Stratford Tax Studio

Tax focused accountancy

Privacy Policy and Standard Terms and Conditions

This policy explains how we, Stratford Tax Studio Limited, use your personal data which you provide to us including when you use our website, www.stratfordtaxstudio.co.uk.  We take our responsibilities for managing your personal data seriously.  We also provide out standard terms and conditions which should be read alongside the privacy notice.

 

Introduction

The Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA 2018”) and the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) impose certain legal obligations in connection with the processing of personal data.

Stratford Tax Studio Limited is a data controller within the meaning of the GDPR and we process personal data. The firm’s contact details are as follows: Jayne Byrne, Stratford Tax Studio Limited, 57a Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6PT.

We may amend this privacy notice from time to time. If we do so, we will supply you with and/or otherwise make available to you a copy of the amended privacy notice.

Where we act as a data processor on behalf of a data controller (for example, when processing payroll), we provide an additional schedule setting out required information as part of that agreement. That additional schedule should be read in conjunction with this privacy notice.

The purposes for which we intend to process personal data

We intend to process personal data for the following purposes:

  • To enable us to supply professional services to you as our client.
  • To fulfil our obligations under relevant laws in force from time to time (e.g. the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (“MLR 2017”)).
  • To comply with professional obligations to which we are subject as a member of Chartered Institute of Taxation.
  • To use in the investigation and/or defence of potential complaints, disciplinary proceedings and legal proceedings.
  • To enable us to invoice you for our services and investigate/address any attendant fee disputes that may have arisen.

The legal bases for our intended processing of personal data

Our intended processing of personal data has the following legal bases

  • At the time you instructed us to act, you gave consent to our processing your personal data for the purposes listed above
  • The processing is necessary for the performance of our contract with you.
  • The processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligations to which we are subject (e.g. MLR 2017).

It is a requirement of our contract with you that you provide us with the personal data that we request. If you do not provide the information that we request, we may not be able to provide professional services to you. If this is the case, we will not be able to commence acting or will need to cease to act.

Persons/organisations to whom we may give personal data

We may share your personal data with:

  • HMRC
  • any third parties with whom you require or permit us to correspond
  • subcontractors
  • an alternate appointed by us in the event of incapacity or death
  • tax insurance providers
  • professional indemnity insurers
  • our professional body [Chartered Institute of Taxation] and/or the Office of Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervisors (OPBAS) in relation to practice assurance and/or the requirements of MLR 2017 (or any similar legislation)

If the law allows or requires us to do so, we may share your personal data with:

  • the police and law enforcement agencies
  • courts and tribunals
  • the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”)

We may need to share your personal data with the third parties identified above in order to comply with our legal obligations, including our legal obligations to you.  If you ask us not to share your personal data with such third parties we may need to cease to act.

Transfers of personal data outside the EEA

Your personal data will be processed in the EEA only

Retention of personal data

When acting as a data controller and in accordance with recognised good practice within the tax and accountancy sector we will retain all of our records relating to you as follows:

  • where tax returns have been prepared it is our policy to retain information for 7 years from the end of the tax year to which the information relates.

 

  • where ad hoc advisory work has been undertaken it is our policy to retain information for 7 years from the date the business relationship ceased.

 

  • where we have an ongoing client relationship, data which is needed for more than one year’s tax compliance (e.g. capital gains base costs and claims and elections submitted to HMRC) is retained throughout the period of the relationship, but will be deleted 7 years after the end of the business relationship unless you as our client ask us to retain it for a longer period.

Our contractual terms provide for the destruction of documents after 7 years and therefore agreement to the contractual terms is taken as agreement to the retention of records for this period, and to their destruction thereafter.

You are responsible for retaining information that we send to you (including details of capital gains base costs and claims and elections submitted) and this will be supplied in the form agreed between us. Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained by you as follows:

Individuals, trustees and partnerships

  • with trading or rental income: five years and 10 months after the end of the tax year;
  • otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year.

 

Companies, LLPs and other corporate entities

  • six years from the end of the accounting period.

 

Where we act as a data processor as defined in DPA 2018, we will delete or return all personal data to the data controller as agreed with the controller at the termination of the contract.

Requesting personal data we hold about you (subject access requests)

You have a right to request access to your personal data that we hold. Such requests are known as ‘subject access requests’ (“SARs”).

Please provide all SARs in writing marked for the attention of Jayne Byrne.

