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What leverage do I have with accountants if any?

What leverage do I have with accountants if any?

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As you may know I am not an accountant (nobody is perfect) but am involved in helping accountants secure tax savings for their clients with capital allowances claims on commercial property. One of the major hurdles we have to overcome is obtaining historical information on the capital allowances history on property. This can involve trying to contact past owners and if possible their accountants to see whether a claim for "fixtures" was ever made either by them or the vendor they (or their client) bought it from.

We do find that the previous owners accountants are reluctant to talk to us and I do understand why that may be the case as unfortunately our work does sometimes highlight they have missed an opportunity for their client. However is there any legal requirement for an accountant to disclose information on the previous capital allowances claims history of the property especially if their client has not owned the property for many years and may indeed no longer be a client.

I suspect the answer is no there is no legal requirement but just wondered whether I was missing something. 

  

Replies (54)

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By johngroganjga
12th Dec 2013 12:24

It's for the principal (i.e. the former owner of the property) to decide whether they want to instruct their accountants to provide copies of past capital allowance claims etc.  If they do, it's not open to the accountants to refuse to comply with those instructions.

Of course accountants can't provide what is no longer in their possession no matter how earnestly their clients ask them to.  This will be an issue with old records which have gone past the accountants' retention periods.

If the previous owners need to request information from accountants they have sacked you can expect those accountants to want to charge for delving into their old files etc. but they are still in principle required to provide anything that their former clients reasonably require and ask them for.

I hope this helps.

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By DMGbus
12th Dec 2013 13:50

Extra work created

It should be appreciated that third parties trying to help clients (whether it be CAs claims on buildings, Utilities cost management, Telecoms cost management, Employee pension schemes, etc.) really can create extra work for the existing accountant.

The issue is then who pays for this extra work - the client or the third party, or does the third party think that the existing accountant is a charitable organisation undertaking unforseen extra work at a reimbursement to help the third party make money?

PS. Before the "everything takes only 5 minutes" brigade chip in, I can say as a certain fact several hours extra work can involved with some of these matters for the existing accountant.

 

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Replying to mrme89:
By plummy1
14th Dec 2013 19:38

I take your point
That is a very good point. If asked we would be prepared to contribute to the costs. I guess as there is nothing in it for the previous owner there is little motivation on their part to help. Thanks for the fresh perspective.

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Replying to Cristina Lind:
By petersaxton
15th Dec 2013 04:38

Contribute?

plummy1 wrote:
That is a very good point. If asked we would be prepared to contribute to the costs. I guess as there is nothing in it for the previous owner there is little motivation on their part to help. Thanks for the fresh perspective.

Not pay all the costs?

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Replying to mrme89:
By plummy1
17th Dec 2013 23:30

Is there not a grey area

I understand what you are saying but as undertaking a capital allowances claim is taking advantage of tax legislation is there not an argument to say that this sits more closely with the work of the accountant? Do you gladly take on a client who owns commercial property but then not advise them to investigate whether a respective claim is possible because it would involve you undertaking some work? Is there some aspect of customer service that I don't understand here?  

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Replying to pauljohnston:
By petersaxton
17th Dec 2013 23:38

Who?

plummy1 wrote:

I understand what you are saying but as undertaking a capital allowances claim is taking advantage of tax legislation is there not an argument to say that this sits more closely with the work of the accountant? Do you gladly take on a client who owns commercial property but then not advise them to investigate whether a respective claim is possible because it would involve you undertaking some work? Is there some aspect of customer service that I don't understand here?  

Who has suggested that?

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Replying to Accountant A:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 00:03

Calrification

I was replying to an earlier comment by DMGbus. (I must remember to include the original quote) They were making the point that they get a lot of requests from individuals wanting information from accountants looking to save their clients money and that there is obviously a cost to the accountant associated with providing the information. I was trying to make a point that the accountant is better placed to understand the tax legislation than the client in the case of capital allowances claims.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
12th Dec 2013 17:35

What's in it for them?

Whether it takes five minutes or five hours, what is in it for the accountant?

