AccountingWEB tax editor Rebecca Benneyworth has been given an “external engagement” award by HMRC for her work on this year’s agent strategy consultation exercise.
Last week, she was at 11 Downing Street to receive the award from Treasury secretary David Gauke, HMRC permanent secretary Dave Hartnett (both pictured above in the centre, with Rebecca to the left of the dark-haired Gauke). Three other individuals were also honoured:
- Sarah Gillett (second from right above), UK ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, for her efforts to to increase tax transparency for UK taxpayers, including the recent tax agreement.
- Paddy Millard (far right), retired chief executive officer of Tax Help for Older People (TOP), for advising HMRC on issues affecting taxpayers with low incomes, particularly around security and disclosure constraints.
- Mike Sufrin (left), retired director of tax at Rolls Royce, for his help in improving clarity and customer focus through the Large Business Transformation programme.
As both the deputy chair of the ICAEW Tax Faculty and tax editor of AccountingWEB.co.uk, Benneyworth put in huge amounts of time and effort to communicate the key points of HMRC’s controversial agent strategy discussion paper during the summer.
She convened an Agent Strategy discussion group on AccountingWEB to talk about the separate issues in more detail and put many of them to HMRC chairman Mike Clasper at a meeting in Leeds during June. She also took part in a series of Tax Faculty round-table meetings.
At one point, several AccountingWEB members urged non-coooperation with the consultation exercise and some of them took potshots at Rebecca for adopting a more constructive stance. A subsequent online poll showed that a majority of AccountingWEB members wanted to take part in the consultation. At the end of the exercise, Rebecca submitted a summary of the community’s views to HMRC.
The HMRC External Engagement awards are given out annually and selected by a panel of HMRC officials along with independent advisers John Whiting (CIOT/OTS), Francesca Lagerberg (Grant Thornton) and Mike Truman (Taxation magazine).
At the award ceremony last week, David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “These awards show there are some excellent working practices between HMRC and taxpayers. Making the tax system simple and transparent is vitally important."
Hartnett added: “HMRC has recognised that we cannot improve the tax system all by ourselves. We need the help of individuals and organisations in the tax profession and voluntary community to help us. These new awards recognise their efforts and the vital part they play in making the tax system better.”