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  • FIRST POST
    • ger5
    • By ger5 22nd Sep 16, 9:19 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    ger5
    HMRC "Agent"
    • #1
    • 22nd Sep 16, 9:19 PM
    HMRC "Agent" 22nd Sep 16 at 9:19 PM
    Help needed.
    HMRC paid a refund to my accountant £16,000 in February 2016. Two weeks later she died. The money was paid into her private account. I am still trying to get refund from next of kin. I have been told that the accountant was in debt and I may have lost my money. I am still going through the process.


    My main concern is with HMRC who notified me of the payment AFTER it was paid. I questioned why they paid this to my accountant and not me, they claimed that I authorised the accountant to be my agent.


    My understanding of "Agent" is someone who acts on my behalf, writing, submitting accounts etc. When it comes to moneys being paid then between myself and the taxman, there can only be two parties involved; me to HMRC and vice versa. An "Agent" is not a banker. Should I fail to pay tax then I am liable, not my accountant.


    I cannot understand why HMRC failed to notify me of the payment prior to payment and give me the option of agreeing or disagreeing with the repayment.


    This money should have been paid into a client account or to myself.


    If HMRC have acted within the law then the law needs to be changed.


    Regards ger5
Page 1
    • Wayne O Mac
    • By Wayne O Mac 22nd Sep 16, 10:10 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 115 Thanks
    Wayne O Mac
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:10 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:10 PM
    Your agent will have filled in the bit of the tax return giving details of the bank account any repayment was to go to. You will presumably have checked this (along with the rest of the return) before signing it.
    It's perfectly common for agents to collect the refund, take their fee, and pass the remainder on to the client.
    HMRC will have no facility to check that the account details entered are a client account rather than a private account. You're correct that your agent should have had the money sent to a client account, but if you didn't check the details before authorising submission of the return then you're at least partially to blame as well.
    I get that you're raging because your money's gone, but there's nothing wrong with the law as it stands.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    • 1,951 Posts
    • 2,059 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    Is the next of kin her executor? If not that is the person you should be perusing. Just because she had debt does not mean her estate is insolvent.

    She ought to have had indemnity insurance in place, so ask the executer to look into that, and let you have the insurance companies details.if she was a partner in a firm of accountants then pursue them.
    • Marktheshark
    • By Marktheshark 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    • 5,077 Posts
    • 6,364 Thanks
    Marktheshark
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:23 PM
    issue a Letter before action to the estate of the deceased followed by a CCJ claim, then make an application for a charge on any property.

    You have until probate to do this.
    Brexit will become whatever they invent it to be.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 22nd Sep 16, 10:42 PM
    • 1,951 Posts
    • 2,059 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    • #5
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:42 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Sep 16, 10:42 PM
    issue a Letter before action to the estate of the deceased followed by a CCJ claim, then make an application for a charge on any property.

    You have until probate to do this.
    Originally posted by Marktheshark
    The OP should certainly put a claim in for this debt, but it is pointless issuing a LBA threatening legal action. At this stage it is not possible to put a charge on any property. If there is property and it covers all the accountants debts after funeral costs have been paid then the OP will get their money back unless the executor acts illegally. They may have to wait some considerable time for it because nothing is likely to be distributed until probate has been obtained, and non liquid assets have been sold.

    If there are not enough assets to pay off the unsecured creditors, which is what the OP is now, then unless he can claim from the accountants insurer he will not get all his money, and no amount of legal action will get it back.
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 23rd Sep 16, 7:48 AM
    • 7,898 Posts
    • 13,677 Thanks
    Pennywise
    • #6
    • 23rd Sep 16, 7:48 AM
    • #6
    • 23rd Sep 16, 7:48 AM
    Hopefully the OP will have used a qualified/regulated accountant in which case they should make contact with their professional body for assistance in reclaiming the money, and they'll have had professional indemnity insurance to claim against too.

    If the OP didn't use a qualified/regulated accountant, then the accountancy professional bodies can't help and it's a matter of pursuing the claim through the courts if necessary.

    HMRC will have done what you've authorised them to do. Merely authorising them as agent doesn't instruct HMRC to make repayments to them. For them to get your repayments, you must have also signed a repayment authority to their bank account, either on the tax return itself or via a separate instruction. HMRC have done nothing wrong here.