If it is the current accountant then you can only make them look bad if you find a missed claim. If the accountant of a previous owner, you'll not only make them look bad, providing the information won't even help their client. Not really surprising that they are reluctant to talk to you when there is only a down-side for them in doing so.

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
By plummy1
14th Dec 2013 19:46

Thanks for your reply. This is why we prefer to work directly with accountants who then choose which clients will be suitable for our services. Our intention is never to make accountants look bad in the eyes of their clients although I have to accept that our services are not always welcomed with open arms by our clients accountant.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
15th Dec 2013 10:48

Agreed with peter

If you can't get this information, you cannot do your work at all. Why should accountants have to shoulder any costs at all to generate income for you? If you were in manufacturing, and someone made a vital component for your product, you wouldn't expect to just contribute to the costs of that component would you?

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
15th Dec 2013 13:16

Did the accountant ever have the sort of information you require
The accountant or auditor would have had even less information on their files than their client ever had, as they just needed to gather whatever information was necessary to prepare / audit the accounts at the time. They probably never kept copies of many of the purchase invoices, as they never needed to.

The problem when you have a large building project is that some of the costs can be ambiguous to the external accountant. The accountant or auditor (unless they were claiming the capital allowances at the time) never needed to know how much of those costs related to lift installation, lighting, fire control systems, etc. They just needed to be satisfied that they were genuine building costs for that property.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
16th Dec 2013 07:59

Confidentiality

Here's another thought. You say accountants of previous owners are reluctant to talk to you. Those accountants are not allowed to reveal details of their client's private affairs without their permission. Taking ownership of an asset is not the same as taking over a client. So they really shouldn't release that information, even if they have it. I suppose you could approach the previous owners to give permission but, again, why should they? Not doing anything for them is it.

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By Ken Howard
16th Dec 2013 08:42

The client is responsible - simples!

This is the kind of thing which really annoys me.  Far too many clients take no responsibility for themselves and their business.

They glibly throw their paperwork in the damp loft or garden shed, let the cat wee in the box, use the paperwork to light bonfires, move house and forget to take it with them.  Same with computerised records - can't be bothered with backups.  I've heard it all!  

Always the same, they rely on others to get them out of the mess they've created for themselves!  Usually it's the solicitor or accountant in the firing line for not keeping copies of their paperwork which they should have looked after themselves!

I only ever take copies of paperwork when I think I may need to refer back to it, and then I'll destroy it as part of the usual weeding process when I can't foresee that I'll need to see it again.  My files are for my use.  If the client or any third party wishes to see a document at a later time, then it's the client's responsibility to locate it.  End of.

I'm not going to waste time scanning or photopying loads of documents "just in case" someone else may want to see and the client may have destroyed it.

People running businesses are adults.  They know they need to keep paperwork.  It's about time they stopped acting like spoilt children expecting their mummies to get them out of trouble!

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Replying to Urszula82:
By plummy1
17th Dec 2013 23:20

Point well made

I agree with you. How dare a client or a third party request information just because you may have not taken advantage of legislation which could of given them a substantial tax rebate. Not only should they keep good records but they should be the ones who keep up to date with every piece of tax legislation that affects them. How dare they expect their accountant to do this for them. Next they'll be expecting a completely professional service for the money they pay and then where will we be. No wonder your sick of it and you have had a lot of people agreeing with you.     

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Replying to L Haldane:
Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
17th Dec 2013 23:34

The problem is ...

plummy1 wrote:

I agree with you. How dare a client or a third party request information just because you may have not taken advantage of legislation which could of given them a substantial tax rebate. Not only should they keep good records but they should be the ones who keep up to date with every piece of tax legislation that affects them. How dare they expect their accountant to do this for them. Next they'll be expecting a completely professional service for the money they pay and then where will we be. No wonder your sick of it and you have had a lot of people agreeing with you.     

The problem is that your business model requires that other people provide you with information that will take time to research, possibly can't find, may never have had and probably can't release due to reasons of confidentiality.

You'd do well not to try and alienate those people. They certainly don't owe you a living.

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Replying to pauljohnston:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 00:17

Hmm.....good point.