To help us provide the information you want and deal with your request more quickly, you should include enough details to enable us to verify your identity and locate the relevant information. For example, you should tell us:

  • your date of birth
  • previous or other name(s) you have used
  • your previous addresses in the past five years
  • personal reference number(s) that we may have given you, for example your national insurance number, your tax reference number or your VAT registration number
  • what type of information you want to know

If you do not have a national insurance number, you must send a copy of:

  • the back page of your passport or a copy of your driving licence; and
  • a recent utility bill.

DPA 2018 requires that we comply with a SAR promptly and in any event within one month of receipt. There are, however, some circumstances in which the law allows us to refuse to provide access to personal data in response to a SAR (e.g. if you have previously made a similar request and there has been little or no change to the data since we complied with the original request).

We will not charge you for dealing with a SAR.

You can ask someone else to request information on your behalf – for example, a friend, relative or solicitor. We must have your authority to respond to a SAR made on your behalf. You can provide such authority by signing a letter which states that you authorise the person concerned to write to us for information about you, and/or receive our reply.

Where you are a data controller and we act for you as a data processor (e.g. by processing payroll), we will assist you with SARs on the same basis as is set out above.

Putting things right (the right to rectification)

You have a right to obtain the rectification of any inaccurate personal data concerning you that we hold. You also have a right to have any incomplete personal data that we hold about you completed. Should you become aware that any personal data that we hold about you is inaccurate and/or incomplete, please inform us immediately so we can correct and/or complete it.

Deleting your records (the right to erasure)

In certain circumstances you have a right to have the personal data that we hold about you erased. Further information is available on the ICO website (www.ico.org.uk).  If you would like your personal data to be erased, please inform us immediately and we will consider your request.  In certain circumstances we have the right to refuse to comply with a request for erasure. If applicable, we will supply you with the reasons for refusing your request.

 

The right to restrict processing and the right to object

In certain circumstances you have the right to ‘block’ or suppress the processing of personal data or to object to the processing of that information.  Further information is available on the ICO website (www.ico.org.uk).  Please inform us immediately if you want us to cease to process your information or you object to processing so that we can consider what action, if any, is appropriate.

Obtaining and reusing personal data (the right to data portability)

In certain circumstances you have the right to be provided with the personal data that we hold about you in a machine-readable format, e.g. so that the data can easily be provided to a new professional adviser. Further information is available on the ICO website (www.ico.org.uk).

The right to data portability only applies:

  • to personal data an individual has provided to a controller;
  • where the processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the performance of a contract; and
  • when processing is carried out by automated means

We will respond to any data portability requests made to us without undue delay and within one month.  We may extend the period by a further two months where the request is complex or a number of requests are received but we will inform you within one month of the receipt of the request and explain why the extension is necessary.

Withdrawal of consent

Where you have consented to our processing of your personal data, you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. Please inform us immediately if you wish to withdraw your consent.

Please note:

  • the withdrawal of consent does not affect the lawfulness of earlier processing
  • if you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to continue to provide services to you
  • even if you withdraw your consent, it may remain lawful for us to process your data on another legal basis (e.g. because we have a legal obligation to continue to process your data)

Automated decision-making

We do not intend to use automated decision-making in relation to your personal data.

 

Complaints

If you have requested details of the information we hold about you and you are not happy with our response, or you think we have not complied with the GDPR or DPA 2018 in some other way, you can complain to us. Please send any complaints to Jayne Byrne.

If you are not happy with our response, you have a right to lodge a complaint with the ICO (www.ico.org.uk).

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STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS

 

These terms and conditions should be read alongside the privacy notice

 

  1. Applicable law

Our engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with, the law and practice of England and Wales. Each party agrees that the courts of England and Wales will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this engagement letter and any matter arising from it. Each party irrevocably waives any right to object to any action being brought in those courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.

  1. Client identification and verification

As with other professional services firms, we are required to identify and verify our clients for the purposes of the UK anti-money laundering legislation. Save in exceptional circumstances we cannot start work until this requirement has been met. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases including ID verification software.

 

  1. Client money

We do not hold client money.

  1. Complaints

We are committed to providing you with a high-quality service that is both efficient and effective. However, should there be any cause for complaint in relation to any aspect of our service, please contact Jayne Byrne.  We agree to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and do everything reasonable to try and resolve it. If you are still not satisfied you can refer your complaint to our professional body, Chartered Institute of Taxation.

