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Engagement letters - updated ICAEW Helpsheet

ICAEW has updated its Engagement letters helpsheet. This resource provides guidance for practice firms on what to include in engagement letters for clients, together with sample wordings.

The latest changes are particularly relevant to providers of tax services, and includes new sample wording in relation to off-payroll working.

The helpsheet has been issued by ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Service to help members put in place appropriate terms of engagement.  The guidance provides a series of sample wordings for a variety of typical engagements for both corporate and non-corporate clients. It brings together common engagements to encourage a consistency of approach when dealing with engagement letters and to help members manage associated risk.

This is best practice guidance and as the type of service provided and the nature of client will vary from engagement to engagement, professional judgement should be used in its application and the sample wording for engagement letters needs to be tailored to reflect individual situations. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice for the preparation of engagement letters and you should refer to additional sources of information where appropriate, including legal advice if necessary.

The helpsheet is available for members to download as a single consolidated word document, or alternatively as separate schedules.


As well as relatively minor amendments that we have made throughout  to reflect regular maintenance changes, we have added additional suggested text to several of the work schedules to cover off-payroll working/IR35, in anticipation of the rules being extended from April 2020 to non-small clients in the private sector.

Schedules with notable updates include:

  • Part 2E (Personal tax – individuals, sole traders and couples)
  • Part 2I (Corporation tax)
  • Part 2J (Payroll services)
  • Part 2J (Payroll services) – new schedule incorporating off payroll working sample wording
  • Part 2J-GN (Guidance note accompanying payroll services schedule for auto enrolment)
  • Part 2L-B (VAT returns – making tax digital)
  • Part 2R (Cloud based services)
  • Part 4 (Terms of Business)
  • Part 5 (Privacy Notices)

There is a tracked-changes version of the engagement letters helpsheet available for members to see the changes that have been made in the latest update.

Members can direct any queries and comments to ICAEW Technical Advisory Service on 01908 248 250 (select option 2) or via webchat.

February 2020