Locutus wrote:
plummy1 wrote:

I agree with you. How dare a client or a third party request information just because you may have not taken advantage of legislation which could of given them a substantial tax rebate. Not only should they keep good records but they should be the ones who keep up to date with every piece of tax legislation that affects them. How dare they expect their accountant to do this for them. Next they'll be expecting a completely professional service for the money they pay and then where will we be. No wonder your sick of it and you have had a lot of people agreeing with you.     

The problem is that your business model requires that other people provide you with information that will take time to research, possibly can't find, may never have had and probably can't release due to reasons of confidentiality. You'd do well not to try and alienate those people. They certainly don't owe you a living.

 

I appreciate that point. My only defence is that I am motivated by wanting to do the best job possible for the client that has engaged us. I am actually beginning to appreciate from these exchanges that I do have a bit of a one sided view of the issue. I think it is time to retreat and re-evaluate.   

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By plummy1
16th Dec 2013 12:26

I accept some of your comments but I am concerned because

Firstly thank you all for responding. Yes I agree we should be able to obtain information from the previous owners and that their accountant is under no obligation to provide any information and shouldn't do without the permission of the previous owner. Yes I am sure we would pay all the accountants costs for retrieving information as we have done with solicitors costs in the past.

However most of our work is concerned with claiming the "fixtures" which were present within the property when it was purchased not only by our client but were also invariably there to some extent when purchased by the previous owner(s). The capital allowances rules say we have to trace a properties history back to July 1996 to ensure we are not duplicating any prior claim on those fixtures (and by fixtures I mean as defined in the capital allowances act not what you commonly see listed in the property's purchase contract which are normally termed incorrectly and are more often than not "loose chattels")

What is starting to concern me also is that in April 2014 the capital allowances status of a property should be investigated if the property is to sold. At this point the seller may then become aware that he has potentially lost out on a significant tax saving because he was entitled to make a sizeable capital allowances claim on the property but this had not been investigated during his ownership. In these circumstances will their accountant be in the firing line for failing to investigate the issue? We know solicitors have had to settle out of court for not advising their clients properly at the time of purchase I wonder how long it will be before the first accountant is taken to court post April 2014? Maybe if this happens accountants will be more likely to investigate making a claim for their client......then again probably not....       

 

 

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
16th Dec 2013 12:45

Valid point, but not the question you asked

Accountants do need to be aware of these rules and look at making claims if possible. Dependent on how long their client has owned the building, they may find themseles hitting the same obstacles as yourselves. If they are unable to determine whether a claim can be made, I suspect that it will not be possible to sue them for not making such a claim.

But the question you asked was whether there were legal means to force information out of accountants that were reluctant to provide it. That is a different kettle of fish altogether, and solely related to your ability to do your work and get paid for it. Over the course of responses you have moved from wanting to get it for free to acknowledging you need to pay for any work required in full. Perhaps now you will find accountants more willing to work with you and get proper claims made.

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Replying to bensmithsift:
By plummy1
16th Dec 2013 22:41

In response

I assure you accountants do want work with us when they are representing their client but for the reasons given by others are less inclined when their client no longer owns the property and in many cases is no longer their client. I therefore understand their reluctance or inability to help in these circumstances. I never said I was unwilling to pay for their assistance but to be honest this has never been the issue or not one that has been expressed by the accountant. Solicitors seem much more forward in this regard. Your right I did change the subject though which is probably an indication of my general frustration.

It still seems criminal to me that there are re-occuring debates on Accountingweb with regard to the morality of "tax avoidance" v "tax evasion" when the laws that are designed to help commercial property owners save on their tax bills are so misunderstood by accountants and solicitors that they are in many case effectively ignored. I've changed the subject again! I think I need to get off my moral high ground / hobby horse before I get shot down.

 

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Replying to Tim Vane:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
17th Dec 2013 10:11

Precision of language

plummy1 wrote:
I never said I was unwilling to pay for their assistance

Not in so many words, but you did say

plummy1 wrote:
If asked we would be prepared to contribute to the costs.
which implies that your default position was not paying for assistance unless the accountant specifically asked you to. I would also reiterate that here you used the word "contribute" further implying that, even if asked, you would seek not to pay the whole cost. Add to that the question being called "What leverage do I have with accountants if any?" and asking if there is a legal requirement for disclosure, and it is not unreasonable to think you were hoping you can force the information out of accountants for nothing. If that was not the impression you wanted to give, you should have considered your wording more carefully from the outset.

