot person 3, then person 1 shoots person 2

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
14th Jul 2021 10:17

Arthur Putey wrote:

No good if the 3rd person gets shot by persons 1 and 2

[Edit] does the game theory assume the gun is capable of single or multiple shots? i.e. in the above scenario persons 1 and 2 having shot person 3, then person 1 shoots person 2

I think it assumes that you can only focus on one target at at time (which is generally the case, no matter what action movies might tell us). So the person that shoots first doesn't get time to refocus for the second shot.

If the OP and the client sat next to one another, then stood up raising their arms and sat down again in sequence, would that be further cultural appropriation?

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By Mr_awol
14th Jul 2021 12:51

stepurhan wrote:

Arthur Putey wrote:

No good if the 3rd person gets shot by persons 1 and 2

[Edit] does the game theory assume the gun is capable of single or multiple shots? i.e. in the above scenario persons 1 and 2 having shot person 3, then person 1 shoots person 2

I think it assumes that you can only focus on one target at at time (which is generally the case, no matter what action movies might tell us). So the person that shoots first doesn't get time to refocus for the second shot.

If the OP and the client sat next to one another, then stood up raising their arms and sat down again in sequence, would that be further cultural appropriation?

I suspect the theory is that shooter one takes a shot, and shooters two and three return fire, but the guy who was shot would identify the source first and return quicker, becoming shooter two. So shooter one gets shot by two people and is most likely to die, shooter two has already been shot, by shooter one, so may die, and the third guy doesn't get shot by anybody -or if they do, its by someone who has themselves already been shot by one or more persons.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
15th Jul 2021 10:00

That might not work if the three participants were Rashford, Sancho, and Saka as they're all likely to shoot and miss!

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Mr_awol
14th Jul 2021 12:43

I thought this thread was going to be about George Lopez - or at least Gabriel Iglesias. I'm pretty disappointed TBH...........

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
14th Jul 2021 13:59

If it makes you feel any better we could have George Lopez and Gabriel Iglesias on guns 1 & 2 against Clint Eastwood on gun 3.

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By [email protected]
13th Jul 2021 17:48

Just tell them - no fee, no file, then ignore them until they pay
and make sure they've signed the return first!

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Replying to [email protected]chapman.plus.com:
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By Paul Crowley
13th Jul 2021 18:57

Approved
Signed is Magna Charter times

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
14th Jul 2021 10:23

You have the power.

At this stage, you have nothing to lose by not submitting the return. (the time taken already is a sunk cost). Your client has the choice of paying you or finding someone else to start from scratch.

Might be worth checking with your professional body (if you have one) whether you could tell a successor about the client refusing to pay prior to submission in a handover letter.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
14th Jul 2021 10:24

You have the power.

At this stage, you have nothing to lose by not submitting the return. (the time taken already is a sunk cost). Your client has the choice of paying you or finding someone else to start from scratch.

Might be worth checking with your professional body (if you have one) whether you could tell a successor about the client refusing to pay prior to submission in a handover letter.

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SMH
By ShakingMyHead
14th Jul 2021 12:14

Don't do it.

Just do not do it.

They pay first or let them go elsewhere. The red flag is waving. There is danger ahead. When your spirit / gut is telling you that they're going to do a moonlight flit... listen to it.

I have 2 persistent late payers who absolutely get on my nerves... but they're good for the money. This guy - I'm not so sure.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
14th Jul 2021 13:21

Provide a breakdown of the bill, preparing tax return £495.

Filing of approved tax return £5.

The £495 is due now, then you are only exposed to the £5 filing fee.

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