Has Your Accountant Made a Mistake?
Accountants are professionals, and they owe you a duty of care. However, they are also human and they can make mistakes just like everybody else. However, when an accountant makes a mistake, it can mean that their clients suffer financial hardship and loss. In those circumstances, it may be possible for you to bring a claim for negligence against your account, for compensation.
What mistakes do accountants make?
There are many different mistakes that accountants can make, but as they are handling your money, those mistakes can have financial consequences for you. Here, we consider some of the most common mistakes which are made:
- advising wrongly about the value of your business - this can mean that you pay too much tax, or you sell your business at an undervalue to someone else;
- failing to advise you to register for VAT purposes, or failing to advise you how to avoid having to do so - this can lead to penalties being imposed upon you by HMRC or it can mean that you go to the trouble of becoming registered for VAT, when you don't need to;
- being late filing your returns - again this can mea that you incur penalties with HMRC;
- not including rental income in your tax return - this is commonly overlooked, and accountants should ask you very carefully about all your sources of income;
- failing to declare a couple's joint earnings properly - this can mean that one or both of you pays too much or too little tax, or you could be penalised by HMRC;
- failing to claim for using your home as an office if you are self-employed - this can mean that you miss out on tax savings that you are entitled to;
- not claiming employment expenses - if your accountant doesn't ask you the right questions, you could miss out on claiming for your expenses, and overpaying on your tax bill;
- not claiming for gift aid on charitable donations - again, if your accountant doesn't ask about any charities that you donate to, you could end up paying too much tax;
- failing to declare a business or capital loss properly - this can lead to serious consequences and can mean that you overpay tax, by not setting off losses against your bill;
- not dealing with the sale of assets (i.e. shares or investments policies) properly - if this happens, you could pay too much or too little tax; and
- failing to claim mortgage interest repayments correctly - this could mean that you are missing out on tax relief that you are entitled to, which can go on for years.
This is not an exhaustive list - it is just an illustration of how many different types of mistakes can be made.
If you think your accountant has made a mistake, we may be able to help. Samuels are a niche professional negligence practice, specialising in claims against accountants and other professionals.
We understand that if your accountant has let you down, you might have problems with cash flow. We will therefore consider with you whether there are any appropriate arrangements we can make with you, to help you pay our fees. In some cases, this could mean that we act for you under the terms of a conditional fee agreement.
If you have been let down by an accountant, contact us today for a no obligation discussion about how we can help.