Engagement terms and conditions
Scope of services
The scope of our services is contained in the attached schedule which states your and our responsibilities in relation to the work to be carried out. Only the services which are listed are included within the scope of our instructions. If we agree to carry out additional services for you, we will provide you with a new or amended engagement letter.
We will provide the agreed professional services which will be conducted in accordance with the relevant professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB). The extent of our procedures and services will be limited exclusively for this purpose only. As a result, no audit or review will be performed and, accordingly, no assurance will be expressed. Our engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose irregularities including fraud, other illegal acts and errors that may exist. However, we will inform you of any such matters that come to our attention.
As with other professional services firms, we are required to identify our clients for the purposes of the Australia anti-money laundering legislation. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases.
Commissions and other benefits
In some circumstances, we may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or in respect of transactions which we arrange for you. Where this happens we will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits. The same will apply where the payment is made to or the transactions are arranged by a person or business connected with ours. The fees you would otherwise pay will not be reduced by the amount of the commissions or benefits.
We will comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1998 when processing your personal data. Communication between us is confidential and we shall take all reasonable steps to keep your information confidential except where we are required to disclose it by law, by regulatory bodies, by our insurers or as part of an external peer review. 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 terms. We reserve the right, for the purpose of promotional activity, training or for similar business purpose, to mention that you are a client. As stated above we will not disclose any confidential information.
We wish to draw your attention to our firm’s system of quality control which has been established and maintained in accordance with the relevant APESB standard. As a result, our files may be subject to review as part of the quality control review program of CPA Australia which monitors compliance with professional standards by its members. We advise you that by accepting our engagement you acknowledge that, if requested, our files relating to this engagement will be made available under this program. Should this occur, we will advise you.
Conflicts of interest
We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client. We have safeguards that can be implemented to protect the interests of different clients if a conflict arises. Where conflicts are identified which 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. If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests then we will adopt those safeguards. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent. We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to your subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
We use cloud computing services to store your Personal Information and other data. We will use commercially reasonable security technologies (such as encryption, password protection and firewall protection) to protect this Personal Information and other data of the Client from unauthorized disclosure. You however acknowledge and agree that it is impossible for us to guarantee the security of the Personal Information and other data with absolute certainty and that the use of cloud computing services may therefore entail certain risks. We shall only be responsible if it has finally judicially been determined that it did not take commercially reasonable measures to protect your Personal Information and other data from unauthorized disclosure.
Electronic and other communication
Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties 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 which are corrupted or altered after dispatch. 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 agree to bear in return for greater efficiency and lower costs.
Intellectual property rights
We will retain all copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement except where the law specifically provides otherwise.
If any provision of this agreement 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.
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. 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.
All payments must be paid in advance; our invoices are due for payment within 7 days of issue. We will commence work when payment is received in full. Our fees are exclusive of GST. 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 stated, our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.
We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 5% above bank base rates 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 14 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.
We will act in your best interest, but like all citizens, we must comply with the law even if it may be contrary to your interests. For example, we must comply with certain statutory notices from the ATO which may require us to provide information or we may have to make a decision that a potential tax claim is invalid due to lack of documentation, even if you inform us that the claim is valid.
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 www.professionalstandardscouncil.gov.au.
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. We accept no responsibility to third parties for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you which you make available to them. For the purpose of eliminating any doubt, we will not be held responsible should a financial institution (or any other party) rely on financial statements we have provided to you.
Ownership of documents
All original documents obtained from you arising from the engagement shall remain your property. However, we reserve the right to make a reasonable number of copies of the original documents for our records. All other documents produced by us in respect of this engagement will remain the property of the firm.
Reliance on advice
We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. The 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.
Period of engagement and termination
Our work will begin when we receive your acceptance of this engagement agreement. We will not be responsible for periods before that date. This agreement will be effective for all future years unless either party advises of any change in our arrangement.
When you remove our tax agent role with the ATO, or by registering with another tax agent, this engagement is immediately discontinued at that time, and all responsibility for any services covered under this engagement is reverted to you and/or your new tax agent from 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 ATO 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.
Further to our general right to disengage services to any entity, on the 1st June of every year, any client who has not provided information for their prior financial year tax return, or is not in an lodgement extension arrangement will be removed from our client list due to ATO lodgement program requirements that require us as a tax agent to meet compliance levels to retain our concessional lodgement timeframes. Clients removed from our client list will have no agent appointed from there on in and will not enjoy any of our concessional compliance timeframes. We may however consider re-engagement where a client is ready to bring their obligations up to date, at that time.
Professional rules and statutory obligations
We will observe and act in accordance with the relevant professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB) and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis.
The extent of our procedures and services will be limited exclusively for this purpose only. As a result, no audit or review will be performed and, accordingly, no assurance will be expressed. Our engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose irregularities including fraud, other illegal acts and errors that may exist. However, we will inform you of any such matters that come to our attention.
We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations. The requirements are available online at www.cpaaustralia.com.au.
Retention of records
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. Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than 5 years old.
You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your tax affairs:
where Capital Gains Tax applies:
7 years from the date of disposal for taxation purposes;
Individuals, Trustees and Partnerships: 2 years after the date on the Notice of Assessment of the tax year;
Companies and other corporate entities: 5 years after the date on the Notice of Assessment of the tax year.
Tax Agent services regime
There are provisions in the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (“TAA”) that provide you (as of 1 March 2010) with “safe harbours” from administrative penalties from incorrect or late lodgement of returns, if among other things, you give us “all relevant taxation information” in a timely manner. This includes cooperating with our requests for information to allow us to accurately perform our work and promptly advising us of anything that occurs subsequently to render any previous information incorrect, misleading or incomplete.
Any failure by you to provide all such information and documentation, reply to our requests for information, or to advise us of any changes in circumstances may affect your ability to access the safe harbour provisions. Further, as the ATO monitors the lodgement and accuracy compliance of Cube Accounting as a tax agent, and we are bound by our professional association ethical values, we reserve the right to discontinue our engagement with any entities that provide untimely, misleading or illegitimate information.
Third-party audits, reviews and questionnaires
The ATO (as an example) conduct both random and targeted audits in order to maintain the integrity of the tax system. As your tax agent, we are often the first contact for the ATO where they are conducting an audit or review. Often the initial contact takes time to ascertain exactly what type of audit or review the ATO are conducting, what information they require, the time frame of the audit or review, and various other aspects. As your tax agent, you are authorising Cube Accounting to automatically handle this initial ATO contact and you agree to pay any fees levied by Cube Accounting for its time involved. Once details of this initial ATO contact has been ascertained, you will be contacted with the details of the audit or review, and at that stage you can request or decline further assistance with the audit or review. There are other entities (particularly Government entities) that this would apply to.