Member Since: 20th Mar 2002
I look after tax issues for people in business, help with employment issues, property taxation and offshore issues such as residence and domicile conundrums. I provide tax consultancy to accountants in practice who cannot be expected to keep up with all the tax changes in addition to the evolving accountancy world where I would certainly defer to them.
31st Jan 2017
What I would do:
1. Submit Tax Return if I have the signed authority.
2. Engage Thomas Higgins to collect debt and if necessary start County Court process, though usually they cough up. Higgins are very cheap for the initial Letter Before Action.
3. Note in future to always agree fixed fees in advance for Tax Returns.
9th Dec 2016
Turns out the blokes got history!
If the client has withheld information from you or has misled you then you simply tell him you cannot work with anyone who is absolutely straight with you, and you can probably quote an appropriate extract from your engagement letter.
A while back, a client told me he had no idea why he had Tax Returns overdue or why his previous accountant had not dealt with them. When I sent the appropriate professional courtesy letter my predecessor telephoned to say he had never been paid for the last accounts and tax returns he had done. I resigned the client immediately for lying to me (and told him so), let alone for the likelihood he would not pay me either.
13th Aug 2013
If your client did not get the penalty notices
then you have a good chance on appeal. I had a recent success where the client had moved and did not receive his late filing penalty notices including the daily penalty notice. As these were all returned undelivered or "gone away" HMRC accepted the client had not seen them and the appeal against all the penalties was accepted.
HMRC can be reasonable, but usually on the first appeal you get a standard response. It pays to persist and the recent cases are very helpful.
9th Jul 2013
You have not uploaded the part (7 onwards to 11) that creates the interest for the old lady so we cannot tell what the nature of her interest is. The codicil seems to be an investment instruction to override the provisions of the Trustees Investment Act 1961 (which is otiose now anyway). Exactly why so many people thought it was a discretionary interest I cannot begin to imagine. Can you upload the missing page(s) of the document?
Shirley said before she uploaded the Will :"So, in summary, it looks as though the Trustees have been requested to maximise the capital, and only provide the widow (my client) with sufficient income to maintain her lifestyle." So without having seen the whole text it sounded as though the client did not have an interest in possession.. As you say, and as I had already pointed out, we are missing a large chunk of the Will. However, I agree the client is probably entitled to all the income less admin expenses, which makes it all the worse if she is not being paid on a regular basis.
8th Jul 2013
Missing a bit
There is a gap between paras 7 and 11 on the copy I downloaded. Still not sure what animal this trust is. The end note about investment policy appears to be a Letter of Wishes rather than part of the Will, so I would think (also as a non-lawyer) that it would not be binding.
8th Jul 2013
So is this a discretionary trust
and perhaps your client does not have an interest in possession? Without seeing more of the Will it is hard to tell. It is surprising she would have forfeited any benefit had she remarried.
It puts a different light on it if the widow is not absolutely entitled to the income, but clearly if she has not been receiving regular payments even on a discretionary basis then the trustees would still be in breach, given they are supposed to maintain her lifestyle.
Can you fill in the gaps, please, Shirley? Is there specific mention of power to accumulate income?
4th Jul 2013
The document I referenced
at para 24 indicates the beneficiary should be able see the trust deed unless there is a really good reason why she should not. However as it is a Will Trust you can get a copy of the Will from the Probate Office.
4th Jul 2013
I agree with Tomazaan that it might be best to pay for photocopying of the accounts to move matters on, although I should have thought that whether they are in Excel, Word or and other software application it would just be a question of clicking on the printer icon or just emailing PDF copies. I find the obstacles these solicitors put up somewhat suspicious.
However, I do not see why a beneficiary or her representative (you) should have to pay for what the Courts feel your client is entitled to, although of course provision of the accounts might be a trust expense. See paragraph 29 of this useful article.
26th Jun 2013
Establishing who are the trustees
The trust is apparently a Will Trust and your client is the life tenant. Obviously you do not have a copy of the Will but it would be worth establishing who were the original trustees. The names on the bounced cheques are not definitive proof. It would be surprising if at least one family member were not a trustee along with the solicitor. A further deed would have been needed to appoint a subsequent trustee later (such as father solicitor to son).
If a family member is a trustee then although she/he might have taken a back seat, that person should get involved to put pressure on the solicitor. Certainly the beneficiary is entitled to an explanation and the accounts as a life tenant.
You can get a copy of the Will and the fee is a mere £6 (go here) , which would be well worth the expense. The more information you have, the better, especially if making a complaint and you do need to.
6th Jun 2013
Silly old me!
As a certified fool as per some comments above, I know, or know of. far more accountants, tax people and other business worthies then I did before the advent of Twitter. I have more access to instant CPD from others sharing the knowledge they have. Also, I get business through Twitter. I am obviously wasting my time. Oh, hang on...