    So, back to the OP - was the accountant regulated/qualified, and if so which professional body? (It'll be on their headed paper or website).
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 23rd Sep 16, 11:24 AM
    • 18,446 Posts
    • 10,363 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:24 AM
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:24 AM
    Is the next of kin her executor? If not that is the person you should be perusing.
    Pursuing? Rather than reading him like a book....
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 23rd Sep 16, 11:27 AM
    • 18,446 Posts
    • 10,363 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #8
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:27 AM
    • #8
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:27 AM
    You're correct that your agent should have had the money sent to a client account, but if you didn't check the details before authorising submission of the return then you're at least partially to blame as well.
    How would the OP have known whether or not it was a client account?
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 23rd Sep 16, 1:11 PM
    • 14,980 Posts
    • 10,738 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #9
    • 23rd Sep 16, 1:11 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Sep 16, 1:11 PM
    How would the OP have known whether or not it was a client account?
    Originally posted by xylophone
    Ask the accountant?
    • booksurr
    • By booksurr 23rd Sep 16, 2:34 PM
    • 2,902 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    booksurr
    Pursuing? Rather than reading him like a book....
    Originally posted by xylophone
    who appointed you as grammar and spelling police ? People make typos on here, even heaven forbid, people use words thinking they are right, why don't you go and correct all the posts if this is all you have to contribute
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 23rd Sep 16, 4:28 PM
    • 18,446 Posts
    • 10,363 Thanks
    xylophone
    if this is all you have to contribute
    But is it? I have a few thanks ( and I promise you that they are not from me under another identity or friends and relations......)
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 23rd Sep 16, 4:33 PM
    • 18,446 Posts
    • 10,363 Thanks
    xylophone
    Ask the accountant?
    I had thought of that oddly enough - however, for one thing, I wonder if it would have occurred to the OP to ask, since the assumption would be that a client account was being used.

    For another, what would prevent the agent's prevaricating ( "That is indeed the account I use for Clients' funds......." (thinks) "but it's in my sole name and not designated") or telling an outright lie?

    I can't imagine that the agent's bank would supply any information to the client?
    • ger5
    • By ger5 23rd Sep 16, 5:39 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    ger5
    Problem about online submission, all done without my knowledge.
    Certainly unaware of bank account details.
    No insurance, semi retired worked from home.
    Little if any estate!
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 23rd Sep 16, 6:19 PM
    • 14,980 Posts
    • 10,738 Thanks
    agrinnall
    It can't be done entirely without your knowledge, you must have given the accountant permission to submit on your behalf. Or are you suggesting that the filing was done fraudulently?
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 23rd Sep 16, 6:21 PM
    • 18,446 Posts
    • 10,363 Thanks
    xylophone
    No insurance, semi retired worked from home.
    Little if any estate!
    This is the agent?

    I think that all you can do is approach the executor of the agent's estate, show proof that the agent owed you money, and wait for a reply.
    • Cook_County
    • By Cook_County 24th Sep 16, 7:40 AM
    • 2,798 Posts
    • 2,043 Thanks
    Cook_County
    Problem about online submission, all done without my knowledge.
    Certainly unaware of bank account details.
    No insurance, semi retired worked from home.
    Little if any estate!
    Originally posted by ger5



    So you used someone unqualified to help you with tax...pretty daft with hindsight. I think you should complain to both your MP and get a journalist involved as it is a scandal that this is even legal today. Your experience is a great example of why the law should change.


    Professional bodies insist that their members have Professional Indemnity Insurance (would be quite cheap for someone semi-retired).
    • buglawton
    • By buglawton 24th Sep 16, 8:29 AM
    • 6,392 Posts
    • 2,660 Thanks
    buglawton
    If the HMRC does not check that the bank account used for refunds has been approved by the actual taxpayer then HMRC have left a huge fraud vector open. It would be a simple mechanism for the HMRC to put that check in, if it doesn't exist already.
    Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too. ĖSteve Martin
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 24th Sep 16, 11:06 AM
    • 7,898 Posts
    • 13,677 Thanks
    Pennywise
    If the HMRC does not check that the bank account used for refunds has been approved by the actual taxpayer then HMRC have left a huge fraud vector open. It would be a simple mechanism for the HMRC to put that check in, if it doesn't exist already.
    Originally posted by buglawton
    But the taxpayer has already authorised the "agent" to act on his behalf either by giving him his HMRC login details or appointing him as his agent. We don't know whether the agent was truly an appointed agent registered with HMRC or whether he's just handed over his personal log in details.

    Qualified/regulated accountants have rules to follow in that they must get the client to see and authorise what is being submitted, and risk sanctions and ultimately being struck off if they don't follow procedure. They also must use a client account if they handle client monies.

    It's very strange, especially given the huge sum of money involved, that in this case the OP appointed an amateur "agent" rather than a properly qualified/regulated one who would follow rules, have insurance in place, etc. It's one thing using an amateur for someone with simple affairs where tax figures are small, but £16k is a huge amount. Regardless of the procedure failure, is that figure even right - it could be thousands too much or too little if the agent didn't really know what he was doing.

    It really is about time that there was proper regulation in place. Other professions don't allow unqualified/unregulated amateurs, such as solicitors, financial advisers, yet anyone can call themselves a tax agent or accountant. It's not HMRC's problem, the law needs changing to protect people like the OP.
    • loskie
    • By loskie 24th Sep 16, 12:07 PM
    • 862 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    loskie
    similar case locally just now

    http://www.dng24.co.uk/accountant-in-the-dock/

    all stems from greed and avoidance
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 24th Sep 16, 1:36 PM
    • 1,951 Posts
    • 2,059 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    So you used someone unqualified to help you with tax...pretty daft with hindsight. I think you should complain to both your MP and get a journalist involved as it is a scandal that this is even legal today. Your experience is a great example of why the law should change.
    Originally posted by Cook_County
    What is the point of that? HMRC have done nothing wrong, and the culprit is dead. The only thing OP can do is wait for the estate to be admistered and hope that it is not insolvent.
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