These have evolved a great deal over the last few years, both to reflect the changing approach of HMRC and also the feedback from accountants and their clients.

I must admit that I’m torn. If I were still in practice I’m sure I’d want to ensure that my clients had this sort of cover. Equally I’m aware that most of the insurers provide a tax helpline and can (or, in some cases, insist that the insurers) undertake the related professional work to defend a client from an HMRC challenge. And such helplines and tax support services are in direct competition with the facilities provided by my Tax Advice Network.

Anyway the function of this blog is to share commercial tips and advice for accountants so when I become aware of services and facilities that I think may be of interest it behoves me to share this.

In this connection I’m aware of a number of the available policies that are ‘out there’ and of some new ones about to be launched. I’m also aware that different accountants have differing views as to the value of such policies. I think the alternative views can be summarised as follows:

  • Can’t see the need for it. Very few of my clients suffer full investigations and that’s all these things cover isn’t it?
  • Tried it once but cancelled when the insurers wouldn’t pay out on a claim;
  • Happy to tell clients about this and let them decide whether to take out a policy or not;
  • I want my clients to be covered so that I can be confident that my fees will be covered in the event of an investigation;
  • Most of my clients are members of the FSB and so they have cover through that scheme;
  • Our firm is so large that it’s hard to formulate a consistent approach that would satisfy the insurers;
  • We make a good return on the premiums that we sell to our clients – in effect by providing an additional valuable service to our clients we also benefit through an additional and profitable residual income stream;

I’d be interested to learn the views of the readers of this blog.

NB: I heard about an 8 partner firm today where only 4 of the partners tell their clients about the availability of fee insurance. I tend to think that such a firm may be at risk of invalidating their PI policy. One of the standard terms tends to be that clients will be given ‘best advice’. How secure are they if half of the firm’s clients receive advice that the other half don’t receive?