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Moral Dilemma/MLR obligations

Moral Dilemma/MLR obligations

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Good morning everyone!

I posted a thread back in February but there have been updates and I really would like to know what people think. Here is the original thread, sorry for the length of the OP

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/soca-report-maybe-on...

I did make a report to the firm's MLRO and didn't think about it again. I suspect that he took no action.

Today, I just happened across the file of the individual client on the (self employed consultant) Account Manager's desk and surprise surprise, he has completed the client's tax return for 2013/2014 to include a capital gains tax computation showing the latest option payment received. He has done it manually, sent it to her and told her to post it herself but the letter is on our firm's system, was on our letterheading, etc.

I'm really so cross about this - he is a qualified ACCA with over 40 years worth of experience and he knows full well he shouldn't be doing this. He has clearly bypassed my department this time around - probably as he knew I would not let any of my staff be involved in completing a tax return knowingly incorrectly.

So what do I do now? Another report to the principal of the firm? Probably pointless as the last one wasn't acted upon. Report direct to NCA?

Please help, this is so morally repugnant to me and it's going to worry me (and I don't want people getting away with tax evasion).

Thanks

Replies (11)

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David Winch
By David Winch
09th Oct 2014 10:23

Same again

The advice you received last time was that you should report this to your own firm's MLRO (and keep a record that you have done so) and keep your eyes open for a job somewhere else.

I agree.

David

Thanks (1)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
By northernmonkey
09th Oct 2014 11:38

Thank you David.

My problem here is that I am in a very senior position within the firm and I know full well that nothing will ever actually happen with my report. I feel more than the usual 'employee' responsibility to do that and nothing else. It might be that I have met my obligations, per se, but morally, I feel I should do more. This is eating me up and I am struggling to sleep.

With regard getting a new job, the same applies. I've spent fifteen years looking after my current clients and couldn't leave them. The same goes for my team. I love working where I do and I wouldn't leave them at the mercy of the MD and ex-partner. (I would add that, although I am not a partner/director, I am seen to be by my clients and peers).

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David Winch
By David Winch
09th Oct 2014 12:08

I'm sorry but

I can only repeat the advice which I and others have already given.

If you cannot continue where you are - then you cannot continue where you are.

I think you really have to open your mind to the possibility of moving on.  The longer you stay where you are the more uncomfortable & stressed you will become.  It's time to go.

David

Thanks (1)
Replying to johnjenkins:
By northernmonkey
09th Oct 2014 12:06

But I can't not continue where I am. If I left, the tax evasion would go unchecked and potentially would get worse as my staff would end up getting dragged into completing tax returns that are known to be false. In the MD's defence, has has had some serious personal problems and suffers from mental illness and again, I stay because I'm needed. He does very little at the firm and the practice is pretty much run by myself and another senior member of staff. The ex-partner simply does what he wants and what the client tells him to.

It just seems crazy that simply emailing my suspicions to the MD and doing nothing else whilst tax evasion is going on within the firm is seen to be sufficient. Maybe I just need to toughen up!

 

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Replying to NH:
By James Reeves
09th Oct 2014 12:31

Choices

northernmonkey wrote:

It just seems crazy that simply emailing my suspicions to the MD and doing nothing else whilst tax evasion is going on within the firm is seen to be sufficient. Maybe I just need to toughen up!

It seems to me that you know what you have to do but are trying to put it off.  You are in a position where you believe you are key to the firm and are seen by many as a "de facto partner", but seem unwilling to take the bull by the horns. Don't email the MD, there is nothing easier for him than just to ignore your email. Go and speak to him and lay it out - tell him it is unacceptable and leave him in no doubt as to what you are thinking and why.

Then you'll discover whether he sees you as a key man or not. If he appreciates you and needs you and it gets sorted out to your satisfaction then all is well, but if you get fobbed off then you are deluding yourself: no matter how your staff and clients perceive you, if the MD has no respect for you then you should move on. You are not doing your staff or clients any favours by staying, you are just using them as an excuse to avoid making a difficult decision. You need to do what's right for yourself, not for anybody else.

EDIT - crossed with David's post which says it so much more succinctly!!

Thanks (1)
David Winch
By David Winch
09th Oct 2014 12:22

Your responsibilities

Your primary responsibilities are to yourself & your family - not to your employers, their staff, their clients or HMRC.

The purpose of reporting your suspicions to the firm's MLRO is to cover yourself.

You do indeed have to toughen up & be prepared to leave behind situations which are not of your making, for which you are not managerially responsible & which you have no power to resolve.

As Oliver Cromwell said in rather different circumstances:

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."

You will be much better for it.

David

Thanks (2)
By ShirleyM
09th Oct 2014 12:55

Can you change things?

You won't know unless you try.

If you can't change things, then you either have to put up with it, or move on.

Thanks (1)
By northernmonkey
09th Oct 2014 14:19

Thanks all. Funnily enough, before I read the last few posts, I made up my mind to do just what James above said. The MD does respect me, and does see me as a key person (lady actually :) ) and I knew deep down that I had to lay it out for him.

He agrees that we need to do the report to NCA and we are going to do it together. He will also speak to the ex-partner - that is between the two of them as far as I am concerned.

Feeling better now that some action taken - who knows how it will pan out though.

Thanks again.

Thanks (1)
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By bernard michael
10th Oct 2014 09:46

Just think.

If HMRC raise an investigation (s) and find the errors you are outlining they will take action against the clients and probably also your firm. This will attract the attention of the professional body and possible/probably cause disciplinary action to be taken. This could lead the firm losing it's practicing certificate.

No firm No job.Get there first by moving on. No-one will thank you for being a martyr 

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Basset Hound
By Cuchulainn
10th Oct 2014 10:02

Think of your own professional reputation

If the firm is found not to be doing things right you will be regarded as guilty by association even though you had nothing to do with the wrongdoing.

You have to resign to protect your personal reputation, painful as you may find that.

I was once in a similar position to you and I had to do this, even though I loved the job I was in and the people I worked with. Long term, though, my reputation was more important.

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By Manchester_man
10th Oct 2014 21:34

If you are losing sleep and seemingly can't cope then yes, you really do need to toughen up!

Harsh but in your own interests

I wish you well

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