Accountants are relied upon by businesses, sole traders and private individuals to make sure their tax is dealt with efficiently – and within UK tax laws.
Minimising tax liability is often part and parcel of an accountant’s job – and when an accountant offers that wrong tax advice or makes accountancy errors, the consequences for a business or individual can be serious.
An accountant has a legal duty to advise a client of their tax liabilities and keep them up-to-date with current tax law which might be relevant to their position – as well as making sure any expenses claimed or offset for tax purposes are reasonable and permissable.
Tax avoidance is not a criminal offence – but tax evasion is, especially is money is channelled in a way which constitutes money laundering or tax fraud.
Accountants must be aware of the boundaries between minimising a client’s tax liability and giving wrong tax advice which might constitute tax evasion.
Suing an accountant for wrong tax advice or accountancy errors can be a complex business – but some tax offences may lead to criminal charges being brought, so negligent advice from an accountant can have potentially very serious consequences.
It is also vital that accountants submit tax returns and other paperwork in a timely manner to HMRC – failure to do so can result in penalties for a client.
However, delays by accountants may not always be grounds for suing an accountant – or an accountant providing a negligent service – if no financial loss has occurred.
In cases where an accountant has been negligent, gave wrong tax advice or made accountancy errors, Duncan Lewis professional negligence solicitors can advise on making a claim for compensation if financial loss has occurred as a result of an accountant’s negligence.
Clients who suffer financial loss or other loss as a result of an accountant who is negligent should first make a complaint through the accountancy firm’s own complaints handling procedure (CHP).
The Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) also offer a limited complaints procedure in cases of negligent accountancy.
Clients considering suing an accountant for professional negligence have six years from the date of the event constituting negligence – or three years from the date they first realised negligence had occurred – in which to make a claim.
Because of the complexity of suing an accountant – and proving that they failed in their duty of care towards a client or acted negligently in carrying out their duties – Duncan Lewis professional negligence solicitors advise clients whose accountant has let them down to get in touch as soon as an issue occurs for an assessment of their case.
Duncan Lewis professional negligence solicitors are a leading firm of claims solicitors – and can instruct leading accountants as expert witnesses in a case of accountant’s negligence, if required.
Duncan Lewis offers Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) funding to clients making professional negligence claims, with a fixed fee for the initial client meeting and assessment of the claim, so our clients know in advance what they will be paying.
If you are a business, sole trader or private individual whose accountant has given wrong advice or made accounting errors leading to financial loss, call Duncan Lewis Professional Negligence Solicitors for more information about making a compensation claim for accountant’s negligence on 020 7923 4020.