  1. Confidentiality

Communication between us is confidential. We shall take all reasonable steps not to disclose your information except where we are required to and as set out in our privacy notice. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, this undertaking will apply during and after this engagement.

We may, on occasions, subcontract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals. The subcontractors will be bound by our client confidentiality and security terms.

  1. Conflicts of interest

 

If there is a conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests, then we will adopt those safeguards.

Where conflicts are identified that cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services. If this arises, we will inform you promptly. We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to yours, subject, of course, to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.

  1. Data protection

You acknowledge that we will act in accordance with the privacy notice we have supplied to you.

  1. Disengagement

Should we resign or be requested to resign we will normally issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.

Should we have no contact with you for a period of 15 months or more, we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and thereafter cease to act.

We reserve the right following termination for any reason to destroy any of your documents that we have not been able to return to you after a period of six months unless other laws or regulations require otherwise.

  1. Electronic and other communication

As instructed, we will communicate with you and with any third parties you instruct us to as set out in our covering letter and privacy notice via email or by other electronic means. The recipient is responsible for virus-checking emails and any attachments.

With electronic communication there is a risk of non-receipt, delayed receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties. We use virus-scanning software to reduce the risk of viruses and similar damaging items being transmitted through emails or electronic storage devices. However, electronic communication is not totally secure and we cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses, nor for communications that are corrupted or altered after despatch. Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication, especially in relation to commercially sensitive material. These are risks you must accept in return for greater efficiency and lower costs. If you do not wish to accept these risks, please let us know and we will communicate by hard copy, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.

Any communication by us with you sent through the post or DX system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.

When accessing information held electronically by HMRC, we may have access to more information than we need and will only access records reasonably required to carry out the contract.

 

You are required to keep us up to date with accurate contact details at all times. This is important to ensure that communications and papers are not sent to the incorrect address.

 

  1. Fees and payment terms

Our fees may depend not only upon the time spent on your affairs but also on the level of skill and responsibility, and the importance and value of the advice that we provide, as well as the level of risk.

If we provide you with an estimate of our fees for any specific work, then the estimate will not be contractually binding unless we explicitly state that that will be the case.

Where requested, we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. It is not our practice to identify fixed fees for more than a year ahead as such fee quotes need to be reviewed in the light of events. If it becomes apparent to us, due to unforeseen circumstances, that a fee quote is inadequate, we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and to seek your agreement thereto.

In some cases, you may be entitled to assistance with your professional fees, particularly in relation to any investigation into your tax affairs by HMRC. Assistance may be provided through insurance policies you hold or via membership of a professional or trade body. You will need to advise us of any such insurance cover that you have. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.

We will bill annually unless otherwise agreed and our invoices are due for payment within 30 days of issue.  Our fees are exclusive of VAT, which will be added where it is chargeable. Any disbursements we incur on your behalf and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out our work for you will be added to our invoices where appropriate.

Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary, our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.

Where this contract exists between us and a purchaser acting in the course of a business we reserve the right to charge interest on late-paid invoices at the rate of 8% above the Bank of England base rate under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We also reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you on giving written notice if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so.

If you do not accept that an invoiced fee is fair and reasonable you must notify us within 21 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.

On termination of the engagement you may appoint a new adviser. Where a new adviser requests professional clearance and handover information we reserve the right to charge you a reasonable fee for the provision of handover information.

  1. Implementation

 

We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.

  1. Intellectual property rights

We will retain all copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement save where the law specifically provides otherwise.

  1. Interpretation

If any provision of this engagement letter, schedules of services or standard terms and conditions is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract and the remainder of this agreement shall be interpreted as if such provision had never been inserted.

In the event of any conflict between these standard terms and conditions and the engagement letter or schedules of services, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.

  1. Internal disputes within a client

If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own or are in some way involved in the ownership and management of a business client, it should be noted that where our client is the business, we would not provide information or services to one party without the express knowledge and permission of all parties. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties we will continue to supply information to the normal place of business for the attention of the directors. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different directors/principals in the business, we will refer the matter back to the board of directors/the partnership/the LLP and take no further action until the board/partnership/LLP has agreed the action to be taken.

  1. Investment advice (including insurance mediation services)

If, during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments, including insurances, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or licensed by a designated professional body as we are not authorised to give such advice.

