Money Laundering report?

Client over 20 years leaving

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we have a client who we've had for over 20 years. Last year he was doing a driving job where he had no expenses he could claim back so only had income. He wasn't under CIS or PAYE.

He wouldn't listen about the tax he had to pay. He claimed he was never told about the payments on acocunt even though in September he was sent a letter, which I know he received.

He left a message last Friday saying he was going elsewhere and his new accountant was going to email. So far, no email so can't be that desperate. Anyway, I am inclined, if I can do to monitor his tax VIA the HMRC website.

If adjusted would you report as I am 99% certain my figures are correct.

Replies (19)

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By Duggimon
12th Mar 2024 10:02

I wouldn't bother checking up on him to monitor the situation. If through the course of your work with him you have reasonable grounds to suspect an offence has been committed (not that it is going to possibly be committed in the future) then file an SAR, otherwise just disengage and don't wait for the clearance letter, just wash your hands and be done with it.

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By Paul Crowley
12th Mar 2024 10:10

Never worth the trouble.
Someone has probably suggested loads of expenses can be invented. Leave them to it.
If it is a proper accountant then they will get HMRC authorisation and he will drop off the client list for you.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
12th Mar 2024 10:13

0098087 wrote:

Last year he was doing a driving job where he had no expenses he could claim back so only had income. He wasn't under CIS or PAYE.

So you're saying he was self-employed. Surely he had some expenses? Any allowable accountancy fees? Mobile phone? Motor expenses?

0098087 wrote:

He wouldn't listen about the tax he had to pay. He claimed he was never told about the payments on acocunt even though in September he was sent a letter, which I know he received.

Ahh, if only clients would listen and read everything we send them! So you wrote to him early doors, last September, telling him how much he should pay in January '24 and July '24... was there a balancing 2022/23 component within the January 2024 payment?

0098087 wrote:

He left a message last Friday saying he was going elsewhere and his new accountant was going to email. So far, no email so can't be that desperate. Anyway, I am inclined, if I can do to monitor his tax VIA the HMRC website.

Friday's always a good day for making changes. Anyway, nothing stopping you from monitoring his HMRC account until such time as you disengage. Always assuming he doesn't return to your fold when he's unable to find an accountant who'll roll over for him.

0098087 wrote:

If adjusted would you report as I am 99% certain my figures are correct.

Statisticians will tell you to go with 95% probability, so yes. But only if he adjusts his taxable profits figure - I wouldn't be too put out if he adjusts downwards his '23/24 payments on account (although I would probably disengage under my "too many cooks" rule.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
12th Mar 2024 10:17

Oh, go on then.... what sort of driving job was your self-employed client doing, and whose vehicle did he drive?

Are we talkin' car, van, or long-distance lorry-loads of immigrants?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By 0098087
12th Mar 2024 10:50

getting information out of him was a shocking nightmare as well

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DougScott
By Dougscott
12th Mar 2024 11:09

Sounds like sour grapes on your part. I would just leave him too it and I think you would be on a sticky wicket monitoring his HMRC account if he has left you which it sounds like he has.

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By Roland195
12th Mar 2024 11:17

I would suggest that given the notification the client has verbally given you, it would be incorrect (across a range of issues - GDPR, Permission) for you to access his record much less act on it, even if still shown on your HMRC Agent Gateway (I would not actively remove it until instructions have been received from a new agent though at this early stage).

If in the next wee while, you receive an agent's copy of a revised tax calculation, I'd suggest the same applies - you shouldn't read it any more than necessary to confirm it is for a client you no longer represent.

While maybe one for David Winch to consider properly, I would be reluctant to make an official report/record arising out of information I was no (arguably) no longer authorised to view.

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Replying to Roland195:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
12th Mar 2024 11:20

I believe, on the facts given, that I concur.

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Replying to Roland195:
David Winch
By David Winch
12th Mar 2024 11:46

Based on a brief outline, my thinking would be that if the ex-client receives advice from a new accountant (and follows that advice) I don't see any dishonesty - so nothing to report.
David

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Replying to Roland195:
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By 0098087
12th Mar 2024 11:51

Thank you. I take your points.

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Replying to Roland195:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
12th Mar 2024 11:53

Our poster has yet to receive any notification from a new accountant, and is surely still acting for his driver with no expenses whatsoever client.

