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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: letter of offer: who is to sign

A letter of offer should normally be signed by the person who is intended to make the payment.

Individual/Sole Trader

An offer from an employer who is an individual or sole trader should be signed by that individual. See COG914585 for specimen letters of offer.

Partnerships

Letters of offer in partnership cases should be made jointly and severally by all partners. However in larger partnerships, for example Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) there will be representative or nominated partners who deal with the tax affairs of the partnership.

In such cases it is acceptable to name the representative/nominated partner in the letter of offer and they will be able to make the ‘joint and several offer’ on behalf of the partnership. See COG914620 for specimen letters of offer.

Limited Companies

An offer from a company should normally be signed on its behalf by

  • a director and the company secretary or
  • two directors.

A letter of offer signed on behalf of a company by only one director may be accepted, provided there is no reason to doubt that the director was authorised to enter into the contract on behalf of the company.

For example, if one director holds 90% of the shares and clearly is in sole control, his signature alone will suffice. See COG914675 for specimen letters of offer.

Joint and Several between Company and Director or Directors

See COG914565.

Unlimited Companies/Miscellaneous Employers

See COG914750.

Signature by a Reputable Agent

An offer may be signed by a reputable agent provided that

  • it satisfies all the required conditions and
  • there is no reason to doubt that the employer authorised the agent to make it.

See COG914585 for a specimen letter of offer.

Other Problems