Terms of Engagement
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 may come to our attention.
We understand that an audit of the financial statements is not required and therefore we will not be expressing an opinion as to the truth and fairness of those statements. We will process the financial information as presented by you without any review of the primary source documents on the specific understanding that you have the necessary supporting and substantiation documentation to satisfy the Australian Taxation Office.
On the basis of the information provided by you, we will compile special purpose financial reports in accordance with APES 315 “Statement of Compilation of Financial Reports”.
Your obligations & rights
The Tax Agents Services Act requires us to advise you of your rights and obligations where we are acting for you on taxation matters. In relation to the taxation services provided:
- you are subject to the self-assessment system in relation to any of your income tax returns. The Commissioner is entitled to rely on any statements made in your income tax returns. If those statements are later found to be incorrect, the Commissioner may amend your income tax assessments and, in addition to any tax assessed, you may also be liable for penalties and interest charges.
- you have an obligation to keep proper records that will substantiate the taxation returns prepared and which will satisfy the substantiation requirements of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Failure to keep such records could result in claims being disallowed, additional tax being imposed, and the imposition of penalty or general interest charges.
- you are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the particulars and information required to comply with the various taxation laws. We will use this information supplied in the preparation of your returns.
- you are required to provide all information as requested and required under the relevant statutory authorities and allow us adequate time for the preparation.
- you need to advise us of any changes in your circumstances during the year and ensure all records pertaining to your tax and accounting matters are kept for a minimum of five (5) years.
Your rights as a taxpayer include:
- The right to seek a private ruling;
- The right to object to an assessment by the Commissioner;
- The right to appeal against an adverse decision by the Commissioner.
Certain time limitations exist for you to exercise these rights. Should you wish to exercise your rights at any time you should contact us so that we can provide you with the relevant time frames to discuss any additional requirements which may exist.
Failure to adhere to these responsibilities will result in extra work for us, and as a result additional fees will be incurred at our normal hourly rates.
Lodgement of Tax Returns
In no circumstances will we finalise the lodgement of statutory documents, including tax returns unless payment has been received in full.
Responsibility for Accounting and Internal Control Systems
We advise that the responsibility for the maintenance of the businesses accounting systems and internal control systems rests with you (the client), including the protection of and prevention against fraud. You remain responsible for the maintenance and keeping the books of account. This is so irrespective of your delegation of the duties of preparing and maintaining the books of account to a third party such as a bookkeeper or accounting firm as ultimately the responsibility rests with you. If any material weakness in the accounting system or internal control systems comes to our notice, we will advise accordingly.
We aim to provide the highest standard of professional service and are focused on the concerns of our clients. If for any reason you feel you have not received the service level expected or have an issue to raise, please, at first instance, contact our office to discuss how the problem may be resolved.
Furthermore, we are subject to the ethical requirements of CPA Australia and to their Investigations and Disciplinary processes.
These requirements cover issues such as a Code of Conduct and Ethics, adherence to Accounting and Auditing Standards, requirements to undertake Continued Professional Education. Should there be an issue regarding the ethical or business practices of any member of this firm, such matters may be referred the CPA Australia Investigator. However, as the accounting profession does not have regulated fees, CPA Australia will not investigate purely fee based disputes but may recommend the parties seek mediation of the dispute.
As Registered Tax Agents we are also subject to the requirements set down by the Tax Practitioners Board and complaints may be lodged with them. For information on the Tax Practitioners Board they may be contacted by calling 1300 362 829.
HBA Encompass utilises significant cloud computing practices. The actual provider changes on a regular basis. A list of our current providers and what they provide is listed on our website here. It is implied by the acceptance of this engagement that you accept that your information may be provided to these parties.
Professional Fees and Payments
Prior to commencement of any services, it is our policy to provide a schedule of costs from the outset. We believe this is best practice and to provide our clients with certainty with respect to professional fees. Should there be any queries with respect to costs, this can be discussed and resolved prior to commencement.
Disclosure of other fees and commissions
We have an obligation to disclose to our clients any commissions or other fees which may be received as a result of work performed for that client and will fully comply with any statutory requirements in relation to the disclosure of such information.
It is our policy not to accept commissions or referral fees from any third party which may arise from any referral to other service providers. Where we receive an offer of commissions or fees in any form whatsoever in relation to our dealings with you, unless otherwise indicated, we will request that these be returned to you, our client.
An exemption to this rule is any discounts provided by cloud software providers where HBA Encompass pay for the subscription on your behalf. These discounts are provided to offset the administrative costs of HBA Encompass paying these subscriptions and are generally token dollar amounts.
As a matter of professional courtesy, and in line with the ethical requirements of our professional associations, we will need to inform your previous accountant that we have been engaged by you as their new accountant and to receive from them any outstanding files of yours they may retain. Upon receipt of our advices your previous accountant should not contact you directly and will be required to forward such information which we may request.
In some circumstances your previous accountant may charge a fee for re-producing documents which have already been provided to you. In this event we will contact you before incurring additional fees on your behalf.
We note that we are not engaged to review the accuracy of any previous returns lodged by your previous accountants. Until we receive such records, we are unable to say with any accuracy what years have been lodged. When we obtain all the information from your previous accountants, we will review it and let you know where you stand from a lodgement perspective.
Ownership of Documents
The final financial statements, tax returns and any other documents which HBA Encompass are specifically engaged to prepare, together with any original documents given to us, shall remain your property. Any other documents generated by us including working papers, draft financial statements and copies of tax returns, will remain the property of HBA Encompass at all times.
Lien over Documents
We may invoke a Lien over certain documents held until such time as an outstanding fee has been paid or other satisfactory arrangements are reached. A Lien is a right to hold certain documents or property until the debt incurred in respect of that property/document has been satisfied. The Lien however may not be held over property that belongs to another, including if held jointly, and does not cover statutory documents (eg Tax Returns).
Quality Assurance Program
As members of CPA Australia we are subject to periodic quality assurance reviews. Unless otherwise advised, by engaging our firm, you are consenting to your files being part of such a quality review on the understanding that total confidentiality is maintained.
Authority to Hold Income Tax Returns on File
By appointing HBA Encompass to act as your accountants and tax agents, you hereby authorise us to hold on our files a signed copy of your Income Tax Returns for as long as we are legally obliged. This authority is to continue until otherwise advised by you in writing.