  1. Lien

 

Insofar as we are permitted to do so by law or professional guidelines, we reserve the right to exercise a lien over all funds, documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.

 

  1. Limitation of liability

 

We will provide our services with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses directly caused by our negligence, fraud or wilful default.

 

Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others

We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, interest or additional tax liabilities are caused by the acts or omissions of any other person or due to the provision to us of incomplete, misleading or false information, or if they are caused by a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.

In particular, where we refer you to another firm whom you engage with directly, we accept no responsibility in relation to their work and will not be liable for any loss caused by them.

Exclusion of liability in relation to circumstances beyond our control

We will not be liable to you for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under this engagement letter if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.

Exclusion of liability relating to non-disclosure or misrepresentation

We will not be responsible or liable for any loss, damage or expense incurred or sustained if information material to the service we are providing is withheld or concealed from us or misrepresented to us.

This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures that we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry beyond that which it would have been reasonable for us to have carried out in the circumstances.

Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure

You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure by you or by any person for whom you are responsible of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.

  1. Limitation of third-party rights

The advice and information we provide to you as part of our service is for your sole use and not for any third party to whom you may communicate it unless we have expressly agreed in the engagement letter that a specified third party may rely on our work. We accept no responsibility to third parties, including any group company to whom the engagement letter is not addressed, for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you that you make available to them. A party to this agreement is the only person who has the right to enforce any of its terms and no rights or benefits are conferred on any third party under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

  1. Period of engagement and termination

 

Unless otherwise agreed in the engagement letter our work will begin when we receive your implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter, except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.

Each of us may terminate this agreement by giving not less than 21 days’ notice in writing to the other party, except where you fail to cooperate with us or we have reason to believe that you have provided us or HMRC with misleading information, in which case we may terminate this agreement immediately. Termination will be without prejudice to any rights that may have accrued to either of us prior to termination.

In the event of termination of this contract, we will endeavour to agree with you the arrangements for the completion of work in progress at that time, unless we are required for legal or regulatory reasons to cease work immediately. In that event, we shall not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.

If you engage us for a one-off piece of work (for example advice on a one-off transaction or preparation of a tax return for one year only) the engagement ceases as soon as that work is completed.  The date of completion of the work is taken to be the termination date and we owe you no duties and we will not undertake further work beyond that date.

Where recurring work is provided (for example ongoing compliance work such as the completion of annual tax returns) the engagement ceases on the relevant date in relation to the termination as set out above.  Unless immediate termination applies, in practice this means that the relevant termination date is:

  • 21 days after the date of notice of termination; or
  • A later agreed date

 

We owe you no duties beyond the date of termination and will not undertake any further work.

  1. Professional body rules

We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the The Chartered Institute of Taxation and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis.

You are responsible for bringing to our attention any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in your returns that you become aware of after the returns have been submitted in order that we may assist you to make a voluntary disclosure.

In particular, you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC where we become aware of them. In addition, we will not undertake tax planning which breaches Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation. We will therefore comply with the general anti-abuse rule and the targeted anti-avoidance rule. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations. You can see copies of these requirements at our offices. The requirements are also available online at https://www.tax.org.uk

 

The implications of professional body membership as it relates to GDPR are set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these standard terms and conditions of business.

 

  1. Reliance on advice

 

We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally is not intended to be relied upon unless confirmed in writing. Therefore, if we provide oral advice (for example, during the course of a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to be able to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing. However, bear in mind that advice is only valid at the date it is given.

 

  1. Retention of papers

 

You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your tax affairs. During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your tax affairs. We will return any original documents to you if requested.

When we cease to act for you we will seek to agree the position on access to cloud-accounting records to ensure continuity of service. This may require you to enter direct engagements with the software providers and pay for that service separately. Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:

Individuals, trustees and partnerships

  • with trading or rental income: five years and 10 months after the end of the tax year;
  • otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year.

 

Companies, LLPs and other corporate entities

  • six years from the end of the accounting period.

 

While certain documents may legally belong to you, we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than seven years old. This includes your documents if they have not been reclaimed by you within the seven-year period. You must tell us if you require the return of any specific document or their retention for a longer period.

You should retain documents that are sent to you by us as set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these terms and conditions.

 

 

  1. The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (‘Services Directive’)

 

In accordance with our professional body rules, we are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. Details about the insurer and coverage can be found at our offices or by request from us.