Payment terms and conditions
Considered and well-presented payment terms and conditions will:
- clearly set out to the client the fees and payment milestones for the services that they are obtaining from the adviser
- clearly set out to the client known disbursements that will be charged in conjunction with the particular immigration matter, for which the adviser is engaged
- clearly set out to the client any requests for money to be received in advance of the payment milestone
- reduce the likelihood of disputes over fees and disbursements
- help an adviser enforce the ability to pursue clients for payment, if required.
Each payment milestone must be clearly related to specific work or services.
Payment milestones must relate to work performed up to the point the invoice is issued.
Advisers may also request a deposit or money in advance, but this must be held in the client account until the work has been performed and the fee is payable. At the time the fee becomes payable an invoice can be issued and the money can be transferred to the practice account.
Some hints for creating payment milestones are outlined below:
|List the fees and disbursements to be charged
||See practice hints for setting fair and reasonable fees above for more guidance
|Decide on the payment milestones
||Carefully consider what payment milestones will work for you.
Fees may either be paid on completion of all of the services or in milestones that relate to the work undertaken.
Any money taken in advance needs to sit in the client account until the work it relates to is completed and the fee is payable and invoiced.
For example, you may decide on three payment milestones:
In another example, you may decide on the following payment milestones, including an advance payment:
- on the date of lodgement of the expression of interest X amount is due
- on the date of lodgement of the application Y amount is due
- on the date a decision is received Z amount is due.
- on signing the written agreement X amount is to be received and is money taken in advance (to be held in the client account) for the work to be done prior to lodging the application
- on lodging the application X amount is due and will be invoiced and the money transferred from the client account to the practice account
- on the date approval in principle is received Y amount is due.
||Your payment terms and conditions should:
- list the professional fees the adviser will charge for an immigration matter
- list all types of disbursements, and any other relevant costs, that the adviser expects the client will incur
- explicitly state which fees and services are subject to New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- list any requests for payment in advance
- list all payment milestones, including the actual payable date for any fee received in advance.
Interest on unpaid accounts
The written agreement must specifically provide for any situation where the adviser wishes to:
- charge interest on overdue accounts, or
- be able to add the costs of collection to overdue accounts.