At its hearing on 19 March 2012, the Disciplinary Tribunal found that Ms Emma Clark of Newbold-on-Stour, Warwickshire, a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, was in breach of Rule 2.4.1 of the Professional Rules and Practice Guidelines (PRPG, 2006 edition) of the Institute.
Ms Clark was charged with failing to have proper regard for the technical and professional standards expected of her, in that she prepared a tax return in which she sought to set off income against a previous year's capital loss, when this was unlikely to be accepted by HMRC, and had failed to warn the client clearly enough so that she understood the risk of such action.
Ms Clark claimed that she warned the client of the risk of making such a claim, but the latter had specifically requested her to submit it, on the understanding that any tax repaid would be returned if the claim failed. The Tribunal found that there was no reliable evidence that the defendant had warned the client of the likelihood that the claim would be disallowed; even if she had done so verbally, any such warning should have been set out in writing and repeated in subsequent correspondence with the client. The Tribunal regarded it as incumbent on a professional adviser who is instructed to make a claim that she knows is not allowable as a matter of law to give the strongest possible warning to the client and to consider whether she can continue to act for the client.
The Tribunal found the charge against Ms Clark proved. The Tribunal considered that even if this was an isolated lapse it was sufficiently serious to warrant a censure. The Tribunal ordered that Ms Clark should pay costs of £5,568.