Quote:
It still seems criminal to me that there are re-occuring debates on Accountingweb with regard to the morality of "tax avoidance" v "tax evasion" when the laws that are designed to help commercial property owners save on their tax bills are so misunderstood by accountants and solicitors that they are in many case effectively ignored.
Criminal seems a very strong word in this context, and what evidence do you have that these are being ignored? If solely based on lack of questions on here, there could be quite a few reasons. Many businesses rent premises, and are thus not commercially property owners. Of those who are commercial property owners, perhaps the claims are understood and have been made without reference to you. Maybe accountants have hit the same issue you have of not being able to obtain the historical information and so, whilst understanding the rules, are still unable to make a claim with certainty. By definition, anyone coming to you knows of the rules and is not ignoring them. Do you have anything independent to back up this assertion?
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Replying to charliecarne:
By plummy1
17th Dec 2013 10:10

Evidence

Dear Stepurhan,

How long have you got?

OK I'll accept I could have worded my responses more carefully on the issue of paying for assistance but I stand by the word "criminal" with regards to the extent to which opportunities are missed as that is what I still believe it to be. I say that while also accepting there are companies working in our market who do our industry no favours in persuading people to undertake a claim when it is patently obvious that their tax position is such that a claim is wholly inappropriate. However I believe these companies are now being found out. 

It depends what you mean by the word "independent evidence" but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence e.g

a) do we speak with accountants on a weekly basis who are unaware of how to determine whether a capital allowances claim is possible? Yes.

b) do we speak to commercial property owners on a weekly basis who have never been informed there is even the possibility of making a claim? Yes.

c) do we speak to accountants on a regular basis who don't realise that "fixtures" were claimable before the integral rules came in? Regularly

d) how regularly do we talk to accountants who still think there is a potential CGT implication in making a capital allowances claim. Regularly

True we have never undertaken a formal survey and I am not saying that all accountants have the same level of knowledge on the subject but I believe there is enough evidence to suggest that there are significant numbers who are not aware of the opportunities for their clients.

Anyway I'll leave it there because I have turned this into something other than what I initially intended. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Dec 2013 13:39

.

The main trouble I see with this sort of work is that most of the time such claims are either not valid, cant be proven or have already been done so accountants are less inclined to devote much effort when chances are there is no "pot of gold". 

There is a long history of tax of small consultancies coming along, making fairly iffy claims under the SA system of tax, getting it paid out counting their loot, and *poof* into the night to leave the regular accountant picking up the pieces when HMRC wake up to what is going on. 

Therefore no matter who good and proper your claims are there is a lot that has gone before you who are anything but. 

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By Alexdon
16th Dec 2013 14:47

What leverage do I have with accountants if any?

None!

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Replying to andy.partridge:
By plummy1
17th Dec 2013 23:31

Your brevity does you credit

See above.

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By Ken Howard
16th Dec 2013 15:59

Why alienate?

I think that by talking about legal obligations, you could well find yourself alienating the very people you want/need to help you.

Turn it around.  Why would/should an accountant help you?  What's in it for them?  Then make a more friendly approach, telling the accountant from the outset how they'll be paid for their time, and what other reasons it'd be good for them to help.

I'd suspect that many accountants will have the information on their files, maybe in dark, dusty, musty lofts or cellars, but will hide behind the "time elapsed" excuse not to bother looking if there's nothing in it for them.

You have to remember that it's not a matter of opening a file, seeing the details, and faxing them off to you in a couple of minutes.  It could take literally hours.  It could take an hour to two to even find the old files and then another hour or two to work through them to find what information you need.  Some firms, like us, send our old files off to offsite storage, so there's a very real cost to ask to get them back again.

I remember it well from when I used to work in other long established practices.  The number of times I spent whole mornings or afternoons in the archive stores looking for stuff and coming out for air covered in dust!  

