Terms of Engagement
1. Purpose and Scope of Engagement
We provide accounting and/or taxation and/or business advisory services to clients as stipulated.
As your Accountant/Tax Agent we will:
- Analyse, discuss and make recommendations regarding your accounting records and financial affairs; and
- Prepare financial and other statements as requested; and
- Prepare and lodge taxation returns, review assessments and advise on appeal procedures where necessary; and
- Perform such other work as agreed between the parties.
You are reminded that:
- Performance of tasks is exclusively limited to those set out in this engagement; and
- We do not (unless otherwise engaged to do so) undertake an audit or review, and as such no assurance will be expressed; and
- Unless we are otherwise engaged to do so, this engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose any irregularities such as fraud, illegalities or errors of other parties that may occur; and
- Any advice given to you is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances.
- You consent to us obtaining your information from the ATO and releasing your information to them.
Any additional terms are to be agreed in writing by both parties.
2. Period of Engagement
This engagement will start on as stipulated. The first period for which we will be responsible is tax return for the as stipulated by you for a financial year. We will not deal with earlier periods unless you specifically ask us to do so and we agree.
This engagement document will be effective for future years unless we issue an amended one to you.
3. Professional Fees and Payments
The professional fees for the services we provide will be based on the time and degree of skill and acumen required to complete the nominated tasks.
In addition to our fees, we will charge you for the out of pocket expenses and statutory charges incurred or paid on your behalf (‘disbursements’). Should we see a need to incur expenses on your behalf which are unusual as to their nature or extent, we will provide you with advice and seek your specific instructions before incurring such expenses.
In the event where your overdue account is referred to a collection agency and/or law firm, you will be liable for all costs which would be incurred as if the debt is collected in full, including legal demand costs.
It is not possible at this time to provide an accurate estimate of the total costs. We will give you a quote for services required.
Accurate estimates are difficult due to unforeseeable problems and delays, the cooperation or otherwise of third persons and/or deficiencies in documentation. We emphasise that an estimate is not a quote or fixed maximum charge. If costs are likely to be significantly higher than originally estimated, we will inform you of this in writing setting out the reasons for the likely increase.
We will provide you with an account of professional fees, costs and disbursements. We require strict payment of accounts before lodgement of tax returns or on the date of each invoice, unless prior alternative arrangements have been made. If you do not pay your account by that date, we reserve the right to use a debt collection agency or other legal means to recover any outstanding fees.
You acknowledge that the responsibility for the maintenance of a business accounting system and internal control systems, including protection of and prevention against fraud rest with you the client. You will also be responsible for the reliability, accuracy, completeness and maintenance of the accounting records. This includes any work produced by a third party not engaged by this firm that is sought to be relied upon. If any material weakness in the accounting systems or internal control systems comes to our notice, we will advise you accordingly.
You are personally responsible for the information contained in any statutory return and you must retain all necessary supporting documentation to substantiate your transactions. We do not take responsibility for any failure on your behalf to maintain adequate records or to provide us with all the relevant information.
In conducting this engagement, information acquired by us in the course of the engagement is subject to strict confidentiality requirements. That information will not be disclosed by us to other parties except as required or allowed for by law, or with your express consent.
We are bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to maintain all your records securely and in accordance with the provisions of that Act. Any breach of these requirements should be notified to the Privacy Commissioner.
As a Member of the Institute of Public Accountants (‘IPA’) the Principal is subject to periodic quality assurance reviews. Unless otherwise advised, by engaging us you consent to your files being part of such quality review. This is a review of the firm’s file and not a review of you as a client. Your confidentiality will be retained throughout this process.
5. Conflicts of Interest
We will not intentionally become involved in a situation where there is a conflict of interest of a legal nature between you, us and/or another client but if through inadvertence or unforeseen circumstances this should occur we may be obliged to terminate the engagement in this matter.
6. Taxation Services
It is necessary that you provide all information which may be relevant to the completion of the engagement. We will advise you of the date by when we need to receive the information in order to ensure completion on a timely basis. In the event that all necessary information is not provided when requested, we cannot guarantee that the work will be completed by the lodgement date and/or to the standard required and therefore you may be subject to penalties imposed by the Commissioner of Taxation.
A taxpayer is responsible under self assessment to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of a correct return. Whilst the Commissioner of Taxation will accept claims made by a taxpayer in an income tax return and issue a notice of assessment, usually without adjustment, the return may be subject to later review. Under taxation law such a review may take place within a period of up to four (4) years after tax becomes due and payable under the assessment. Furthermore, where there is fraud or evasion there is no time limit on amending the assessment. Accordingly, you should check the return before it is signed to ensure that the information in the return is accurate.
Where the application of a taxation law to your particular circumstances is uncertain you also have the right to request a private ruling which will set out the Commissioner’s opinion about the way a taxation law applies, or would apply, to you in those circumstances. You must provide a description of all the facts (with supporting documentation) that are relevant to your scheme or circumstances in your private ruling application. If there is any material difference between the facts set out in the ruling and what you actually do the private ruling is ineffective.
If you rely on a private ruling you have received, the Commissioner must administer the law in the way set out in the ruling, unless it is found to be incorrect and applying the law correctly would lead to a better outcome for you. Where you disagree with the decision in the private ruling, or the Commissioner fails to issue such a ruling, you can lodge an objection against the ruling it relates to income tax, fuel tax credit or fringe benefits tax. Your time limits in lodging an objection will depend on whether you are issued an assessment for the matter (or period) covered by the private ruling.
7. Limitation of Liability
Our liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Further information on the scheme is available from the Professional Standards Councils’ website: http://professionalstandardscouncil.go.au
8. Involvement of Others
In the interests of enhancing our ability to meet your professional service needs, we may use a third party provider to assist us in the preparation of your financial statements and tax returns.
As the paid preparer of your financial statements and tax returns, our firm remains responsible for exercising reasonable care in preparing your financial statements and tax returns, and all work undertaken by a third party service provider will be subject to our firm’s normal quality control procedures.
Where as part of our engagement, the services of an external consultant or expert are required, an estimated cost and timeframe will be provided to you for written approval.
9. Ownership of Documents
The final Financial Statements, Income Tax Returns and any other documents we are specifically engaged to prepare, together with any original documents given to the firm, shall remain your property. Documents brought into existence by the firm including general journals, working papers, the general ledger, draft financial statements and copies of your tax returns, will remain the firm’s property at all times. However, on request the firm will always provide you with copies of any documents. We have a policy of exploring a legal right of lien over any client documents in our possession in the event of a dispute.
10. Termination of Engagement
You have the right to terminate our services at any time. Upon good cause such as failure to comply with the terms of this engagement or if in our view the necessary relationship of confidence no longer exists between us, we have a right upon reasonable notice to terminate our engagement and cease acting for you.
All fees and expenses incurred prior to termination by either you or us are then immediately billable to you. Subject to any court order to the contrary or consequent agreement to the contrary, you agree that we are entitled to retain all monies, papers and records relating to this matter until our bills are paid.