Lake Bushells & Co
The Findings - Richard C A Francis FCA
The following letter, dated 10th July 2002, was sent to me by the Professional Standards Office of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. It is followed by the press release issued by the ICAEW on 8th January 2003.
Your complaint against Mr Richard C A Fracis FCA
This matter was considered by the Investigation Committee on 2 July 2002. The Committee decided that a prima facie case had been established under the Disciplinary Bye-laws and that disciplinary action was appropriate with respect to a complaint that:
Mr R C A Francis, as the partner responsible for the tax affairs of Mr S M Wooler in the period October 1994 to March 1999, failed to exercise the due skill, care and diligence expected of a member, in particular, in that he failed to ensure that adequate payments on account were made in respect of Mr S M Wooler's capital gains tax liability arising on the disposal of his shares in S & M Processing (Limited) in November 1988.
In accordance with the Institute's Bye-laws, the Committee has given Mr Francis the opportunity to consent to a disciplinary order being made against him. Mr Francis has the right to make representations on either the finding and/or the terms of the proposed Order.
The reason for this decision is that the Committee considered that on taking over responsibility for your tax affairs, a review of the papers by Mr Francis should have revealed the clear risk of your liabilities increasing due both to ongoing interest and the difference in the opinion of the firm and the Revenue as to the 1982 valuation of your shares. The Committee concluded that had Mr Francis established the position with you and advised you as to the progress of the negotiations with the Inland Revenue, material savings in interest could have been made. In these circumstances, the Committee decided that there was a case for disciplinary action.
If Mr Francis accepts the Order, I will send you a copy of the press release. Similarly, if he makes representations, I will let you know what view the Investigation Committee takes of them and whether it decides on a different course of action from that outlined above.
In addition, the Investigation Committee has decided that a prima facie case for disciplinary action had not been made out with respect to a complaint that Mr R C A Francis, as the partner responsible for the tax affairs of Mr S M Wooler in the period October 1994 to March 1999, failed to exercise the due skill, care and diligence expected of a member, in particular, in that he failed to ensure that correspondence from the Inland Revenue was dealt with on a timely basis, in particular, replies to Revenue correspondence dated I 1 August 1995, 16 July 1996 and 13 January 1997.
The reason for this decision is that the Committee noted the explanations given for the further delay from September 1994 in responding to the outstanding correspondence with the Revenue dated November 1992 until June 1995. Whilst there were concerns over the delays in providing a substantive response to that letter and subsequent items of correspondence, and in obtaining your response to the Revenue offer at the February 1998 meeting, the Committee concluded these delays were not so serious as to warrant disciplinary action.
Where the Committee finds no prima facie case for disciplinary action you, as complainant, may apply in writing to an independent Reviewer of Complaints who has power to refer the matter back to the Investigation Committee. Such an application must be received in writing before the end of the period of six months beginning with the date of the Committee's finding unless, in the opinion of the Reviewer, there is fresh evidence justifying consideration of the application. If on reconsideration the Investigation Committee remains of the view that there is no case it must give written reasons to the Reviewer and to you.
PRESS RELEASE - 8th January 2003
With the agreement of Richard Charles Alexander Francis BA FCA of 82 East Hill, Colchester, Essex, the Investigation Committee made an order that he be reprimanded, fined £1,000 and pay costs of £1,600 with respect to a complaint that he, as the partner responsible for the tax affairs of Mr "X" in the period October 1994 to November 1998, failed to exercise the due skill, care and diligence expected of a member, in particular, in that he failed to follow up previous advice that further payments on account should be made in respect of Mr "X's" capital gains tax liability arising on the disposal of his shares in a Limited Company in November 1988.
Click here to read the ICAEW findings in the case of Michael Lake.
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