For information less than 6/7 years old, you're probably ok as the accountant may well have files close to hand, but for anything older and for clients they no longer act for, then almost certainly the files will have been thinned/archived and the accountant will need a sweetener to go looking.  Of course, it's a lot easier for them to say that the information has been destroyed, whether or not it really has!

Also don't forget that firms close down and get taken over and often their old files are left languishing in basements or even destroyed before the usual 6/7 year limit.  When I was looking for an office to rent, I was amazed that one building's cellar still housed thousands of files from when it used to be a solicitor's office.  Another one housed hundreds of files from when it used to be an estate agents.  These files were going back decades and they were just left to rot despite number changes of occupiers as it was simply too costly to get rid of them! 

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By Vaughan Blake1
16th Dec 2013 16:16

Is this a question or a diguised advert?

Why not ask the current owner's solicitor?  This may, and indeed in recent cases should, have been considered at the time of purchase.

I would have thought that if claiming CAs was your bread & butter you would already know the score re getting this info.

Why are the 2014 rules only now "starting" to concern you?

 

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Replying to paulgrca.net:
By plummy1
16th Dec 2013 22:49

Thanks Again

Vaughan Blake1 wrote:

Why not ask the current owner's solicitor?  This may, and indeed in recent cases should, have been considered at the time of purchase.

I would have thought that if claiming CAs was your bread & butter you would already know the score re getting this info.

Why are the 2014 rules only now "starting" to concern you?

 

 

Its not the rules that are concerning me as such but the lack of understanding amongst many professionals.

As you will probably be aware solictors regular side-step the issue by saying they are not tax qualified and advising the client to talk to their accountant post completion. This is not going to hold much water in the future if it ever did.   

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By petersaxton
17th Dec 2013 23:24

I would reconsider

your approach to accountants.

You seem to have a chip on your shoulder and I can understand why people may dislike you demanding they do what you want.

I have got a particular issue regarding potential capital allowances with a client and I have identified a firm that may be less likely to have issues with previous accountants.

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Replying to Glennzy:
By plummy1
17th Dec 2013 23:47

Thank you

Peter,

I take your point and I am to a certain extent being deliberately combative. I assure you I am normally much more well balanced by having a chip on both shoulders. That is a joke.

I assure you I do not get aggressive in demanding information from  previous accountants as from a commercial (and personal) point of view this would be counter productive I just wanted to establish whether there was a legal basis for making such a request.     

 

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By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 00:08

The problem is

you are looking for clients here.

I am not looking for clients so I can be as obnoxious as I want - within reason.

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Replying to Glennzy:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 00:21

Not true

petersaxton wrote:

you are looking for clients here.

I am not looking for clients so I can be as obnoxious as I want - within reason.

 

If I were looking for clients here I am doing a spectacularly bad job. 

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By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 07:14

I would have thought it's a good place to look for clients

but it's also a good place to research how to help you to do the work.

I would have thought that it would be better to try to set channels in place so you have a better chance to get the information at the time of purchase rather than years later.

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Replying to ads1188:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 10:40

Good suggestion

petersaxton wrote:

but it's also a good place to research how to help you to do the work.

I would have thought that it would be better to try to set channels in place so you have a better chance to get the information at the time of purchase rather than years later.

 

Hi Peter,

There is actually an existing system for recording the information when the property changes hand. The buyers solicitor is required to obtain the capital allowances history from the the other side by means of the CPSE1 form which could then lead on to the completion of a CAA2001 - S198 /S199 tax election for sharing out any previously claimed capital allowances. This system has existed since the 1990s but at the risk of alienating solicitors (as well as accountants) if we get copies of these forms they invariably say either not known or not applicable. I know we are not unique in facing these issues by the way having spoken to many others in our market. It could be that solicitors are either trying to side step any liability and/or do not understand why the collection of the information is important. What it does mean is that in 90% of cases the chain of information which should exist is just not available. This is why the changes in April 2014 could cause some disruption amongst both accountants and solicitors. Thanks for your thoughts.   