But even if he had received a courtesy letter from a new accountant then surely it must be alright to log in to a departing client's tax account. How else is he to provide up-to-date handover information relating to his departing client's tax position? And how else is he to make a call based upon up-to-date information whether or not to report?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Roland195
12th Mar 2024 13:03

That is why I hedged with "arguably" but I would consider the phone call received from the client being the notice of termination of the relationship.

I suppose we get could get into the detail of what engagements letter terms state & what disengagement procedure was undertaken & possibly refer to the rules of whatever Institute we may belong to.

Even if the client toddles off to the local Cowboy who doesn't bother with the niceties of handover information or even having an Agent Account with HMRC, I wouldn't be confident that making an official report/record of the fact you accessed this thereafter wouldn't land you in bother with your Institute - there would be a relatively high chance they would review this given their particular interest in AML.

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Replying to Roland195:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
12th Mar 2024 14:11

It's an engaging question: at what point is/was such notice served?

I take your point that the client's verbal notice, esp against the backdrop of a dispute, could well be sufficient to terminate the engagement contract. Our LofEs state that notice of termination must be communicated in writing, so I guess I've become too set in my ways.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By 0098087
12th Mar 2024 14:21

I will be insisting on the instructions in writing once the new accountant contacts me

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By Tom+Cross
12th Mar 2024 11:49

I'd be willing to wager that, if you persist in 'following' this soon to be ex-client, your sleep pattern, will be interupted.

As in the phrase from Frozen; Let it go.

You need to respect GDPR and with it, your own sanity.

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By fawltybasil2575
12th Mar 2024 12:09

@ 0098087.

(1) I endorse earlier posters' comments re accessing information (from HMRC ) NOW re the "client", who could claim (possibly correctly) that his advising you last Friday that another accountant was to take over, since such comment could be construed as his having ALREADY dismissed you (or at the very least that you should not undertake ANY work until such time as a new accountant was appointed).

(2) Regardless of whether, in the overall picture, the client's expressions of concern are due to his being in some financial difficulty, which has impacted upon his being able to pay the January 2024 First Payment on Account, one has to consider whether such be the case, and therefore whether perhaps, in the 2023/24 tax year, the nature of his business operations was different from 2022/23, especially since a "self-employed driver" role often indicates its being of a temporary nature.

That leads to whether his 2023/24 tax liability might be less than that for 2022/23, perhaps due to his self-employment income in 2023/24 (if indeed he was self-employed throughout that tax year) being less than in 2022/23. You mention that in September 2023 you notified him of the 2023/24 Payments on Accounts but did you then, or have you subsequently, mentioned the possibility of reducing those Payments on Account ?

(3) As regards submitting a report to NCA, I can see no valid reason for such submission - I can see no element of criminality at all in the actions of the client (without such element there is nothing to report).

Basil.

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
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By 0098087
12th Mar 2024 12:12

Only reason I suggested a report was because other people doing the same job where he was have said their tax was much lower which led me to believe that incorrect expenses were being put through

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Replying to 0098087:
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By DKB-Sheffield
12th Mar 2024 13:18

0098087 wrote:

Only reason I suggested a report was because other people doing the same job where he was have said their tax was much lower which led me to believe that incorrect expenses were being put through

That's quite a significant leap... and you will clearly know it is.

- Others doing a similar type of work (unknown how much work they do)
- Lower taxes (not having seen comps... CAs etc., or even knowing what they mean by 'tax bill'.. POAs, previous POAs, other income taxed at source)
- Is the result of incorrect expenses being put through (or any expenses per your OP)?

Even if that was all true, I can't see that this results in an SAR being appropriate (for your soon-to-be ex-client, who may in future, use the accountant who claims some - likely legitimate - expenses, and may not even be able to reduce client's tax bill at all).

I have a few 'drivers' in multiple industries. Not one has 'no expenses'... should I be submitting an SAR? Or is there a bigger question as to whether youe client is - indeed - overpaying if none are included?

Alas, it is what it is... as well as the Frozen quote, I'll revert to the final line of another film starring the late, great Vivien Leigh...

"After all, tomorrow is another day".

The client has left, you'll tie yourself in knots if you don't move on.

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
12th Mar 2024 14:41

And being he is soon, if not already, to be an ex client then really, "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" seems on point.

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