Thursday, September 15, 2016

Threatening letter issued by CA to recover fees from client is an act of professional misconduct

Facts:

a) The CA used to file Income Tax returns of client and his family members.

b) The client received a bill from CA demanding sum of Rs. 3.8 lakhs as professional fee for filing returns and his family members for 19 years. Further bill was accompanied with written statement threating to initiate legal action against him if the payment was not made.

c) The client filed a complaint with the ICAI council against such CA. The Council held that the CA was guilty of 'professional misconduct' for annexing a note to the bill which contains a language not expected from a Chartered Accountant.

The High Court held as under:

1) The Disciplinary Committee opined that CA gave no explanation as to why for each year as and when professional services were rendered, a bill was not raised. Further the Disciplinary committee did not delve further into merits of the dispute, the reason appeared to be that the dispute was a civil dispute and was sub- judice.

2) But, with respect to the written communication appended by way of note to the bill, it opined that the language was threatening and not expected of a CA who is looked upon by the society as a dignified professional.

3) The Court concurs with the opinion of Disciplinary Committee held that the CA had committed a professional misconduct. [2016] 73 taxmann.com 83 (Delhi)
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