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
18th Dec 2013 10:29

Offering training

That could actually be a worthwhile second string to your business. Offering training to accountants in these rules so they will be equipped to spot opportunities, and gather the necessary information at the start. If the rules are as misunderstood as you say, and I'm sure you are speaking from true experience, then you could set about changing that, and make money doing so. Equipping accountants to make claims in the future has to be easier than delving for information that might not even be available from the past.

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Replying to bettybobbymeggie:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 10:26

Already with you on that one.

stepurhan wrote:

That could actually be a worthwhile second string to your business. Offering training to accountants in these rules so they will be equipped to spot opportunities, and gather the necessary information at the start. If the rules are as misunderstood as you say, and I'm sure you are speaknig from true experience, then you could set about changing that, and make money doing so. Equipping accountants to make claims in the future has to be easier than delving for information that might not even be available from the past.

Stepurham,

Thanks. We actually do this already. Maybe I need to consider how we could provide the information more widely and by that I'm thinking Webinars rather than face to face meetings. Thanks for your many comments. Plenty of food for thought for me.

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By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 10:52

Legislation

I know it's really up to the client or their representatives, but is it worthwhile trying to get some legislation to require completion of forms and submission to local authorities for these kinds of purchases?

Couldn't you check land registry entries and try to sell your services when you see relevant transactions?

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 11:57

The legislation is there but...............

petersaxton wrote:

I know it's really up to the client or their representatives, but is it worthwhile trying to get some legislation to require completion of forms and submission to local authorities for these kinds of purchases?

Couldn't you check land registry entries and try to sell your services when you see relevant transactions?

Peter,

Our approach has been to give CPD training to commercial conveyancing solicitors over the past six months. Once they realise the potential for disgruntled clients taking legal action then it does focus their minds. Re completion of forms see my comments re CPSE1 forms and S198/ S199 Election Agreements which should all be completed as appropriate.

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 12:42

The legislation is there but...............

petersaxton wrote:

I know it's really up to the client or their representatives, but is it worthwhile trying to get some legislation to require completion of forms and submission to local authorities for these kinds of purchases?

Couldn't you check land registry entries and try to sell your services when you see relevant transactions?

Peter,

Our approach has been to give CPD training to commercial conveyancing solicitors over the past six months. Once they realise the potential for disgruntled clients taking legal action then it does focus their minds. Re completion of forms see my comments re CPSE1 forms and S198/ S199 Election Agreements which should all be completed as appropriate.

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By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 12:48

Legislation and monitoring

Maybe it would be better if local authorities or Land Registry had a role in ensuring accurate completion of forms.

I still think you would have more success if you monitored sales per Land Registry and tried to market via that information.

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Replying to CazzyT:
By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 21:57

Property owner not believing the explanation

plummy1 wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Maybe it would be better if local authorities or Land Registry had a role in ensuring accurate completion of forms.

I still think you would have more success if you monitored sales per Land Registry and tried to market via that information.

We do this to a limited extent and you do have to pay for the information from the Land Registry. It allows you to market the service to the property owner (provided of course they are not a pension fund) but even then the response rate seems to be quite low. I suspect (and I hate to say it) that many speak to their accountants who dismiss the idea and this is accepted by the property owner. Who would they believe a complete stranger talking about a service they have never heard of before or their accountant who they may have been using for years?  Again if the property is purchased after April 2014 and registered at the land registry the opportunity to investigate any possibility of a claim could well be lost.

If I was a property owner I would believe whatever made more sense. You give the impression that property owners are gullible. I would think it would be more to do with how you provide the explanation. I know a property owner who discussed with me the the issue and I encouraged them to contact a couple of capital allowance firms and in the end they decided not to go ahead with the service.

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Replying to johngroganjga:
By plummy1
19th Dec 2013 16:48

On the contrary

petersaxton wrote:

 

If I was a property owner I would believe whatever made more sense. You give the impression that property owners are gullible. I would think it would be more to do with how you provide the explanation. I know a property owner who discussed with me the the issue and I encouraged them to contact a couple of capital allowance firms and in the end they decided not to go ahead with the service.

