Engaging Our Services
We are always happy to have an initial discussion about a VAT matter with a prospective client by telephone, email or a face to face meeting. This enables us to identify the key issues and suggest a way forward. However, our professional guidelines mean that we are unable to give advice on which you may rely without carrying out certain formalities.
In order to give advice we must issue an engagement letter to a prospective client. This letter sets out the terms on which we offer our VAT advisory services. It will outline the work we will carry out, the staff who will be involved and the fees which will arise and also outlines the extent of our liability for advice given. Our standard terms of business also form part of this engagement letter and cover points such as retention of records, limits on our liability, confidentiality and data protection.
It is important to read the engagement letter and standard terms carefully before signing a copy and returning it to us.
We are required by anti-money laundering legislation to identify the person we are advising. In some cases this will be clear, for example where we are advising an individual or partnership of a few people. However, it can be more complex when limited companies are involved as may need to identify the beneficial owner of that company and where a complex ownership structure exists this may require us to track ownership through the corporate group to the ultimate owners. We will try to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Identification is carried out by us meeting the individual we are advising or the beneficial owner(s) of a business face-to-face or by obtaining a copy of photo identification (e.g. passport or driving license) and proof of address (e.g. a utility bill less than 3 months old) for any beneficial owners.
Where a face-to-face meeting is not possible, we can accept copies of the ID, but we will need those copies to be certified by a trusted third party, such as a solicitor or doctor. They should write ‘this copy is a true likeness of the original’ on the copy, and sign and date, and include their name, occupation and contact details.
Alternatively the Post Office will certify documents. For more information, follow this link.
Constable VAT charges an hourly rate for services provided. Our billing rates can be viewed here. We do offer discounts to charity clients or on a case-by-case basis where appropriate, for example where the tax risk is very low or we are given a large recurring assignment.
It is our policy to be transparent regarding the fees we charge. Our standard practice is to bill time monthly, having provided a detailed time summary and agreed the fee before raising the invoice. We can agree fixed fees for discrete pieces of advice and if this is done we will stick to our quote assuming no unexpected variations to the scope of our engagement.