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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I run a Ltd company, as a self employed consultant. in 2014

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I run a Ltd company, as a self employed consultant. in 2014 I was paid twice for 2 invoices, and raised this at the time. The payor acknowledged this, and despite several reminders from myself, they've never agreed or confirmed how to repay this. In 2015 reminders then were never answered.
What can or should I do ? My accountant is nervous taking these extra funds as income, until legal advice is sought.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Were these reminders put in writing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there were several emails back and forth initially, then in 2015 only me reminding with no response
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
FYI, the company in question is a global recruitment agency who dealt with interim contractors, on behalf of the end client. They no longer represent that end client, albeit that doesn't effect the overpayment. I have left that organisation, and would not know how to get in touch with the finance team, other than a generic email.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. Whilst I cannot advise on the tax aspects of this and whether you can or cannot claim this as income, from a legal perspective this is not money you are entitled to as it does not legally belong to you. Saying that, there is a legal time limit within which the other side can pursue you to get that money back from you. There is a cut off point under the Limitation Act and for debts like this one it is 6 years. So they could potentially come back at any point during that period and pursue you for the return of that money. Therefore, to be safe, you should keep that money separate at least for that period, in the event that you do have to return it at some point. After the 6 years have passed they cannot take any legal action for the return of the money, even if originally it belonged to them so that is going to be the ‘safe’ period after which you can treat the money as yours.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks of the response - I was pleasantly surprised with the speed of reply on this. However, I have to say, that I was hoping for more, as I already know the Statue of Limitations and the 6 year rule - one could gain this for free via a quick Google search also.
I guess however, this confirms that if I cannot successfully agree to repay the monies, I will have to keep it until the 6 year period has passed. If I decide to spend the money, and they reclaim it, then I am duty bound to repay. How I account for this is a question for my accountant.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I guess my final question is - do I need to regularly try and remind them and repay, and keep written evidence, or is now simply being quiet and waiting deemed to be trying to defraud ?

Hi there, I understand that you may already know of the position on this but if that is the main issue, then I cannot really add more, even if you already knew the substance of the answer. At least it would confirm what you already knew. And you are correct that whilst there is nothing stopping you from spending it now, if they do come back and try to reclaim it you would need to repay it somehow, such as from any other exiting funds you have.

You have no obligation to try and keep reminding them or making attempt to return it to them – this is not fraud because you are not the one who has deceived them in getting them to pay you this money, they paid it in error so it is their fault really. All you are expected to do is highlight the error and then the ball is in their court.

Hope tis clarifies?

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great, that helps satisfy me and confirm my responsibility - which will also be useful for my accountant.

You are welcome, all the best