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new advisor asking for 6 years Returns

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I know this has been asked before - and I am checking our professional guidance on this - but I would like to hear the latest views of other people's practice.

A client has moved to another advisor. This is very rare for us. The new firm's courtesy letter asks us to send them the last 6 years' Tax Returns submitted and all related documents. So far as I can see this is excessive.

We plan on sending them the most recent Tax Return submitted with confirmation that all earlier years' Tax Returns will be in the posession of the client, should they need them, because, each year, we sent to the client a digital copy of the Return and documents to be filed, all for their approval before submission.

I don't think we are obliged to dig out all our past records for the previous five years as well unless you know otherwise.

Any thoughts much appreicted.

Many thanks.

Replies

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21st May 2019 11:42

Given what you say, as regards the information provided to the client, each year, I'd say you were being fair and reasonable.

I provide the client with hard copies of the return and supporting summaries, including the SA302 tax calculation.

Sounds to me like the "template" style request letter has moved into overdrive?

In summary, the new adviser may request whatever information they might like to see. What you provide well, is up to you, as I see it.

Thanks (2)
21st May 2019 11:47

Why six ? Two of those will be out of date.

I'd supply them - for a price. That level of detailed information is exceptional.

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By K81
21st May 2019 11:51

only time I have been asked for this many past returns is when the clients are farmers.
Agree with you, if all provided to client for previous years I would provide last return & refer new advisor to client for anything else.

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to K81
28th May 2019 14:10

Same here. I ask for it for anyone open to making averaging elections.

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21st May 2019 11:55

I'd simply provide a copy of the last return and not refer at all to earlier years. The odds are that will be the last that you hear of the request for them

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21st May 2019 12:02

You supply the information that enables them to fulfil their duties to the client.

Their request is silly. Send what you would normally send. Chances are you will hear no more.

If they persist you can tell them they are being silly, but if they insist you will prepare the documents for a suitable fee.

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By taxinfo
21st May 2019 12:29

Thank you everyone. You have all expressed identical thoughts to mine. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated.

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21st May 2019 14:39

I would generally resist the request to pass over 6 years' paperwork, but having said that, I think that if you act as agent for the client in relation to his tax affairs, surely the tax file (and years ago, it really was a file) actually belongs to the client. I can remember passing over the file to the new agent. Now we are generally all paperless, it's not hard to email pdfs, is it?

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to Jo Nokes
21st May 2019 15:51

The clients papers belong to the client but your tax file is your tax file. I have never sent a tax file to a client.

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to Jo Nokes
21st May 2019 16:04

Jo Nokes wrote:

surely the tax file (and years ago, it really was a file) actually belongs to the client. I can remember passing over the file to the new agent.

No, that can't be right.

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to andy.partridge
21st May 2019 16:06

You act for the client as agent when it comes to doing his returns so, strictly, I reckon that's correct.

Even so, I've never passed a tax file over in toto and I'd be surprised if anybody asked for that.

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By taxinfo
to lionofludesch
22nd May 2019 16:36

That's exactly what they have done! They asked us to transfer our file or supply the last 6 years' Tax Returns.

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to taxinfo
22nd May 2019 16:51

Then I'm surprised.

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22nd May 2019 10:43

Very strange we had the same request for a similar client moving - 6 years they wanted as well. Might be the same accountant (located in west midlands) - seems to be offering to half your tax bills apparently by using some sort of 'recharging creditcard system and thus reducing dividends taken by the shareholders'. Think it might be the latest scam. We only provided 1 years and told them if they wanted anything different to speak to the client who holds copies already

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By taxinfo
to Louisemunro320
22nd May 2019 16:41

That's a thought but the new firm is not in the West Midlands and I'm fairly sure they are properly qualified. Furthermore, knowing the (ex)client as we have done for many years, they would not appoint someone offering that kind of "service".

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22nd May 2019 17:09

Did it look similar to this clearance letter template? Looks like ACCA are encouraging people to ask for this many years.

http://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/ACCA_Global/Technical/prac/clearan...

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By taxinfo
to stepurhan
22nd May 2019 17:48

Spot on. That's the exact letter. Now I know but why would the ACCA say this?

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28th May 2019 09:52

For the computer-literate client, I send an"Annual Package" in pdf which I ask them to store safely if required later. For those who are not, I mail a hard copy of the same. As I store all such annual packages both on my PC and a separate HD, it isn't really any effort, but I agree it is excessive.
I never now keep any originals from clients, and either get or take copies.

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28th May 2019 10:28

sounds like they are already trying to screw the client on fees.

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28th May 2019 13:28

I have taken on several farming clients recently. 5-year averaging means I need the last 4 returns so I ask for them and explain in the letter why I'm asking for them. I only need the individual tax returns for the 4 years: everything else (partnership return, accounts etc) I only ask for the most recent year.

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