This Content Was Last Updated on December 2, 2022 by Jessica Garbett
Professional Fee Protection is a optional scheme offered to our clients to cover accountancy fees for tax enquiries and disputes.
The Importance of Cover
HMRC has wide ranging inspection powers across all taxes – no reasons have to be given for opening enquiries and often they can be triggered for no apparent reason.
Some of the risks faced are:
- Full HMRC enquiries into accounts or returns – companies and individual taxpayers – including a small number of random enquiries
- Enquiries arising from HMRC “task forces” in specific sectors or area
- HMRC enquiries into Covid support schemes, eg SEISS (Self Employed Support) and CJRS (Furlough)
- “Aspect” enquiries into part of a return
- Disputes from VAT and PAYE inspections
- IR35 disputes
- ‘Interventions’ – HMRCs powers to inspect records and businesses outside of traditional enquiries
- Cross tax enquiries – where HMRC looks at VAT, Income Tax, PAYE and Corporation Tax together
- Surprise visits – HMRC can visit business premises to review records, with no prior arrangement
- HMRC intelligence, eg HMRC targeting credit card companies to supply details of all merchants, ebay to provide details of traders and similar
- A new and emerging risk looking into Covid support such as Furlough and Self Employed Income Support
Even if HMRC find nothing to assess, the fees to defend such enquiries and reviews can be substantial; and because of their unpredictability our Fixed Fee Agreements cannot cover Tax Disputes.
Whitefield Professional Fee Protection Scheme
In conjunction with Markel Tax, an insurer and adviser, we offer a Professional Fee Protection Service to cover our fees, which would otherwise be payable by you, as the client. Participating clients have cover for up to £125,000 of our fees or those of an Markel approved consultant for the following events:
- Attendance at any face-to-face meeting with or dealing with any enquiry correspondence from HMRC
- Income & Corporation Tax Self Assessment Full & Aspect and Schedule 36 Enquiries
- Business Record Checks, VAT & Employer Compliance inspections (the actual meeting even prior to any possible disputes) and any resulting disputes (for example PAYE/P11D/P9D/NIC/IR35/CIS)
Some costs are not covered by this service, notably the following:
- Outstanding taxes, fines, penalties, interest or any amounts due to HMRC
- Pre-existing enquiries or disputes
- Claims arising from tax returns submitted outside statutory time limits i.e. late returns
- The defence of criminal prosecutions and investigations
- Routine Compliance work i.e. fees incurred in respect of preparing records for a PAYE or VAT inspection – the actual inspection, and any dispute arising from it, are covered
There is no excess payable, so full cover exists on all claims.
For Companies and Partnerships there is automatic private individual cover for all directors or partners and their spouses for their Personal tax returns provided we file their returns and any other income is less than £15k pa for Self Employment or £50k pa for rentals. Directors or Partners with Self Employed Income over £15k or Rents over £50k would need to pay a separate premium.
The 2023 scheme runs from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023 and the annual service charge is set out below.
To join the scheme, please complete the application form online, using the link at the bottom of the page.
Premiums – including VAT – unchanged from since 2019
- £50 Individual Tax Payers including Sole Traders with turnover of less than £15k (not partnerships or companies), and landlords with income of less than £50k
- £130 Sole Traders with turnover over £15k, and Landlords with income over £50k (also directors and partners not covered under the Company/Partnership premium)
- £155 Companies, including PSCs, partnerships and LLPs – this includes personal cover for Partners/Directors provided any personal Self Employed income and Rental income is below £15k and £50k respectively
A VAT receipt will be provided once we receive your remittance.
We do not offer part year pricing. so if you are joining the scheme after 1 January then please be aware the premium is for the remainder of the calendar year with optional renewal on 1 January 2024.
If you have any further questions relating to this scheme, please get in touch.
The service is, of course, not compulsory but should you decide not to take advantage of this, you will be “self insured” and fully liable for all professional fees incurred in defence of any enquiry.
Applying for Cover
Important – we are sorry, but we cannot accept payment by Bank Transfer or Cheque for this cover. Please do not pay by Bank Transfer as the amount you send will not be allocated correctly to your cover.
There are other Fee Protection news stories and comment on our site: see them all here
- 2023 Professional Fee Protection Scheme Now Open 05/12/2022
- Is your repayment credible? 09/03/2016
- HMRC and Personal Service Obligations 10/12/2013
- HMRC Rental Property Campaign 18/11/2013
- HMRC direct selling anti avoidance campaign 25/01/2013
- HMRC’s "Taxforces" Hit The Road 11/11/2011
- HMRC Business Record Checks 24/10/2011
- Business Record Checks and Fee Protection 14/02/2011
- IR35 Contract Reviews 07/10/2009