[/quote]

 

Peter, 

I don't think that property owners are in the least bit gullible. However they are generally very busy people and rely on their existing professional providers to give them advice especially when it concerns their tax affairs. As I explained previously this is why we market more to accountants now rather than the property owners directly 

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By Ned Ludd
18th Dec 2013 13:17

in my experience

I've had experience in dealing with a couple of these specialist capital allowances firms in the past year or so (not for existing clients but reference to cases where the new owner has appointed someone  look at retrospective capital allowances claims).

 

The2 firms I dealt with fully understood  that the information they were after may be vague but both were really friendly and professional.

 

I had no problem in assisting them whatsoever as the majority of the info the were after was par t of our basic working papers anyway; obviously if they had needed more time consuming work or research we would have had to bring up the issue of costs, but in the first instance I saw no need to be deliberately  obstructive or evasive.

 

I honestly do not know how many accountants seriously give thought to or are aware of the availability of the claims on fixtures within the fabric of a building but I had the fortune of working for a firm years ago where the dealt with a lot of public houses and claims such as this were commonplace.  We never used specialist firms as the majority of the claims will always be open to interpretation and in fact I dealt with a number of enquiries into large capital allowances claims and would certainly feel experienced enough in this area to make my own claims and defend them if necessary in the future.

 

I may be wrong but I'd expect that the accountants that don't liaise with these specialist firms are the one's that haven't made the clams or are unaware of their availability; either that or they have some perverse wish to see more money handed over to HMRC than is necessary. 

 

 

 

 

 

      

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Replying to Ammie:
By plummy1
18th Dec 2013 21:05

Very honest.

Ned Ludd wrote:

I may be wrong but I'd expect that the accountants that don't liaise with these specialist firms are the one's that haven't made the clams or are unaware of their availability; either that or they have some perverse wish to see more money handed over to HMRC than is necessary.       

 

Thanks Ned. Refreshing to hear that statement from an accountant. 

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Replying to Accountant A:
By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 21:52

Refreshing?

plummy1 wrote:

Ned Ludd wrote:

I may be wrong but I'd expect that the accountants that don't liaise with these specialist firms are the one's that haven't made the clams or are unaware of their availability; either that or they have some perverse wish to see more money handed over to HMRC than is necessary.       

Thanks Ned. Refreshing to hear that statement from an accountant. 

Maybe to you but I don't know of any accountant who wants to see more money handed over to HMRC than is necessary.

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Replying to bfj:
By plummy1
19th Dec 2013 10:09

You would think that but

petersaxton wrote:

Maybe to you but I don't know of any accountant who wants to see more money handed over to HMRC than is necessary.

 

You say that Peter but if an accountant has had a client with a property for many years and then suddenly realises that there was scope for a capital allowances claim then there is the embarrassment factor. Not all accounts think alike in our experience.

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By Ned Ludd
18th Dec 2013 21:59

Peter
What I was trying to put across (rather badly) is where a specialist phones up for information to assist in their claim for someone that's not our client I still don't mind spending a few minutes unpaid to ensure, hopefully, that the individual in question might get a tax break. Not really sure how many other accountants would just think "sod it they're not my client"

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By petersaxton
18th Dec 2013 22:11

Don't know then

I've had people phone up me and rather than try to get money out of them I've explained what they should do if it would only take a few minutes of my time.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
18th Dec 2013 23:00

A few minutes is one thing, but digging through archived files for hours is quite another.

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By Vaughan Blake1
19th Dec 2013 09:56

Ned, surely human nature

and if that client is an ex client it would also play a huge part in levels of cooperation! 

I am willing to bet that if you have just off-loaded the rude client from hell, written off loads of time/fees, done the usual handover (for free) you wouldn't be cheerily spending extra time for free so that the poor love gets his tax break.

On the other hand, if the enquiry came from that nice chap who always paid his fees on time, but had to move accountants simply for geographical reasons.....

If it is an existing client that has sold the building then again whether it is an 'A' client or a 'D' client will play a part.

 

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By petersaxton
19th Dec 2013 17:25

I understand they are busy

but if two people said contradictory statements to me it wouldn't matter how much I respected and trusted one of them if what they said didn't make sense I would still want to investigate further and I can assure you I am busy, too.

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