Taxation – Taxsoft relents in licence case

Taxsoft, the tax software house recently acquired by Sage, last week dropped the threat of legal action against a client, ending a two-year dispute.

The climbdown will be seen by some industry observers as a softening of Taxsoft’s tough stance against dissatisfied users who reneged on their licence payments. It came just a few weeks after the departure of former Taxsoft managing director Robin Cooke-Hurle.

The dispute, first highlighted by Accountancy Age in 1997, concerned licence fees of £1,500 for Taxsoft’s first Windows-based self-assessment tax package, Personal Tax.

Lees-Buckley & Co, a London-based sole practitioner, claimed the software contained too many bugs and could not cope with the requirements of the new tax regime.

The firm sent the disputed software disks back to Taxsoft and switched to a rival vendor.

But under the terms of Taxsoft’s licence – a three-year contract, with monthly licence fees – if a dispute arises over the program’s fitness for use, both parties have to seek arbitration, with the client continuing to pay the licence fee while the dispute progresses.

Until April, Taxsoft had been threatening Lees-Buckley & Co with litigation if the firm did not accept arbitration.

Taxsoft director John Camp told Accountancy Age the money disputed was not worth going to court over and risking losing customers’ goodwill.

‘We haven’t had any disputes of this nature for two years,’ he said.

Lees-Buckley & Co principal Gary Lees-Buckley said: ‘Taxsoft apologised for not clearing it up earlier and I’m satisfied.’

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